Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 4 Report: Ton-Up Babar Azam, Abdullah Shafique Foil Australia’s Victory Bids

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Skipper Babar Azam cracked a fighting century with great support from opener Abdullah Shafique Tuesday as Pakistan thwarted Australia’s hopes of a quick win in the second Test in Karachi. Set a daunting 506-run target, Azam knocked his sixth Test century — and second against Australia — to guide Pakistan to 192-2 and raise hopes of an improbable victory, or even a fighting draw. At the close Azam was unbeaten on 102 and Shafique 71 as the pair added 171 for the third wicket, leaving the home team needing another 314 runs in the 90 overs of the final day for a win, or bat out three sessions for the draw.

Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq (one) and Azhar Ali (six) before Shafique and Azam led the fightback, leaving Australia wicketless in the last session — despite taking the second new ball after 80 overs.

Azam top-edged a sweep off spinner Mitchell Swepson towards short fine-leg for two to reach the three-figure mark, his first in 21 innings since his 143 against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi in February 2020.

Azam’s hundred came in 247 minutes with 12 boundaries.

Shafique was as solid as his skipper, having so far hit four boundaries and a six as he and Azam batted defiantly for 265 minutes.

No team has ever chased more than the 418-7 that West Indies did against Australia at Antigua in 2003, while Pakistan’s highest successful chase was 377 against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2015.

Australia, resuming their second innings at 81-1, batted for just 26 minutes at the start of play to add 16 runs before declaring on 97-2.

The visitors scored 556-9 declared in their first innings then dismissed Pakistan for 148.

The home team had hoped Azhar would anchor the second innings but the senior batsman was trapped lbw by Cameron Green when trying to evade a short-pitched delivery.

Azhar chose not to review as he trudged off but was left to regret it as television replays showed he had gloved the ball.

At 21-2, Australia seemed to have the upper edge and were looking to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series but their efforts were thwarted by a slow turning pitch and the brilliance of Pakistan’s batting pair.

Australia could have had Shafique on 20 but the experienced Steve Smith spilled a straightforward catch in the slips off pacer Pat Cummins.

Despite cracks on the National Cricket Stadium pitch, Australian spinners Nathan Lyon and Swepson failed to get vicious turn.

Earlier, Haq and Shafique were all caution as it took them until the fifth over to score the first run, before Lyon struck.

The in-form Haq, who scored a hundred in each innings of the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, was trapped lbw for one as he failed to connect with a sliding delivery.

Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne was bowled off a sharp Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery for 44 to prompt skipper Cummins to call the innings to a close with first-innings century-maker Usman Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan, remaining 44 not out.

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Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to tour the country because of security fears.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2 Live Score Updates: Usman Khawaja Hits 150 As Australia Continue To Pile Runs

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2nd Test, Day 2 Live: Usman Khawaja resumes his innings at 127 not out.© AFP

PAK vs AUS, 2nd Test, Day 2 Live Updates: Usman Khawaja continued his rich run of form on Day 2 of the ongoing second Test against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi. After resuming play from his overnight score of 127, Khawaja has crossed the 150-run mark as Australia continue to pile runs against Pakistan. Nathan Lyon, had joined Khawaja as a nightwatchman after Steve Smith (72) had got out ahead of stumps on Day 1, scored fine 38 before being dismissed on 38 by Faheem Ashraf. Khawaja will look to take Australia to a big total but would need a helping hand. Earlier, David Warner (36) and Marnus Labuschagne (0) had got out on quick succession. For Pakistan, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf have taken a wicket each. Pakistan will hope to roll over Australia as early as possible on Day 2. Initially, Australia had won the toss and elected to bat. (Live Scorecard)

Here are the LIVE Updates of Day 2 of the second Pakistan vs Australia Test from the National Stadium in Karachi

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Pakistan vs Australia: Alex Carey Accidentally Falls Into A Swimming Pool, Teammates Can’t Stop Laughing. Watch

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Watch: Alex Carey falls into a pool and his teammates can’t stop laughing.© Twitter

The Australian cricket team arrived in Karachi earlier this week ahead of the start of the second Test at the National Stadium, starting Saturday, March 12. Wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey was involved in a hilarious incident after the team arrived at their hotel in Karachi. Carey, who was having a conversation with Nathan Lyon, accidentally fell into a swimming pool. The Australian players present at the scene couldn’t control their laughter as even Carey was seen having a giggle about it. The moment was captured by Australian skipper Pat Cummins, who shared the video on his Instagram handle.

