Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Khawaja ton leads Australia as they salvage Test draw

Khawaja ton leads Australia as they salvage Test draw

AUSTRALIA has clung on for a valiant draw in the first Test against Pakistan, grinding out a record-breaking day-five fightback in Dubai as Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine restored pride to the national team's battered reputation.

Khawaja (50) and Travis Head (34) added 49 runs and will look to continue on the same note as they hope to grind out an unlikely draw on the final day.

The fourth-wicket partnership was crucial to their team's chances, with Khawaja and Head joining on day four after Mohammad Abbas had taken three wickets in seven deliveries to reduce Australia to 87-3. If the tourists are to pull off a victory they will have to surpass the highest chase in test cricket by West Indies, who managed 418-7 against Australia at Antigua in 2003.Pakistan resumed at 45-3 in the morning session and batted sensibly on a deteriorating pitch before declaring their second innings at 181-6.

The collapse was similar to Australia's first innings effort of 202 runs when the visitors lost 10 wickets for just 60 runs after Finch and Khawaja had provided a solid opening stand of 142 runs.

A valiant Khawaja dug in for eight hours and 44 minutes, scoring 141 off 302 balls in the second-longest knock ever in the fourth innings of a Test.

"I was nervous (in the last hour)". Paine would bat out the rest of the test, with his 61 runs much less important than the 194 balls he faced to protect the Australian tail. "That's how it happens here; if batsmen get in, it's easy".

But Paine and Lyon thwarted Pakistan over the last 12 overs to pull off a remarkable draw.

Starc was brilliantly snapped up on 1 close to the wicket by Babar Azam, and Siddle fell lbw for 0 off a sharp Shah delivery.

But it was Finch and Khawaja in the afternoon session who batted with resolve.

Khawaja had a slice of luck when he flashed at a delivery from Haris and Shafiq failed to hold on to a hard one-handed chance at a wide first slip, before the left-hander brought up a second hard-earned half-century of the match, with support from Head.

Head revealed Khawaja had provided advice on how best to handle the conditions after offspinner Bilal Asif ran through the left-handers.

Debutant Marnus Labuschagne soon followed, dismissed by leg-spinner Yasir Shah for 13.

The hosts also suffered an injury blow with opener Imam-ul-Haq ruled out for the second Test after fracturing his pinky finger while diving in the field.

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