LAHORE - Devastating bowling by Australian pacers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc wrecked Pakistan batting in the third session to put the visitors in front on the third day of the final Test here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.

Such was the collapse that Pakistan, who looked well set for a big score being 248-3 at one stage, were all out for 268 in a span of meager 20 runs. After the collapse, Australia managed to take a first-innings 123 runs lead, while batting for the second time, the visitors were 11 without loss, with Usman Khawaja batting unbeaten on 7 and David Warner on 4.

Earlier, Pakistan, resuming their first innings from the overnight score of 90-1, Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali continued to be watchful but also punished any loose deliveries to keep alive the hosts’ hopes of taking a lead in the first innings. They added another 79 runs before Abdullah Shafique left at 170-2. Thus, both Shafique and Azhar put on valuable 150 runs for the second-wicket partnership.

After the departure of Shafique, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam joined veteran Azhar Ali and both added 44 runs for the third-wicket partnership. Pakistan looked well placed at 227-3 at tea, having lost just Abdullah Shafique (81) and Azhar Ali (78) in the first two sessions, but Starc and Cummins wreaked havoc with the second new ball.

Starc removed Fawad Alam (13) and Mohammad Rizwan (1) while Cummins bowled Sajid Khan (6) as Pakistan collapsed to 264-6. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (67) fought a lone battle as the wickets tumbled around him, with the last four dropping in 10 balls with no addition to the score. Starc trapped Azam LBW, while Cummins polished off the tail.

For Australia, Cummins registered a five-for, finishing with figures of 5-56 while Mitchell Starc picked up 4-33 while Nathan Lyon got a scalp. Australian openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner managed to see through three overs before stumps to take their side to 11-0, extending the lead to 134 overall.

Cummins hoped a good day’s work would help them win the Test. “I thought that we bowled really well,” he said. “We have given ourselves a really good opportunity (to win), really in front of the game and hopefully we will bat well and then take the last ten wickets.”

Earlier in the day, Azhar reached a landmark 7,000 runs in his 94th Test. Azhar said he was happy with his milestone but not the match outcome. “I am happy at the achievement in Lahore but unfortunately I could not carry on and we had a collapse after tea which has hurt our chances a little bit, but hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow,” he said.

The former captain, who put on an invaluable 150-run stand for the second wicket with Shafique, became the 54th batsman and fifth from Pakistan to reach the milestone in Test cricket. The other Pakistani batters to cross 7,000 are Younis Khan (118 Tests, 10099 runs), Javed Miandad (104 Tests, 8832), Inzamam-ul-Haq (119 Tests, 8829) and Mohammad Yousuf (90 Tests, 7530).

Scores in brief

AUSTRALIA 391 and 11-0 lead PAKISTAN 268 (Shafique 81, Azhar 78, Babar 67, Cummins 5-56, Starc 4-33) by 134 runs.