KARACHI: Captain Babar Azam and Azhar Shafique led Pakistan to 104-2 at tea after Australia set up a huge target of 506 on day four Tuesday of the second test.
Cameron Green got the only wicket early in the middle session when Azhar Ali was adjudged leg before wicket on 6 off a short delivery which hit him on the body. Video showed a spike coming off the gloves before it hit Azhar, but the batsman chose not to review it.
It could have been 38-3 but Steve Smith spilled a straightforward catch in the slips off Shafique, who was unbeaten on 44 at the break. It was Smith's third dropped catch in the test.
Babar was 47 not out, his highest score in the series. He hit Pakistan’s first boundary of the innings in the 26th over by cutting Mitchell Swepson to the point boundary.
Shafique also opened up in the latter half of the middle session by pulling Pat Cummins to the midwicket boundary and lofting spinner Nathan Lyon over long on for a six.
But Pakistan still needs to survive another minimum 124 overs on a pitch cracking up, and with veteran spinners Lyon and debutant legspinner Mitchell Swepson finding turn.
Pakistan’s highest successful chase in test matches is 382-3 in 2015 when it beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets at Pallekele.
Earlier, Australia extended its lead to 505 when Cummins declared the second innings at 97-2 after Marnus Labuschagne, on 44, played Shaheen Afridi back onto his stumps off a mistimed pull shot.
Afridi and Hasan Ali didn’t allow first innings century-maker Usman Khawaja, 44 not out, and Labuschagne to score quickly in the half hour after Australia resumed on 81-1. The declaration came earlier than expected.
It was only the second time Australia declared both innings in a test in Asia; the other was in 1986 against India at Chennai.
It gave Australia almost two full days and a minimum of 172 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the series at the fortress of Pakistan -- National Stadium -- where the home team has lost just two out of 44 test matches.
The last of those losses was against South Africa in 2008, and England recorded the other test victory in 2000.
Australia routed Pakistan for 148 in the first innings on day three after it declared its first innings at 556-9 by keeping Pakistan on the field under hot conditions for more than two days.