Australian openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja gave their team another solid start of 72 without loss by tea on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Wednesday.
Set a daunting 462-run target to win, Finch remained unbeaten on 39 and with him Khawaja on 32 not out at the break, needing another 390 runs for an unlikely win on a weary Dubai stadium pitch.
The pair had put on 142 for the opening stand in the first innings but once their partnership was broken Australia lost their last nine wickets for a mere 60 runs.
If Australia wish to win this match they will have to rewrite the history books as the highest chase in all Test cricket is West Indies’s 418-7, made against Australia at Antigua in 2003.
Pakistan, who were 45 for three overnight, declared 7.5 overs after lunch on 181-6 at the fall of Asad Shafiq’s wicket for 41.
Pakistan made 482 in their first innings while in reply Australia were dismissed for 202.
Jon Holland, who took the key wicket of Azhar Ali for four on Tuesday, dismissed opener Imam-ul-Haq for 48, caught and bowled off a flighted delivery.
Debutant Marnus Labuschagne then had Haris Sohail caught close to the slips for 39, leaving Pakistan at 110-4. Sohail and Imam had added 65 runs for the fourth wicket.
Holland had figures of 3-83 from 20 overs while off-spinner Nathan Lyon took 2-58.