Babar, Rizwan, Abdullah star as Pakistan hold Australia to a draw

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: Babar Azam (196) was unlucky not to complete his first double hundred while Mohammad Rizwan hit his second Test century as Pakistan were able to hold Australia to a draw on the final day of their second Test of the three Test-match series here at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

The duo added 115 runs for the fifth wicket association. Earlier Babar shared 228 runs for the third wicket stand with Abdullah Shafique.

Pakistan began their second innings at 192-2 and both Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafique batted extremely well in the first session. In an over Mitchell Starc unsettled Babar Azam when he beat him twice and then Nathon Lyon, the off-spinner, also troubled him through a few balls which he landed on the rough patches while bowling from the University Road end.

Australia produced the breakthrough eventually when their skipper Pat Cummins produced a super ball which took the edge of Abdullah Shafique’s blade with Steven Smith taking a good catch in the slip.

Shafique fell just four runs short of his second Test hundred. He shared 228 runs partnership for the third wicket with Babar Azam. Shafique smashed six fours and one six from 305 balls he faced during his innings which was full of application.

At lunch Pakistan were 254-3 with Babar playing on 133 and Fawad Alam on three. After lunch Pakistan lost Fawad Alam, held by keeper Alex Carey Pat Cummins for nine. However Mohammad Rizwan and Babar did well and played until the tea. At tea the hosts were 310-4.

Babar completed his 150 in 312 balls, the first such milestone he achieved in his Test career. He was on 168 at tea and with him was Rizwan on 14.

After the tea both Babar and Rizwan batted with great perfection. They did not let the bowlers dominate with their planned aggression. Rizwan was able to manage a few fine seeps off spinners and brought in his fifty. However the final one and half hour played turned out to be more absorbing. Nathan Lyon gave a much-needed breakthrough to Australia when he had Babar, held by the close-in fielder Labuschagne. Babar was unlucky not to complete his first double hundred, falling for  196. He struck 21 fours and one six in his 425-ball knock for which he stayed at the wicket for 603 minutes. Off the next ball Nathan Lyon got rid of Faheem Ashraf (0) to reduce Pakistan to 392-6. Soon afterwards Lyon had Sajid Khan (9) to add to Pakistan’s misery.

However Rizwan played with more responsibility and along with Nauman Ali (0*) played the remaining innings to enable Pakistan draw the Test.

Rizwan completed his second century and returned not out on 104 which came off 177 balls and had one six and 11 fours. He stayed at the crease for 235 minutes.

Nathan Lyon picked 4-112 in 55 overs. Pat Cummins captured 2-72.

Babar Azam was declared as man of the match for his terrific knock.