Pakistan v Australia cricket 2022, second test, fifth day, scores: century Babar Azam

Somehow, from a relatively rare tune, Australia and Pakistan reminisced about a thrilling fifth day of Test cricket, which ended in a thrilling draw.

It’s a funny game sometimes. The wet firecracker of the first test, where some predicted a draw before lunch on the first day, was followed by the same for the first two days in Karachi.

Instead, Australia’s reluctance to impose the follow and instead bat for a lean total and then declare blessed us with a day five where all three results were on the table.

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The target was 506, a world away from West Indies’ record fourth-inning pursuit of 418 in 2003. And yet, thanks to the third wicket of Abdullah Shafique and Babar Azam, that mountain got progressively smaller over time. of the day. and a frustrated Australia struggling on the pitch.

Shafique was finally fired after a superb 96, and Fawad Alam soon after.

But it was when Mohammad Rizwan joined Babar in the crease that the most unlikely victory became a remote possibility.

Babar has quietly established himself as one of the best hitters in the sport in recent years, but this latest shot and the names he now wears above show just how good he is.

He now holds the highest score by a captain in the fourth inning of a Test match – along with Michael Atherton, Bevan Congdon, Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting (twice), Graeme Smith, Brian Lara, Virat Kohli and Wally Hammond all below him in the new top 10.

But when his resistance was finally broken on 196, by glove one on Nathan Lyon’s bowling, Australia smashed the door wide open.

Faheem Ashraf went for a golden duck, while Steve Smith made his second catch in four overs when Lyon got Sajid Khan, setting up a tense finish.

Rizwan and Nauman Ali steered Pakistan to stumps, with the final moment of drama coming when Usman Khawaja dropped a relatively straightforward catch with 19 balls remaining on the day.

But there was a moment longer for the local crowd to cheer.

Rizwan started penultimate on 91, hit Lyon for two bounds, then fended off the final delivery for a single, ending the game on 104 when debutant Mitchell Swepson’s fourth ball, the game’s last, was sent to the strings. .

Pakistan had blocked 171.4 overs to avoid a 1-0 series deficit.

Despite everything going well for the hosts, there’s a hint of what could have been, which seems ridiculous when you consider they were suing over 500.

But with Rizwan and Babar cruising into session two, the T20-esque theaters weren’t necessary, just a slight uptick in tempo.

Instead, the channels were locked and the hosts were content to settle for a draw, which they almost didn’t get.

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