Set a target of 462, or more likelier 137 overs to survive, Australia were carried heroically by Khawaja’s 141 as he batted almost through the entire fourth innings on a wearing Dubai surface.
Set a target of 462, or more likelier 137 overs to survive, Australia were carried heroically by Khawaja’s 141 as he batted almost through the entire fourth innings on a wearing Dubai surface.

Australia, led by Usman Khawaja, eked out an epic draw batting for the longest time in the fourth innings in the 1st Test against Pakistan at the Dubai international stadium, Dubai on Thursday, finishing on 362/8.

Set a target of 462, or more likelier 137 overs to survive, Australia were carried heroically by Khawaja’s 141 as he batted almost through the entire fourth innings on a wearing Dubai surface.

Tellingly, Khawaja’s block-a-thon came after Australia had lost three wickets for no runs on the fourth evening, with the debutant Aaron Finch (49) and Shaun and Mitchell Marsh out for zeroes to pace bowler Mohammad Abbas. With another debutant, Travis Head, Khawaja put on 137 for the fourth wicket and then came a partnership of 79 in 36.2 overs with the captain Tim Paine (61* off 194 balls) as Pakistan were thwarted almost through the final session.

However, with 16 overs to go wrist spinner Yasir Shah (4/114) put an end to Khawaja’s resistance trapping the left-hander with a googly. Khawaja went for a review, but to no avail.

Khawaja’s dismissal was followed by the wickets of Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in one over, leaving Paine and the tail to bat out 12 overs. Nathan Lyon supported his skipper with an unbeaten five off 34 balls as Pakistan failed to pick the remaining two wickets.

Khawaja, 50 overnight, extended his partnership with Travis Head to 132 before the debutant was dislodged for 72 off 175 balls by Mohammad Hafeez, who won an lbw shout with his first delivery bowled with the second new ball. Then Yasir Shah picked up the other debutant, Marnus Labuschagne, who on 13 was undone by the legspinner’s guile and went back in his crease. Pakistan had Australia at 252/5, after a wicketless morning session, but Khawaja was batting on a very fine century – his first in Asia.

Paine took a cue and blunted Pakistan’s bowlers in admirable manner to assist Khawaja into the tea interval, not out 19 off 83 balls.

Khawaja’s approach on Thursday was the same as he adopted on day four, and with Head he denied Pakistan for 29 overs to take the score to 215/3 by lunch. He added 32 runs to his total in 79 balls in this time while Head moved from 34 to a fifty on Test debut. Their fourth-wicket partnership was a mix of defensive fortitude and technical superiority mixed with some close shouts and fortuitous moments. They countered reverse swing with leaves and inside edges and produced come pleasing drives and sweeps to extend their alliance to 128.

Head, who was out for a duck in his debut innings, got to his half-century in 119 balls with a cut off Bilal Asif to deep point just moments after he survived a very good lbw shout from Yasir. Khawaja also had some tense moments, such as when he was beaten by Abbas’ teasing movement early in the day and then just got his back leg down in time against the same bowler when Sarfraz Ahmed moved up to the stumps. In the penultimate over before lunch, Pakistan reviewed an lbw shout against Khawaja which was retained as the umpire’s call stood, with replays showing the batsman had done enough to get outside the line.

Brief Scores: Australia 202 & 362/5 (Khawaja 141, Head 75; Paine 61*; Yasir Shah 4/114) drew with Pakistan 482 & 181/6 dec