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Shafiq stars with rearguard effort but Australia take honours on opening day
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Shafiq stars with rearguard effort but Australia take honours on opening day

Asad Shafiq scored a valiant half-century to help Pakistan recover from a wobbling 125-5 before Mitchell Starc's late burst consigned the tourists to a modest 240 all out.

Starc claimed four wickets during a fascinating day of Test cricket where the momentum routinely oscillated from one side to the other.

Australia stormed back into the contest after toiling hard for a wicketless first session that saw Pakistan's opening pair Shan Masood and Azhar Ali exhibit tremendous levels of patience.

The duo prioritized occupying the crease for long periods of time over run-scoring as they frustrated the Aussie quicks with their resolute defence.

The two batsmen headed to lunch with 57 runs on the board, leisurely progressing along after deciding to bat first.

They had earlier crawled to 33 at the first drinks break and finally reached the half-century mark via a rare boundary from Masood through square leg.

Azhar and Masood started to play their shots more frequently post-lunch and shed some of the overtly cautious approach employed in the preceding couple of hours.

Pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins had been battling all morning trying to induce a false stroke from the Pakistan batsmen and their luck soon shone as they burdened the pressure on the opposing players.

A fidgety Masood, having already scored a streaky boundary in the gully region, was guilty of hanging his bat outside off-stump to edge a Cummins delivery that was pouched by Steve Smith.

Azhar was dismissed the next ball by Hazlewood, who had him nick the ball to Joe Burns stationed at first slip.

Haris Sohail and Babar Azam faltered following misjudgment in their strokes with the latter in particular copping criticism for his irresponsible flashy drive off the fourth ball he faced.

Troubles for Pakistan deepened when middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed failed to negotiate Nathan Lyon's turn and his sharp delivery caught the inside half of his blade to lob up for a simple chance to be grabbed by short leg.

In a jiffy, Pakistan had lost five wickets for 19 runs and threw away a promising start by welcoming wreckage from the Australia bowlers.

At 94-5, defiant wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan fashioned a counterattacking knock which was restricted to a cameo under controversial circumstances.

Rizwan's 34-ball 37 was laced with seven boundaries as he rejuvenated Pakistan's batting charge but his untimely dismissal, off what was perceived by a majority of the on-lookers as a no-ball, curtailed his lively stay at the crease.

Although video evidence suggested no part of Cummins' heel was behind the popping crease, third umpire Michael Gough stayed with the on-field decision and Rizwan had to walk back to the pavilion much to the dismay of Pakistan supporters.

Shafiq then found an unlikely batting partner in leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who played second fiddle to the veteran batsman.

The two added 84 runs to the seventh wicket before a steaming yorker from Starc ended Yasir's resistance.

Meanwhile, Shafiq carried on his incredible form into the Brisbane Test after smashing two successive centuries in the warm-up games.

The 33-year-old was finally bowled off a ripper from Cummins for a vital contribution of 76 from 134 balls.

Some comical wild swings from the final pair Imran Khan Sr and Naseem Shah kept the Australian pacers at bay for enough time to ensure the home side would not have to bat on day one.

The 16-year-old was the last batsman to fall as a Starc bouncer swerved off the deck to get the top edge creating an easy catching opportunity for the bowler.

#AUSvPAK