Carey was quick to throw his mobile phone to one of his teammates after falling into the pool.

Meanwhile, the first Test in Rawalpindi ended in a draw last week.

Pakistan after electing to bat first, posted 476/4 declared with Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq scoring 185 and 157, respectively.

In reply, Australia managed to reach a total of 459 all out as Usman Khawaja (97) and Marnus Labuschagne (90) missed out on their respective centuries.

For Pakistan, Nauman Ali took six wickets as the hosts took a lead of 17 runs.

In the second innings, Pakistan were 252/0 as Imam (111 not out) and Abdullah Shafique (134 not out) scored unbeaten centuries.

Notably, the Australian cricket team is in Pakistan for the first time in 24 years.

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The last time Australia played a Test series in Pakistan, they ended up winning the three-match series 1-0 under the leadership of Mark Taylor in 1998.

While the second Test starts in Karachi on Saturday, the third and final Test is scheduled to be held in Lahore from March 21-25.

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Australia Look To Second Spinner After Rawalpindi Stalemate

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Australia are likely to play two spinners as they go in search of a win in Saturday’s second Test in Karachi after Pakistan batted their seamers into the ground in the draw at Rawalpindi. The historic occasion — Australia’s first Test in Pakistan since 1998 — was marred by a pitch described as “dead” by vice-captain Steve Smith as Pakistan piled up 728 runs for the loss of just four wickets, and one of those was a run out.

Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique both made maiden Test hundreds — Imam scoring one in each innings — while senior batsman Azhar Ali also passed three figures during five attritional days.

The series now moves to Karachi’s National Stadium, a favourite hunting ground for Pakistan, who have won 23 of the 43 Tests they have played there while losing only twice.

Australia have never won in Karachi in eight attempts, losing five and drawing three.

With conditions sultry, the pitch is likely to help the slow bowlers, prompting Australia to rest at least one of their famed pace trio of captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

‘Still feeling fresh’

“From our intel in Karachi and Lahore, a second spinner is probably the way to go but we’ll have a look,” said Cummins, hinting that leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, 28, could make his Test debut alongside veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

“Just about everyone got into the series,” said Cummins, whose side made 459 in their only innings in Rawalpindi without anyone making a century.

“All the batters got some runs. We’re still feeling relatively fresh going into the game.”

Pace bowler Hasan Ali, who missed the first Test through injury, is likely to replace Naseem Shah for the hosts.

But Faheem Ashraf, who missed the first Test through injury, has now been sidelined with Covid.

Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who took a career best 6-107 in Rawalpindi, was Pakistan’s match-winner in Karachi last year on debut against South Africa with seven wickets.

“The way our batters played and how Nauman bowled in difficult conditions was good,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam of his side’s performance in the first Test of the three-match series.

“There were some positives to take for us. We have some of our fast bowlers available for the second Test so we should be stronger in that department.”

Ramiz Raja, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, defended the flat pitch in Rawalpindi.

“I understand the frustration of the fans but there is a lot of cricket still remaining to be played,” said Raja.

“Just for the heck of it, we can’t prepare a fast pitch or a bouncy pitch and put the game in Australia’s lap.”

The third and final Test takes place in Lahore from March 21-25.

Pakistan (from): Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Hasan Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Naseem Shah

Australia (from): Pat Cummins (capt), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Mark Steketee, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

TV umpire: Rashid Riaz (PAK)

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Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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