Brilliant Babar rearguard leads Pakistan fightback against Australia

By Sports Desk March 15, 2022

Babar Azam's impressive century kept Australia at bay and provided Pakistan with hope of pulling off a huge comeback in the second Test at the National Stadium.

Pakistan were set a 506-run target and lost two wickets early on, yet they fought back valiantly thanks to skipper Azam (102 not out) and opener Abdullah Shafique (71 not out).

The hosts reached 192-2 at the end of play on Tuesday in Karachi, leaving them requiring 314 runs on the final day to go nine Tests unbeaten against Australia at this venue.

Australia resumed their second innings at 81-1 and batted for half an hour before declaring on 97-2, with Marnus Labuschagne (44) and David Warner (seven) the men to fall.

If Pakistan's task looked tough at that point, it soon become even more daunting as they lost Imam-ul-Haq (one) and Azhar Ali (six) early on in their reply.

Azhar fell to Cameron Green when attempting to evade a short-pitched delivery, though replays showed he gloved the ball and would have stayed had it been reviewed.

Those wickets either side of lunch, with Imam trapped lbw from the bowling of Nathan Lyon, looked set to have Australia on course for victory inside four days.

But Shafique hit three boundaries and a six, while Babar hit seven boundaries in his knock to ensure Pakistan remain in with a fighting chance of avoiding defeat on home soil.

Stumps it is! Another tough day, but it would be fair to say that our boys came out owning it#BoysReadyHain l #PAKvAUS pic.twitter.com/VtRpO0Vhis

— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) March 15, 2022 Pakistan fightback led by Babar

Babar's batting average of 65.7 from four innings at the National Stadium prior to this Test is his highest at any venue where he has batted more than two innings.

The hosts' inspirational skipper once again led from the front with what was his first Test century in more than two years, spanning across 21 innings.


The hope that kills you

Pakistan's previous highest successful chase came against Sri Lanka in 2015 when set a 377 run target, so history will be made if they can dig in on Tuesday.

If they can make it to the final session of the day with some wickets in hand, the hosts would no doubt consider a draw as being like a victory.

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