Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates after getting the wicket of Haris Sohail at the Gabba on Saturday. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates after getting the wicket of Haris Sohail at the Gabba on Saturday. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Australia making inroads against Pakistan in second dig

PAKISTAN will need to score 340 to even make Australia bat again in Brisbane, with Marnus Labuschagne's century helping the hosts to 580 late on day three.

Labuschagne's maiden Test century came to an end on 185 on Saturday afternoon, as Australia's last five wickets fell within an hour.

But by the time leg spinner Yasir Shah claimed his fourth wicket for the innings, the Aussies had already accumulated their third-highest first-innings lead over Pakistan.

Australia was quick to make inroads in Pakistan's second innings with Mitchell Starc picking up wickets in consecutive overs - Azhar Ali lbw for five and Harris Sohail caught behind for eight - and Pat Cummins joining the party with the wicket of Asad Shafiq for a duck (caught by Steve Smith) to have the visitors on 3-25 after seven overs.

Sunny skies are forecast for the final two days, meaning the tourists face a mammoth task of trying to save the first Test of the two-match series.

With Labuschagne dominant all around the ground against a tiring Pakistan attack, perhaps the only surprise on day three was that Steve Smith didn't join the run-scoring party.

While David Warner hit 154 and Joe Burns and Matt Wade also posted half-centuries, the man dubbed as "the best since Bradman" scored just four.

But his rare low score did little to halt the hosts' charge at the Gabba.

Marnus Labuschagne acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field after scoring 185 at the Gabba. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Marnus Labuschagne acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field after scoring 185 at the Gabba. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Matthew Wade (60) and Travis Head (24) upped the ante in the middle session, before they were both caught behind off Haris Sohail (2-75).

Tim Paine also hit 13, while Nathan Lyon was 13no.

Labuschagne shot out of the blocks on Saturday on his home ground before enduring some nervous moments in the 90s.

He drove superbly, masterfully hitting through mid-on at regular intervals, while also playing nicely through the offside in tallying 16 boundaries.

The Queenslander brought up his century after 200 minutes at the crease, edging Shaheen Shah Afridi for four and immediately roaring in joy.

He looked set to make it a double century, before edging Shaheen (2-96) to gully shortly after tea.

The knock further strengthens Australia's top-three security, with Burns on Friday all but locking in the opening role for the summer, his 97 forming part of a 222-run partnership with Warner.

Warner earlier added just three to his overnight score in a tough first hour on Saturday morning for the Australian opener.

After resuming on 151, he battled away against the Pakistan quicks before becoming teenage sensation Naseem Shah's first Test wicket.

Naseem bowled only four overs on Saturday, but claimed his prized scalp when a short ball brushed the back of Warner's bat as he attempted to evade it.

Smith fell moments later, out to Yasir for the seventh time in his career when he was bowled trying to hit a full ball behind square on the legside.

Yasir's four wickets came at the cost of 205 runs, making him the first bowler to go for 200 three times in Australia.

News Corp Australia

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