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Aussies escape with Test win over Pakistan

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Rob Forsaith

A relieved Steve Smith wants Australia to become ruthless after they escaped with a 39-run victory over Pakistan, who almost completed a record run-chase in the day-night Test at the Gabba.

Smith declared at dinner on day three of the pink-ball contest in Brisbane, setting the tourists a target of 490.

Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah negotiated the opening hour on day five with minimal fuss, extending their fight to a point where Pakistan needed 41 runs with two wickets in hand.

However, Mitchell Starc removed man of the match Shafiq for 137 with a pinpoint bouncer then Smith ran out Shah to have the visitors all out for 450.

Australia claimed a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series but Smith acknowledged it was unacceptable for his new-look side to concede the highest ever fourth-innings Test total in Australia.

"Last night sort of showed we're still not the finished product," Smith said.

"We've got to continue to work hard and keep the foot on the throat when we've got them in that position.

"We've got to be a little more ruthless and get the job done."

Smith's first-innings ton put the game on Australia's terms but he was partly to blame for their stalled push for victory.

The skipper, comfortably the safest set of hands in the XI, dropped two catches late on day four including Shafiq on 72.

"Maybe I need a slips cradle for Christmas," he said.

"It was disappointing to have dropped a couple of catches last night and allowed the Pakistanis back into the game."

Smith was also criticised by some pundits for his defensive fields to Shafiq on day five, and also failing to enforce the follow-on when the hosts claimed a first-innings lead of 287 runs.

Smith noted he had no regrets in either instance.

One betting agency had the visitors listed as 600-1 shots at one point during the game in Brisbane, where Australia haven't lost a Test since 1988.

Smith, who struggled to keep his emotions in check as Pakistan's threat of embarrassing him gathered momentum, admitted it was hard to keep his composure.

"It can be difficult. To be honest I was getting a little bit anxious towards the end. Things got a lot closer than I would have liked," he said, joking he'd lost his fingernails.

"I started getting a little bit nervous, hoping that one of our world-class fast bowlers would be able to step up.

"Thankfully Mitchell Starc was the one to do it ... credit's got to go to Starcy. He bowled 56 overs for the game."

Pakistan resumed at 8-382 on day five, their dreams of bettering West Indies' 7-418 in 2003 and pulling off the highest Test run-chase still well founded as long as Shafiq was at the crease.

Starc broke the 71-run stand with a threatening ball on an awkward length that Shafiq fended to David Warner at gully.

"I was not expecting it," Shafiq said.

"We almost chased 490 and that's because of our tail, the tail batted really well."

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