Pakistan started the second Test brightly and Azhar Ali was happy after being put to bowl first. Shaheen Shah bowled beautifully and struck early in the piece. He removed Joe Burns in the fourth over of the morning session and it looked like the visitors might have a different trajectory from thereon as opposed to the first game but David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne had other plans. They continued along their merry way and scored back-to-back centuries.
They soaked up the pressure early on, negotiated the new ball with prudence and then decimated the bowling attack by nudging the ball into the gaps and kept on escalating the first innings total. Rain played a bit of a spoilsport as Tea was taken five minutes earlier than the scheduled time.
The rain delay did not make a wee bit difference to the pair which is undoubtedly in a menacing form proven by the highest day-night Test partnership of 294* and they are not done yet. They beat the previous record of Alastair Cook and Joe Root's 248 in Birmingham against West Indies. The men in form kept on piling runs and made the bowlers toil under lights.
Mohammad Abbas was expected to create some problems for the hosts but he was off-colour on the first day and it was deemed that he would give control to the bowling line-up but he was handled rather comfortably. The drop in pace, no prodigious seam movement and every now and then straying on the pads didn't help Azhar's plans.
Yasir Shah got the odd ball to turn a bit but by and large, he couldn't extract spin out of the track and was easily manoeuvred into the gaps. Perhaps, the leggie was tiring a bit in the last session of the day as many of his deliveries were fired down the leg side and were swept easily behind square.
Muhammad Musa was handed maiden Test cap by the legendary Wasim Akram and he started his maiden debut reasonably well. With a skiddy action, he got the ball whizzing through the air quickly but he couldn't test the in-form pair for long periods of time and Warner, in particular, was pretty keen on pouncing on the width offered. The pacers kept bleeding runs at more than five runs per over and there were no signs of putting pressure on the batsmen.
Labuschagne has now become the highest run-getter in Tests this year and there is a still a month to go for him to complete a very successful year. His innings featured delightful cover drives and an immaculate defence as he demonstrated exceptional concentration throughout the three sessions.
The match is quickly slipping away from Pakistan and they will need a special effort to strike early tomorrow morning with the new ball and that could give a ray of hope to the deflated touring party.