Wednesday Mar 16, 2022
KARACHI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam's record-breaking century helped Pakistan draw the Karachi Test against a formidable Australian side at the National Stadium.
The skipper, along with Abdullah Shafique, lifted Pakistan in the second innings after they were in all sorts of trouble as they had lost quick wickets — Imam-ul-Haq (1) and Azhar Ali (6) — but a crucial third-wicket stand between the pair turned out to be the decisive factor as they stood firm against a threatening Aussie bowling attack on an uneven pitch.
Babar smashed 196 runs from a humongous 425 balls, while the inexperienced Abdullah punched above his weight as he displayed amazing batting skills against a world-class Australian attack, playing a wonderful knock of 96 runs and was instrumental in helping Pakistan forge an unbelievable draw.
Chasing a record 506 for an improbable win, Pakistan's best bet was to bat out the final day and Babar led by example as they finished on 443-7, the sixth-highest fourth innings total of all time.
Babar's majestic knock, which included 21 fours and a six, will be an inspiration for his team heading into the third and final Test in Lahore on Monday.
"The plan was to bat session-by-session and build partnerships," the Pakistan captain, who was adjudged player-of-the-match said at the presentation ceremony.
"It was a team effort, as others chipped in with useful contributions too."
"We tried to be positive and play our shots. The team needed this knock, so I tried to bat for as long as I could."
The hosts were on the back foot after folding for 148 in reply to Australia's massive first innings total of 556-9 at the National Stadium.
The record victory target was never within Pakistan's reach but Babar's marathon 228-run partnership with opener Abdullah Shafique (96) kept them afloat in the contest.
Nathan Lyon (4-112) injected fresh drama in the final session dismissing Babar and Faheem Ashraf with successive deliveries but Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 104 helped Pakistan salvage a draw.
"I'm just really proud of the efforts," Cummins said after Australia were stranded three wickets away from victory.
"The way we batted was fantastic, the way we hunted we took those wickets on day three with reverse swing, that was brilliant as well.
"We were always ahead in the game, so really proud of the boys," added Cummins.
The opening Test in Rawalpindi had also ended in a draw.