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Australian captain Tim Paine battled till the end to seal an improbable draw for his team against Pakistan in the 1st Test at the Dubai international stadium, Dubai on Friday and walked off the field with his head held high.

However, Paine did concede that Pakistan outplayed him team during the Test match. On being asked whether this draw felt like a win by Rameez Raja during the post-match presentation, Paine said, “No, I don’t think it feels like a win. We were outplayed but we can take a lot out of the way we played in the second innings and take it to Abu Dhabi with the series alive,” said the skipper.

Usman Khawaja played a pivotal role in the epic draw playing 302 balls in the second innings for 141, stonewalling the Pakistan attack for over two sessions on day five, before being picked up by Yasir Shah and Paine was all praise for the opener.

“Everyone had a plan – Usman was looking to be positive and I am very happy with the way we prepared and everyone stuck to their guns in the second innings. I was nervous; very nervous. Once you get set here it becomes a lot easier,” said Paine, who remained unbeaten on 61 off 194 balls.

Talking about his marathon innings that lasted for 524 minutes, Khawaja said, “We had a belief in the team that if we batted well in the first session, which we did, we could take it to the end. Credit to the Pakistanis as well, they played in tremendous spirit. Everytime you get a hundred for Australia it is amazing; I am very privileged to be playing for them,” said left-handed batsman.

Rival skipper Sarfraz Ahmed admitted that his team let go of the opportunity to take a 1-0 series lead in the two-match series and called the situation a learning curve for the team.

“Credit to Usman Khawaja for the way he batted through the day; he saved the match for Australia. He played the sweep and reverse sweep very well. He hung in there, batted really well and took the team home. We need to work hard, but we keep learning through Test cricket,” he said.

Sarfraz also praised fast bowler Mohammad Abbas who claimed seven wickets in the match. “We need to give a lot of credit to Abbas as well – he came back from County in England and took responsibility. The batsmen too did really well; Shafiq, Haris, Hafeez and Imam. We’re sad but we need to give credit to the opposition for the way they batted,” he added.