Azhar gives Pakistan edge on wet Melbourne day


A century from Azhar Ali gave Pakistan a slight edge in the second Test against Australia as rain again impacted a frustrating day's play in Melbourne.

Azhar was unbeaten on 139 at stumps on day two at the MCG, where the inclement conditions led to an early finish after affecting proceedings throughout Tuesday.

Pakistan, who trail the three-Test series 1-0, were 310-6 at the close, with Mohammad Amir (28) the other unbeaten batsman as the tourists moved into a position where defeat seems unlikely with further rain expected.

Just 50.3 overs were bowled on a humid yet wet day, rain causing its longest delay after lunch.

Azhar was the star, well supported by Asad Shafiq (50) in a 115-run partnership, before Amir came out aggressively prior to the weather intervening once more.

Jackson Bird (3-91) and Josh Hazlewood (2-33) were Australia's wicket-takers, with Mitchell Starc (0-77) struggling throughout the day.

The hosts barely troubled Shafiq and Azhar early, but the former did survive a review for caught behind, replays showing a Bird delivery hit his thigh.

Azhar was then given a reprieve following a technical error, a run-out appeal going upstairs and the wrong signal -declaring him out - appearing on the big screen before being corrected.

He brought up his 12th Test ton by working Nic Maddinson (0-18) away for a couple.

Rain then led to a long delay before Australia took the new ball when play resumed.

Lyon missed a great chance to run out Azhar, who then edged behind to Matthew Wade off Starc, only for it not to carry to the wicketkeeper.

The new ball was causing problems and Bird removed Shafiq five balls after his half-century, Steve Smith making an impressive catch at second slip.

Sarfraz Ahmed (10) was the next to go as he clipped a Hazlewood delivery to first slip Matt Renshaw.

Amir came out blazing before rain saw stumps called, with more wet weather forecast for the rest of the Test.