Babar and Rizwan dig deep as Pakistan pull off incredible draw with Australia

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan produced incredible batting displays as Pakistan hung on to claim a famous draw in the second Test with Australia in Karachi.

Pakistan skipper Babar's century on Tuesday set up a thrilling conclusion at the National Stadium and the contest was in the balance right until the end.

Babar eventually fell four runs short of a double century, while Rizwan was unbeaten on 104 to help Pakistan survive a record 172 overs in the fourth innings.

The hosts are nine Tests unbeaten against Australia at this venue and, having also played out a draw in Rawalpindi, it is now all to play for in the third and final Test in Lahore.

Pakistan started day five on 192-2 in their second innings, leaving them needing 314 runs to pull off a record chase, and hopes were high when Babar resumed play.

Babar and Abdullah Shafique crossed 200 runs, marking just the fourth time a third-wicket double century partnership had been notched in the fourth innings of a Test.

Australia wrestled back some control when Pat Cummins removed Shafique for 96 just before lunch, with Steve Smith redeeming himself for an earlier drop.

Fawad Alam (nine) succumbed to Cummins, but Babar continued to add runs and looked set for a deserved double ton.

However, he was eventually dismissed for 196 by Nathan Lyon, who then removed Faheem Ashram for a duck to keep things finely poised.

Having fended off Australia for so long, Pakistan then lost Sajid Khan (nine) and were 414-7 with eight overs remaining.

Rizwan looked to be next to go, only for Usman Khawaja to spill the chance, and from there the right-handed batsman brought up his hundred in the penultimate over.

Unable to take the final three wickets, Australia were left to rue what might have been as Pakistan reached 443-7 – 63 runs short of victory – to claim a famous draw. 

 

Babar inspires Pakistan fightback

Babar had gone over two years without a Test century prior to reaching three figures on Tuesday and went on to add another 94 runs on the final day in an inspiring display.

Flanked by supporting roles from Rizwan and Shafique, Babar, whose innings lasted 425 balls, batted for more than 10 hours in the end, though he would have loved to have reached a double century.

Lyon's best efforts not enough

All of Pakistan's hard work was nearly undone thanks to a late flurry of wickets for Lyon, who ended with figures of 4-112.

Removing Babar was a key moment in a match that proved gripping from the start, in stark contrast to a mundane first Test, and sets up a gripping finale next week.

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