Australia vs Pakistan cricket Test score: DRS review is cooked, Cameron Green wicket of Azhar Ali | Video

There were gremlins at play on day four of Australia’s second Test against Pakistan but it wasn’t just the pitch behaving strangely.

Pakistan’s remaining batters will need to make better decisions than Azhar Ali if they’re to survive day five and salvage an unlikely draw – or even complete a miracle win – in the second Test against Australia.

The home side will enter the final day in Karachi 314 runs behind and with eight wickets in hand as it tries to avoid going 1-0 down in the series despite all the odds being against it.

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Ali was dismissed in cruel fashion for six in Pakistan’s second innings when the first drop ducked into a Cameron Green bouncer he thought would sail over the top of him. Instead of flying into Alex Carey’s gloves, on a wearing surface the ball stayed devilishly low at stump height.

The Aussies appealed and Ali was given out LBW. It was a dismissal reminiscent of Glenn McGrath’s famous bouncer to Sachin Tendulkar in a Test at Adelaide Oval in 1999, when the Indian maestro was out LBW because he ducked into a short ball that despite bouncing halfway down the pitch, didn’t get up at annex

The pitch was behaving strangely, but so too was Ali.

The 37-year-old only has himself to blame for making the long walk back to the dressing room earlier than he would have liked. He chose not to go upstairs and review the decision, instead accepting his fate of him.

Had he opted to use DRS, Ali would have been saved because replays showed the ball hit him on the glove first. You can’t be out LBW if the first point of contact is the glove.

Ali’s thinking was cooked if he didn’t realize he could have earned himself a reprieve.

Skipper Babar Azam hopes Pakistan’s batters can keep faith in their abilities as they attempt to create history by chasing the highest-ever fourth innings target in Test cricket.

Set a daunting 506-run target, Azam scored his sixth Test century – and second against Australia – to guide Pakistan to 2/192 and raise hopes of an improbable victory, or even a fighting draw.

At the close Azam was unbeaten on 102 and Abdullah Shafique was on 71 as the pair added 171 for the third wicket, leaving the home team needing another 314 runs in the 90 overs of the final day for a win, or bat out three sessions for the draw.

“The match hasn’t finished yet,” Azam told the host broadcaster after the match. “We need to continue batting like this and keep the belief (to create history).

“Definitely, my hundred was needed by the team and my plan was to build a partnership, which Shafique and I did, but we need to continue like this (on Wednesday).”

Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq (one) and Ali before Shafique and Azam led the fightback, leaving Australia wicketless in the last session – despite taking the second new ball after 80 overs.

Azam top-edged a sweep off spinner Mitchell Swepson towards short fine-leg for two to reach the three-figure mark, his first in 21 innings since his 143 against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi in February 2020.

Shafique was as solid as his skipper, having so far hit four boundaries and a six as he and Azam batted defiantly for 265 minutes.

No team has ever chased more than the 7/418 the West Indies amassed against Australia at Antigua in 2003, while Pakistan’s highest successful chase was 377 against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2015.

Australia, resuming its second innings at 1/81, batted for just 26 minutes at the start of play to add 16 runs before declaring on 2/97.

The visitors scored 9/556 declared in their first innings then dismissed Pakistan for 148.

At 2/21, Australia had the upper hand but its efforts were thwarted by a slow turning pitch and the brilliance of Pakistan’s batting pair.

Australia could have had Shafique on 20 but the experienced Steve Smith spilled a straightforward catch in the slips off pacer Pat Cummins.

With AFP

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