Dubai, Oct 11: Mohammad Abbas is hoping to become the quickest among Pakistan's seamers to reach 50 Test wickets when the fifth day gets underway against Australia.
On the penultimate day in Dubai on Wednesday, Abbas dismissed three visiting batsmen in the space of seven deliveries as Australia, chasing an unlikely 462 to win, fell from 87-0 to 87-3.
Abbas trapped Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh lbw either side of removing Shaun Marsh caught behind to strike a triple hammer blow into what had been a promising start for the under-pressure tourists.
In doing so, Abbas moved to 49 Test scalps in just his ninth appearance. One more victim would see him usurp the record of 10 set by fellow quicks Waqar Younis, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Asif, while he would also equal the mark among all Pakistan bowlers that belongs to leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
"Among the fast bowlers, Waqar, Asif and Shabbir were the fastest. They did it in 10 Tests. So, my aim before the start of this match was to break that record. I need one more wicket. I will try my best to do that tomorrow," Abbas said.
"I always try to bowl in the right areas. I thought that was the key to my bowling performance today as well.
"Actually, you should know your own strength. That's what I want to do. I want to try to take wickets with the new ball. But in these conditions, I focus on my line and length and not to give away too many runs.
"When the ball starts to reverse, I try to attack then. That's why I have been successful so far. I am happy with my speed. But I want to keep on working on my fitness to become a better bowler."
Travis Head remains unbeaten on 34 overnight and will return with Usman Khawaja (50 not out) after Australia reached stumps on 136-3, and the debutant paid tribute to the skill of Abbas.
"He's bowled extremely well. Obviously, a little bit different conditions but his reverse swing bowling is class," said Head.
"He's always putting pressure on you. He swung the ball away, he swung the ball in. He asks questions and didn't leave the stumps.
"It was quite difficult to score. Over the last few days when he's bowled, we've seen the game stop a fair bit and the scoreboard shut down. That becomes pressure in itself."