RAWALPINDI: Pakistani batters Imam ul Haq and Abdullah Shafique grabbed centuries to end the draw first Cricket Test against Australia on a high note at the Pindi Stadium on Tuesday.
Pakistan finished the second innings on 252 for none on day five, making a lead of 269 runs as the play was called off by both teams.
Imam who was named Player of the Match had made a comeback in Tests after more than two years, hit 157 in the first innings while remained unbeaten on 111 in the second which included 7 fours and 2 sixes.
Shafique who went unlucky in the first innings on 44, got a chance to hit his maiden Test century in the second innings. He remained not out on 136, hitting 15 fours and a six.
Imam and Shafique also created history by their opening partnership stands in both innings. They provided a 105 partnership in the first innings while 252 runs in the second one.
Marnus Labuschagne tried to hook Shafique on lbw in the 17th over which looked tight but was given not out. However, Pat Cummins went for the DRS but replay showed that the ball pitched and turned away.
Earlier when Australia started the day five with 449 for 7, Skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc came for some action as pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi took the ball to bowl the first over on the day.
Cummins hit a boundary in the same over but was unable to materialize his innings any further as spinner Nauman Ali who was searching for a five-wicket haul after bagging wickets of Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green had some plans in mind.
Cummins was out for 8 runs as he was taken by Imam ul Haq to give Nauman his fifth wicket.
Australia was eight down and to add more agony, Afridi bold Michell Starc (13) in his very second over of the day bagging two wickets in the first Test in 30 overs.
The last wicket was also picked by Nauman making it a career-best-six for him, when he trapped Nathan Lyon on lbw on 3. Lyon called for the review but it hit middle and off. Australian was all gone for 459 in 141 overs.
Pakistan and Australia resumed Test battle in Pakistan after a gap of 24 years, with Babar Azam and Pat Cummins leading their sides in the first Test of the three-match Benaud-Qadir ICC World Test Championship series.
After the first Test, the tour of Australia includes two Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20 International from March 12 to April 5. Rawalpindi would also stage three ODIs and a T20 while Karachi and Lahore will host one Test each.
The next Test would take place in Karachi from Saturday. Both teams would fly out from Islamabad and will reach Karachi on Wednesday.
Speaking after finish of the first Test, opener Adbullah Shafique said the maiden test century against Australia was a confidence booster for him.
“Australia has a lethal bowling attack and scoring a century against them has given me a lot of confidence,” he said.
To a question, he said learned a lot along with the team. “I saw many international matches and improved my technique,” he said.
About him and Imam scoring partnership century stands and making history, he said, “As we played the momentum began and we scored centuries. Imam and I were having words in the innings of how to tackle the spinners.”
Meanwhile, conceding a second spinner for the second Test at Karachi, Australian Skipper Pat Cummins said we would see the wicket first and then decide.
To a question on not taking DRS during the 60th over of Pakistan’s second innings in Rawalpindi when Imam-ul-Haq hit at a delivery from off-spinner Nathan Lyon that smacked into his pad and was caught by Labuschagne.
Not to review the decision gave Imam a new life as the replay showed a small spike when the ball went past the bat, suggesting there may have been an edge.
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