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Steven Smith completed 1,000 Test runs for third consecutive year Getty Images

Persistent rains washed out the final session of the fourth day s play between Australia and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday, actuating the possibility of a draw in the ongoing second Test. For either side, there is a lot of hard work left to be done to pull off a favourable result, which in all probability, looks highly unlikely to achieve within a day s play with the threat of rain hovering around. In their first innings, Australia reached 465 for 6, having taken a slender lead over Pakistan, who had managed 433 for 9 declared, a little over two rain-hit days.

Steven Smith s century his 17th in career and 4th in 2016 ensured Australia take lead against Pakistan on the fourth day. The play started half an hour early in order to accommodate the lost overs, and went as per the schedule for the first half. But rains returned to force an early tea break and washed out the remaining of the scheduled play, effectively forcing a disappointing draw. In a contest wherein batsmen have made merry at the MCG, Smith, David Warner and Azhar Ali have made compelling statements.

Smith began the day at 10 not out. When stumps were called, he was on 100 not out off 168 balls, having struck 9 boundaries. Smith also became the seventh batsman in the year 2016 to score 1,000 a feat he has achieved for third consecutive year.

Live cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 2nd Test at Melbourne

In 2015, Smith topped batting charts with 1,474 runs in 13 Tests at 73.70, with 6 centuries and 5 fifties. In 2014, he was the 5th highest run-getter with 1,146 runs at 81.85, with 5 tons and 4 half-centuries.

Smith s unbeaten ton was not the only highlight of the day, as Peter Handscomb scored 54 and Nic Maddinson finally managed double figures. Maddinson and Matthew Wade, however, continued to disappoint with the bat, as they fell for 22 and 9 respectively. At stumps, Mitchell Starc was batting on 7 not out, having started off with a six. Australia had a slender lead of 22 runs at the end of the fourth day.

The day began with a disappointment for the hosts as Usman Khawaja fell three runs short of what would have been his 6th Test century. Khawaja chased one outside off and gifted his wicket to Wahab Riaz, who bowled two more no-balls for overstepping and took his overall count to 12.

Pakistan began well, not giving any room to the Australians to score. The first 6 overs saw a mere 5 runs being scored, with Wahab removing Khawaja. However, there was a 92-run stand between Smith and Handscomb for the 4th wicket. Handscomb scored 54 off 90 balls, striking 8 boundaries in the process.

Maddinson was cleaned up by Yasir Shah for 22, but not before he added 59 runs for the fifth wicket with Smith

Wade fell for a 27-ball 9 to Sohail Khan, who remained the pick of the Pakistani bowlers. Sohail has so far bowled 23.5 overs, taking 2 for 86 with 7 maidens.

There was a scary moment for Pakistan when a full-blooded pull-shot from Wade, off Yasir, struck Azhar Ali fielding at short-leg. The stroke had so much power that the ball ricocheted off Azhar s helmet and flew towards short fine-leg. Azhar went off the field without any help, which was certainly a good sign.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 443 for 9 decl. (Azhar Ali 205*, Asad Shafiq 50, Sohail Khan 65; Josh Hazlewood 3 for 50, Jackson Bird 3 for 113) trail Australia 465 for 6 (David Warner 144, Usman Khawaja 97, Steven Smith 100*; Sohail Khan 2 for 86) by 22 runs.