Play abandoned after Bird puts Australia on top

Pakistan will resume on Tuesday, with Azhar Ali (66 not out) and Asad Shafiq (4) unbeaten in the second of three Tests.

Jackson Bird found the gap between bat and pad as his delivery flicked off Younis Khan's off-stump.   -  AP

MCG-cropped

The match was halted by rain before tea.

Rain in Melbourne forced day one of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan to be abandoned. A change in weather saw the covers come out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday, with Pakistan 142 for 4, and the rain persisted as officials ended proceedings approaching 17:00 (local time).

>Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan will resume on Tuesday, with Azhar Ali (66 not out) and Asad Shafiq (4) unbeaten in the second of three Tests.

A crowd in excess of 50,000 flocked to the MCG after Australia overcame the tourists by just 39 runs in a thrilling day-night showdown in Brisbane last week. And they made plenty of noise as Nathan Lyon (1 for 42) struck with just his third delivery of the day after Pakistan won the toss and started slowly.

Read: > Bird amused as Lyon hijacks 'Nice, Garry' record attempt

The spinner — somewhat of a cult hero among Aussie fans — had the stadium rocking after Sami Aslam (9) popped a catch to captain Steve Smith at slip, with Pakistan 18 for 1.

Azhar Ali and Babar Azam battled to steady the ship, slowly but surely steering the Pakistanis past 50, absorbing pressure from the Aussies on a slow pitch.

Working tirelessly after their gruelling exploits in the first-Test win in Brisbane, pacemen Mitchell Starc (0 for 25), Josh Hazlewood (1 for 15) and Jackson Bird (2 for 53) were unable to really trouble the Pakistanis until the final over the morning session.

A gem of a delivery from Hazlewood, who drew an edge from Babar (23) and saw Smith hold the catch, albeit just, sent the batsman packing on the stroke of lunch.

Buoyed by the late wicket at lunch, the Aussies emerged confident, but Azhar and Younis Khan (21) kept the hosts at bay early in the afternoon session as the pair put on a 51-run stand for the third wicket.

The resistance was broken in sensational style when Bird found the gap between bat and pad as his delivery flicked off Younis' off stump.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq (11) then arrived to the crease, but his stay in the middle lasted 13 deliveries following a stunning catch from under-fire batsman Nic Maddison, who lunged perfectly to dismiss the veteran off Bird's delivery before the rain set in.