Pakistan started confidently on Thursday in the pursuit of a 351-run target in the decisive third Test against Australia, which ended at 73 without a loss at the end in Lahore. The opening matches Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique were unbeaten on 42 and 27 respectively, requiring the home side to add another 278 runs for a 90-over victory, with all 10 wickets intact when play resumes on Friday. Australian captain Pat Cummins declared his second innings 227-3 shortly after tea – a bold decision given that Pakistan could succeed 443-7 in the chase of 506 runs to tie last week’s Karachi Test to make.
The first Test in Rawalpindi also ended in a draw.
Australia were unlucky not to kick Shafique off the penultimate delivery of the day when slipper Steve Smith had a touch of a Marnus Labuschagne delivery that rather found the boundary.
Shafique also survived referee Ahsan Raza’s decision to catch 13 behind Lyon as Australia’s attempts at an early wicket were in vain.
The highlight of Australia’s innings was an unbeaten 104 by opening batsman Usman Khawaja, and Smith became the fastest man to 8,000 Test runs.
Pakistan-born Khawaja, who got a reprieve when Naseem Shah bowled him on 31 from a no-ball, scored 496 runs in the series, just 17 less than Mark Taylor’s record 513 in 1998 – the highest against Pakistan in a three-game. series, and the last time Australia toured this country.
Smith also had an unforgettable day when he drove pacemaker Hasan Ali across the border to complete 8,000 runs in his 151st innings of his 85th Test.
In doing so, he beat Sri Lankan’s great Kumar Sangakkara’s record of reaching the milestone in 152 innings, scored 12 years ago against India in Colombo.
Khawaja, who scored 160 in the draw-second Test in Karachi, pushed spinner Nauman Ali for two to complete his 12th Test century before tea break.
“It was a very good series for me,” he said.
“Two hundred and some 90s, so it was fun and I enjoyed it.”
Khawaja does not think Australia declared too early.
“I believe you need to have more time to get them out,” he said.
“They played well, but we have 90 overs and they will have to increase the run rate, which will not be easy.”
Australia added 112 runs in the two sessions for the loss of David Warner (51) and Labuschagne (36) while looking for quick runs.
Khawaja scored 123 for the opening wicket with Warner and then another 65 with Labuschagne, who was dropped at 11 from Sajid Khan before heading out to Nauman.
Australia had earlier scored quick runs when Warner opened with three boundaries in the second over of the day against speed ahead Shaheen Shah Afridi.
He reached his 34th Test half-century in 123 minutes before left-arm Shaheen uprooted his blunt at 51 with a faster delivery that kicked off.
Warner’s drop included six fours and a six, but his stay on the wicket also caused some controversy.
Referees Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza suggested that Warner, who batted from his fold, enter an area of the field that could scour and help spinners later in the game.
He removed his helmet and gloves before engaging in animated conversation with the referees. Pakistan captain Babar Azam also joined the discussion, pointing to the area that Warner allegedly damaged.
Game resumed after a few minutes without any formal warning being given.
Australia is in Pakistan for the first time since 1998, after previously refusing to tour due to security fears.
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