Usman Khawaja made his second successive half century in the country of his birth but Pakistan hit back with two quick wickets to restrict Australia to 100-2 after the first session of the second test on Saturday.
Khawaja was unbeaten at lunch on 52 after skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat on a flat wicket. Khawaja shared a brisk 82-run first-wicket stand with David Warner (36) in 18 overs.
Vice-captain Steve Smith was not out on 7 at the lunch break.
Pakistan came back in the last hour when Faheem Ashraf (1-20) found the outside edge of Warner’s bat off a delivery that moved a fraction away from the left-hander.
Marnus Labuschagne, who faced nine balls, was run out without scoring when he couldn’t beat the direct throw from Sajid Khan at mid-off and fell short of his crease at the non-striker’s end.
Khawaja, who missed out on a century at Rawalpindi by just three runs, and Warner had earlier dominated the first hour by scoring a rapid 63 off 14 overs.
Fast bowler Hasan Ali, one of the two changes Pakistan had made from the first test along with Ashraf, and Shaheen Afridi couldn’t find any movement off a flat grassless surface.
Both batsmen weren’t trouble by fast bowlers and also took early charge against spinners by hitting straight sixes off off-spinner Sajid Khan before Pakistan chipped in with the two quick wickets.
Earlier, leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson was awarded a test debut as the 28-year-old Queenslander replaced fast bowler Josh Hazlewood in the only change Australia made from the first test which ended in a draw on a docile wicket at Rawalpindi.
Another slow low-bouncy wicket encouraged Australia to go with a specialist leg-spinner — Swepson — for the first time in a test match since 2009 with veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Unlike Pindi Cricket Stadium pitch in Rawalpindi which was rated as “below average” by the ICC, the wicket at the National Stadium was expected to break up as the match progresses and help the spinners.
Pakistan also made two changes but retained both its specialist spinners Sajid and left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who took a career-best 6-107 in the first test but not before Australia had made a solid reply by racking up 449.
Hasan and Ashraf both returned after missing out the first test due to injuries. They replaced fast bowler Naseem Shah and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed.
It’s the first tour of Pakistan by Australia in 24 years.