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 3 Report: Australia In Command Of Second Test After Mitchell Starc Wrecks Pakistan

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Spearhead Mitchell Starc led the Australian pace attack with three wickets Monday to put the visitors in the driving seat on day three of the second Test against Pakistan in Karachi. The lanky left-armer used reverse swing to devastating effect, taking 3-29 as Pakistan were bundled out for a paltry 148 in reply to Australia’s mammoth first innings of 556-9 declared. Despite a big 408-run lead, Australia did not enforce the follow-on and at close were 81-1 in their second innings to take their lead to 489 with nine wickets intact.

Opener Usman Khawaja was unbeaten on 35 and Marnus Labuschagne 37 after David Warner fell to Hasan Ali for seven.

Australia have two full days to enforce a big win and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series on their first tour of Pakistan for 24 years.

Pakistan’s collapse in 53 overs was in complete contrast to Australia, who stayed out for 189 overs, plundering runs at ease.

Starc, who went wicketless in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi last week, had Azhar Ali (14), Fawad Alam (nought) and Sajid Khan (five) out as Pakistan lost six wickets in the space of 62 runs after being 38-1 at lunch.

Debutant leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson finished with 2-32 including the wicket of Azam, who miscued a drive and was caught at long-off.

It all went wrong in the first over after lunch when Haq — who scored twin centuries in the opening Test — fell to a rash shot, lofting spinner Nathan Lyon to skipper Pat Cummins at mid-on.

Starc then had Azhar caught in the slips and next ball trapped Alam with a sharp in-dipping yorker. He almost had a hat-trick when Mohammad Rizwan was beaten neck and crop, but didn’t edge.

Rizwan didn’t last long, however, as he edged Cummins for wicketkeeper Alex Carey to take a simple catch on six, and next over Cameron Green trapped Faheem Ashraf leg before for four.

Starc then had Sajid caught behind, taking 3-24 in 10 incisive overs as wickets fell in a cluster, in contrast to Australia’s run-spree on a low bounce National Cricket Stadium pitch.

Earlier, opener Abdullah Shafique was run out for 13 as Pakistan faltered at the start.

Shafique, who hit a brilliant unbeaten century in Rawalpindi, had made 13 of Pakistan’s 26-run opening stand when he failed to beat Swepson’s direct throw from point after being called for a sharp single.

Australia had resumed the third day on 505-8 as Cummins opted to bat on.

Pakistan struck with the second ball of the day when fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi had Starc caught at cover by Azhar without adding to his overnight 28.

But that was all the success they had as Cummins, who finished on 34 not out, added a brisk 51 for the ninth wicket with Swepson (15) before declaring.

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All-rounder Ashraf was the pick of the attack with his 2-55 from 21 overs, while off-spinner Sajid Khan took 2-167 from 57 overs.

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

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“It’s Ridiculous”: Waqar Younis Tears Into Pakistan’s Tactics On Day 1 Of 2nd Test Against Australia

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Waqar Younis has slammed Pakistan for their tactics against Australia on Day 1.© AFP

Former Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis slammed the team for their “tactics” against Australia on Day 1 of the ongoing second Test at the National Stadium in Karachi. This comes after the first Test had ended in a tame draw as batters dominated their counterparts. There was a lot criticism off the pitch used in Rawalpindi, and the Pakistan team had also received a demerit point under ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process. With the Australia batters being largely untroubled on Day 1, Waqar termed Pakistan’s tactics as “ridiculous”, saying that the game is already heading towards another stalemate ahead of the final Test in Lahore.

“The tactics I’m seeing at the moment is like we’re looking for a draw on the first day. It’s ridiculous,” Waqar was quoted as saying on-air by cricket.com.au.

Riding on Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten century, Australia managed to reach a total of 251 for three at stumps on Day 1.

For Pakistan, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf had dismissed David Warner (36) and Steve Smith (72), respectively, while Marnus Labuschagne was run out for a duck.

Meanwhile, Australia had crossed the 300-run mark after resuming play on Day 2.

Nathan Lyon, who had come in as a nightwatchman ahead of stumps on Day 1, scored a fine 38 before Ashraf castled him in the first session on Day 2.

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The third and final Test will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore from March 21-25.

The Test series will be followed by three ODIs, and a one-off T20I. All four white-ball games will be played in Rawalpindi.

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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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We Did Not Want To Play Into Australia’s Hands: PCB Chief Ramiz Raja On Pitch Criticism

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PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja on Wednesday defended the use of a flat track for the first Test, saying they did not want play into Australia’s hands by preparing a track that would assist pace and bounce. The series-opener ended in a high scoring dull draw on Tuesday. The Rawalpindi track, where Just 14 wickets fall in five days with 1,187 runs scored by both teams, drew criticism from some former players, critics and fans alike.

“I understand fans’ frustration and a result would have been good but this is a three-match series. We need to remember that there is a lot of cricket to come,” Ramiz said in a video message released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“Just for the heck of it, we don’t want to prepare a fast and bouncy pitch and play into Australia’s hands.” He conceded that the Pindi pitch was not a good advertisement for Test cricket but backed the track.

“You must understand Pakistan team had limited resources for the Test and our bowling line up was disturbed as well with Faheem and Hasan not available and Yasir Shah also unfit,” he said.

He said the pitch was prepared accordingly.

“I am totally for having better pitches in Pakistan but I took charge in September and the season had already started. Remember one requires at least five to six months to prepare a pitch.

“When the season finishes you will see that we are bringing in soil from Australia and we are experimenting here with soil experts. We will redo 50-60 pitches all over Pakistan as soon as our season ends in March-April,” he said.

Fomer batter Inzamam-ul-haq said it felt rather weird to see a Test match ending in a high scoring draw.

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“Nowadays if a Test is drawn it feels strange and I can’t remember the last time we had a test where so many runs were scored and the pitch was flat.

“You knew it was going to be a draw from the first day. I am hopeful, the pitch will undoubtedly be more sporting (in next Test). You help spinners by making a turning pitch. You take advantage of the home field advantage, but don’t make a dead pitch,” he said. PTI Corr AT AT

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