Khawaja, Finch fifties launch Australia's strong reply before lunch

DUBAI: Australia openers Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch hit unbeaten half-centuries before lunch to launch a strong reply to Pakistan's first innings total of 482 on the third day of the first test in Dubai on Tuesday.

Resuming on 30 without loss in the morning, the touring side reached 137-0 before the lunch break, trailing Pakistan by 342 runs in the first innings.

Left-handed Khawaja was unbeaten on 68 while Finch, making his test debut on a placid track at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, was 59 not out as the duo kept Pakistan wicketless in the first session.

Finch was the first among the pair to reach his maiden half-century in the longest format of the game and has hit five boundaries and a six in his knock.

His first six in tests came off Pakistan leg-spin ace Yasir Shah, whom he lofted over the long on boundary.

The 31-year-old Khawaja soon joined Finch, bringing up his 13th half-century in his 34th test match.

Abu Dhabi will host the second and final test from Oct. 16.