By our correspondent
LAHORE: Australia’s captain Pat Cummins’ bold declaration following second century of the series from Usman Khawaja and then Pakistani openers’ fine batting left the third and final Test between the two nations more interesting.
On the penultimate day here at the Gaddafi Stadium, Australia declared their second innings at 227-3 to set a victory target of 351 for the hosts who were 73 without loss at stumps with Imam-ul-Haq batting on 42 and Abdullah Shafique on 27. They still need 278 more runs to win the Test on the fifth and final day on Friday.
It was the day of Usman Khawaja who brought in his second hundred of the series and 12th of his career as Australia, after securing a 123-run lead, declared their second innings at 227-3 to give Pakistan enough time to bat on a wicket which has deteriorated a bit.
Usman, who a took a couple off Nauman Ali to bring in his hundred, clobbered eight fours in his 178-ball unbeaten knock. His innings was a replica of composure and application which he showed in hot conditions. He added 96 runs for the opening stand with David Warner who was clean bowled by Shaheen Afridi with a splendid delivery. Warner smacked six fours and one six in his 91-ball knock. Usman then shared another 65 runs for the second wicket with Marnus Labuschagne who was caught by Sajid Khan off left-arm spinner Nauman Ali for 36. He faced 58 balls and smashed six fours. Steven Smith fell to Naseem Shah on 17.
Set to score a chaseable target, both Pakistani openers did a fine job and batted till the end of the day’s play without losing any wicket. Imam hit four fours in his 93-ball unbeaten knock while Abdullah struck three fours and one six from 69 balls.