Khawaja shines as Aussies draw Pak­istan in thriller

Left-han­der hits solid 141 for his sev­enth Test ton Yasir scalps four but Paine and his men hang on

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Opener Us­man Khawaja hit a fight­ing hun­dred to foil Pak­istan and help Aus­tralia es­cape with a draw in the first Test in Dubai yes­ter­day.

The left-han­der hit a solid 141 for his sev­enth Test hun­dred, while skip­per Tim Paine (61 not out) and Travis Head (72) also hit half cen­turies as Aus­tralia fin­ished at 362-8 late in the day with lights com­ing on at Dubai sta­dium.

Af­ter Khawaja was dis­missed with 14.3 overs left and Yasir Shah quickly re­moved Mitchell Starc (one) and Peter Sid­dle (nought), Paine and num­ber ten Nathan Lyon (five not out) sur­vived 12.1 overs.

Both had some anx­ious mo­ments be­fore play­ers shook hands with one ball to go in leg-spin­ner Yasir’s fi­nal over.

Yasir had shaken the Aus­tralian in­nings with 4-114 but Aus­tralia clung on. They have now won two and drawn two of their 16 Tests in Asia since 2012.

Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed was full of praise for Khawaja.

“We hoped to roll them out but we have to give credit to Khawaja,” said Sar­fraz. “We had an idea that he would un­der­stand our tac­tics but it wasn’t easy to bat and de­spite that he sol­diered on, we must give him credit.”

Paine ad­mit­ted it was hard work to save the Test.

“It was an ex­tremely tough Test match,” said Paine, af­ter his sec­ond Test as cap­tain.

“Pak­istan played very well but I am proud of our come­back. There was a bit of a col­lapse but the guys have been work­ing hard over the last few months and I’m happy ev­ery­thing’s gone to plan.”

Aus­tralia’s hero was Khawaja, who started the day on 50 not out as Aus­tralia re­sumed on 136-3.

Khawaja and Head added 79 be­fore lunch as Pak­istan failed to take a wicket in the first ses­sion. The pair even­tu­ally put on an in­valu­able 132 runs for the fourth wicket.

Khawaja, who was born in Pak­istan but moved to Aus­tralia as a child, bat­ted for eight hours 44 min­utes and faced 302 balls be­fore he was sixth man out in the fi­nal ses­sion. He was trapped leg-be­fore sweep­ing Yasir.

Khawaja, who hit 11 bound­aries, had a top score of 26 in five previous Tests in Asia.

His in­nings was the sec­ond long­est in the fourth in­nings of a Test, be­hind Eng­land’s Michael Ather­ton’s 645 minute vigil in scor­ing 185 not out against South Africa in Jo­han­nes­burg in 1995. It was the high­est fourth-in­nings score by any vis­it­ing bats­man in Asia, beat­ing New Zealand’s Daniel Vet­tori’s 140 made at Colombo against Sri Lanka nine years ago.

Pak­istan started the day need­ing seven wick­ets to win but noth­ing worked for Sar­fraz, de­spite mul­ti­ple bowl­ing changes.

Pak­istan could have had Head leg-be­fore off leg-spin­ner Yasir on 44, but Sar­fraz did not re­view um­pire Richard Ket­tle­bor­ough’s not out de­ci­sion. Re­plays showed the ball was hit­ting the stumps.

Pak­istan were only re­warded when they took the sec­ond new ball as soon as it was due and Hafeez trapped Head leg-be­fore with the first ball. Aus­tralia wob­bled but Khawaja and Paine, who bat­ted for 3 hours and 39 min­utes, en­sured a draw.

The sec­ond Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Oc­to­ber 16.

Pak­istan opener Imam-ul-Haq will miss the match af­ter he suf­fered a frac­tured fin­ger field­ing yes­ter­day.

Aus­tralia’s Us­man Khawaja.

(AFP)

Pak­istan’s Yasir Shah (right) had shaken the Aussie in­nings with the fig­ures of 4-114.

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