Travis Head, who was out of 0 in his debut innings, did much better and supported Usman Khawaja till the end of the day to take Australia to 136/3, still 326 runs adrift of the target.
Travis Head, who was out of 0 in his debut innings, did much better and supported Usman Khawaja till the end of the day to take Australia to 136/3, still 326 runs adrift of the target.

Australia were left battling for time and survival at the end of day four of the 1st Test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai on Wednesday after Mohammad Abbas’ triple-strike dented Australia’s progress in chase of the 462-run target, set by Pakistan earlier in the day.

Usman Khawaja remained unbeaten on 50 off 120 deliveries during a very testing phase of play, that saw the the Dubai track liven up once again in the final session, assisting Abbas’ reverse swing that had Australia lose three wickets for zero runs.

Aaron Finch and Khawaja, who had put on 142 in the first innings, once again provided a good start with 87 on the board before Abbas, who had picked 4/29 in the first innings, got the ball to tail in to the right-handed Finch (49) and Mitchell Marsh (0). Both were trapped in front. A similar line and movement had left-handed Shaun Marsh prodding at one outside, only to edge it to skipper Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps for a two-ball duck.

Travis Head, who was out of 0 in his debut innings, did much better and supported Khawaja till the end of the day to take Australia to 136/3, still 326 runs adrift of the target.

Head took 13 deliveries to get going in the second innings, but once he got his first Test run, the nerves eased as he batted with extra caution to negate the spin and bounce of Bilal Asif (6/36 in first innings) and the discipline of Abbas, to get to 34 off 75 balls.

Earlier, in the day, Pakistan, resuming on 45/3 added 110 runs in the first session with the loss of two wickets and then proceeded to declare their innings at the fall of sixth wicket Asad Shafiq for 41 and the team total at 181/6. The lead was 461.

Imam ul Haq, who had made 76 in the first innings, got start once again scoring 48 while Haris Sohail made 39. In the second dig, off spinner Jon Holland finished with 3 for 83 while Nathan Lyon picked 2 for 58.

In reply, Finch and Khawaja managed to play out the remaining second session scoring at a good rate. Khawaja was good in reading the spinners using his feet well to get to pitch of the length deliveries, while employing the sweeps to good effect to the fuller ones.

Khawaja though got a life when on 47 Shafiq failed to hold on to a sharp catch off Khawaja’s edge off the bowling off part-timer Sohail, just three overs before the close of play. Khawaja went on to score his second fifty of the match and remains the key for Australia, heading into the final day.

Brief Scores: Australia 136/3 (Usman Khawaja 50*; Aaron Finch 49; Mohammad Abbas 3/29) & 202 (Usman Khawaja 85, Aaron Finch 62; Bilal Asif 6/36) trail Pakistan 181/6 dec. (Imam ul Haq 48; Haris Sohail 39; Jon Holland 3/83) & 482 (Mohammad Hafeez 126, Haris Sohail 110; Peter Siddle 3/58) by 326 runs