Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi and Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne were involved in a heated exchange on Day 1 of the ongoing Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday. Shaheen was seen sledging Labuschagne early in the second session as the Australian batter survived a fiery spell from Pakistan’s pace ace. Shaheen showed a bit of aggression, trying to rattle Labuschagne, who showed great composure early on in his innings. Several pictures and videos of their intense battle have gone viral on social media.

Pakistan removed openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja on day one of the second Test in Melbourne to leave the match finely poised before rain arrived and tea was taken early on Tuesday.

At the break, the hosts were 114-2 with Marnus Labuschagne on 14 and Steve Smith not out two.

Pakistan’s bowlers did earn some reward, with Warner gone for 38 on the stroke of lunch, snapping a 90-run partnership with Khawaja that was looking ominous.

They kept the pressure on when they returned, with Khawaja departing for 42 before Labuschagne and Smith dug in to weather some testing bowling, with runs hard to come by.

The hosts are looking to seal the three-Test series after thumping the visitors by 360 runs in Perth, and made a solid start.

Pakistan captain Shan Masood won the toss and opted to bowl with the pitch appearing to suit the seamers on an overcast day.

Spearheaded by Shaheen, they found plenty of movement, but failed to take their chances early on with Warner dropped on two by Abdullah Shafique, who put down a regulation catch at second slip.

Warner, who made 164 in the first innings at Perth in his farewell Test series, was also fortunate to get away with an edge that sailed over the slips for a boundary on 17.

But his luck ran out with a rash shot off part-time spinner Agha Salman in the final over before lunch, with Babar Azam holding a catch at slip off a thick outside edge.

Warner’s long-time opening partner Khawaja has been embroiled in a dispute with the International Cricket Council over how he can bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

He was denied a bid to display a sticker showing a black dove holding an olive branch on his bat and instead walked out with the names of his daughters on his shoes.

The 37-year-old hit a boundary off the second ball he faced to get off the mark, and two more fours in the first over after the drinks break kept the scoreboard ticking over.

But just as he looked destined for a big score, Hasan Ali drew an edge that Salman took well in the slips to leave Australia on 108-2.

With dark clouds overhead, the lights were turned on mid-afternoon with Labuschagne and Smith in survival mode as the bowlers turned the screws before the rain arrived.

Shaheen could’ve had wicket early on in the match but Abdullah Shafique dropped Warner in the slips.

(With AFP Inputs)

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