Karachi, March 16 (IANS) Pakistan batters Babar Azam, Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan survived a record 172 overs in their second innings to pull off an extraordinary draw against Australia in the second Test here on Wednesday.
A magnificent 196 from captain Azam, a fighting 96 from Shafique and an unbeaten match-saving century (104) from Rizwan sealed a draw that keeps the series level going into next week’s decider in Lahore as the Benaud-Qadir trophy is still up for grabs.
One of the most scintillating second innings knock, Azam batted for more than 10 hours over two days to take Pakistan to the brink of safety, before his dismissal with 12 overs remaining on day five gave Australia a ray of hope but unbeaten Rizwan saw the hosts home, bringing up his own century in the closing stages as Australia were thwarted for the second time in the series.
Pakistan fans erupted with joy in the stands as their team ended their marathon second innings at 7-443, just 63 runs shy of a mammoth target of 506 set by the Australians.
Just as a famous draw looked inevitable, with Australia needing six wickets from 12.3 overs, Nathan Lyon (4-112) roared to life as two more quick wickets followed to reduce Pakistan to 414-7.
Australia’s veteran off-spinner silenced the locals by having Babar at caught bat pad for 196, before Faheem Ashraf departed for a golden duck to send shockwaves through the Pakistan dressing room when a draw was theirs for the taking.
Mitch Swepson, without a wicket and 152 runs next to his name, tossed one up to Rizwan, who chipped a simple catch to Usman Khawaja at short cover but the opener – bizarrely wearing a helmet – spilled the chance. From there, Rizwan brought up his hundred in the penultimate over before the wicketkeeper navigated Swepson final over of desperation.
Brief Scores: Australia 556/9d (Usman Khawaja 160, Alex Carey 93; Faheem Ashraf 2-55, Sajid Khan 2-167) & 97/2d (Marnus Labuschagne 44, Usman Khawaja 44 not out) vs Pakistan 148 (Babar Azam 36, Nauman Ali 20; Mitchell Starc 3-29, Mitchell Swepson 2-32) & 443/7 (Babar Azam 196, Abdullah Shafique 96, Mohammad Rizwan 104; Nathan Lyon 4/112, Pat Cummins 2/75). Result: Match drawn.