Josh Hazlewood bowled opener Sami Aslam for two as Pakistan crawled to lunch at six for one on Friday, trailing Australia by 175 runs with nine wickets in hand and needing to survive two sessions to save the second test in Melbourne and keep the series alive.
Australia captain Steve Smith declared at 624 for eight and with a first innings lead of 181 runs, giving his bowlers 68 overs to dismiss the touring side and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Hazlewood struck in the second over, with Sami chopping onto his stumps to bring Babar Azam to the crease on a warm and sunny day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Opener Azhar Ali, who scored a magnificent unbeaten 205 in the first innings, was one not out, with Babar on three.
Smith and tail-ender Mitchell Starc hammered Pakistan’s bowlers in a 154-run partnership after Australia resumed on 465 for six in the morning.
Starc blasted seven sixes, a record at the MCG, before he was caught by Asad Shafiq for 84 from 91 balls, pulling Sohail Khan to square leg.
Smith finished within 13 fours and a six in his 17th test century, coming within five runs of Don Bradman’s record batting average at the MCG.
Nathan Lyon was out for 12, skying a return catch to bowler Yasir Shah before Smith promptly declared and bolted off the ground to a warm ovation from the sparse crowd.
Australia will have their tails up after the early wicket but the MCG pitch has shown no signs of deterioration, meaning victory will likely require inept batting from the touring side as much as quality bowling from their opponents.
AUSTRALIA: DA Warner, MT Renshaw, UT Khawaja, SPD Smith (capt), PSP Handscomb, NJ Maddinson, MS Wade (wk), MA Starc, JR Hazlewood, NM Lyon, JM Bird
PAKISTAN: Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan