©Adam Collins/ Twitter
in , ,

Qadir-Benaud Trophy, Test 1, Rawalpindi: Batters make merry in dull Rawalpindi track of Drawn Historical Test

The 24-year later historical Test between Pakistan and Australia saw 1187-runs for just 14-wickets in 379.1-overs in Rawalpindi.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 476-4 dec (A Ali 185, I ul Haq 157, M Labuschagne 1-53, P Cummins 1-62) & 252-0 (A Shafique 136*, I ul Haq 111*, J Hazelwood 0-8) draw with Australia 459 (U Khawaja 97, M Labuschagne 90, N Ali 6-107) at the end of Day 5.

Man of the Match: Imam-ul-Haq (157 & 111*)

Weather Conditions, timing, pitch and analysis and all those tricks was unknown to Australia as they were touring Pakistan after almost 24-years. There had been so many talks went on about the security and the relations between the countries but finally the resumption saw the Australian flag being hoisted in the land of Pakistan.

The red-letter day though didn’t begin well, as the world woke up with the news of untimely demise of Australian legend Rod Marsh.

Day-1: Imam-ul-Haq century dominated Pakistan on batting friendly Day; Pakistan 245-1:

Pakistan captain, Babar Azam winning the toss showed no hesitation in electing to bat first on a track that would surely go on to detoriated further in the Test match. The hosts had gone with two pacers- Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi and two spinners Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan while Pat Cummins had included lone Nathan Lyon in the team.

The first extended session due to Friday’s prayer couldn’t be better for Pakistan as both the openers provided them the best platform with a century partnership; initially them saw off the new ball but didn’t scare to cash in with runs. Even though, Abdullah Shafique missed a well-deserved half-century as he ran down te track to find the opponent captain at covers. It was the only success the visitors achieved on the first day.

Since then, Imam-ul-Haq whose Test career was under threat joined by Azhar Ali ended the day without any damage. The former went on to score his maiden Test ton (132*) while Ali remained on 64* at the end of the day. With thunderstorm being predicted on day three & four, the hosts might plan to bat once and score big.

“Watch the ball, play to your strength”- Pakistan batters did what was asked.

(The evening saw another Australian star, Shane Warne, being passed away at 52).

With No Shane Wizard Warne, The Wrist of Cricket is broken now

Day-2: Pakistan grinded down Australia but missed a golden chance to wrap them up; Pakistan 476-4 d, Australia 5-0:

The day began with a one-minute silence tribute from both the camps to the legends Rod Marsh and Shane Warne who passed away on the first day. Pakistan began from where they left off. Both Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali sat to collect the runs with an aim of tiring out the Australians mentally and physically but the pace they grabbed wasn’t making it easy for them either. The former notched up his maiden 150 as the later raised up another century; The Kangaroos finally broke the 200-run stand after about 90-overs.

But the hosts kept on scoring runs on the road track and their style of batting was sending the game to a boring draw. The lights were fading as the artificial floodlights were taking full effect at Rawalpindi. Finally, Babar Azam called his men back for 476-8 on the board after 162-overs of letting the opponents on the field.

The Aussie opener, David Warner and Usman Khawaja, was saved thanks to bad light as the dancing-tired shoes didn’t need to face the Pakistani pacers. With the foul weather being expected on day 2 and 3, the historic test appeared to be rolling to the draw section.

Day-3: Australia hit back with the bat as historic Test running towards boring draw; Australia 271-2 trails Pakistan 476-4 d by 205-runs:

Both the Australian openers, David Warner & Usman Khawaja, began the day quite positively and aggressively; after seeing the fast-bowling attack of Pakistan, they grabbed runs in all parts of the park; after a long 166-run opening partnership, Warner finally played the wrong line to dismiss on 68.

Fawad Alam made a mess of dropping Khawaja who went on to pile up 97-runs before edging one to the short leg fielder; he missed out on what could be an emotional century. Since then, Steve Smith joined by Marnus Labuschagne remained unbeaten with a stand of 68* in decent rate as bad-light brought an early end.

With every passing session and the weather being destroyed in the next few days; the historical Test match which saw just 6-wickets for a whooping 697-runs in three days was running towards a boring draw.

Day-4: Smith-Labuschagne missed centuries as Australia close to Pakistan with late collapses; Australia 449-7 trails Pakistan 476-4 d by 27-runs:

The fourth day got kicked off after quite a few hours of losing due to rain in the last night that resulted in the wet outfields; and to make the historical Test sour, under blue skies and pretty sunshine, the players were strolling without any play. Both the overnight batters, Marnus Labuschagne & Steve Smith, began the day on quite a positive note at a higher side run-rate.

But the second new ball strike for Pakistan when Shaheen Shah Afridi sent back Labuschagne 10-short of his maiden away century. Travis Head followed him soon. Smith even though with new man, Cameron Green stitched a good partnership of 81-runs and with the pitches showing noting in it, Australia seemed to be going past the hosts quite easily.

But the visitors had a late collapse thanks to Nauman Ali who first drew the wicket of Green with a poor shot selection on 48, before setting a leg-stump bowling plan for Smith who missed out on another century. Alex Carey late in the day, on a ripper of a delivery, was dismissed of Naseem Shah.

With just about a day left and the first innings being yet to finish, no prizes for guessing where the historical Test match after 24-years was heading towards.

Day-5: Centuries from Imam-Shafique with unbeaten opening stand raises concern for Australia in drawn historical Test; Pakistan 252-0 draw with Australia 459:

Australia could only add few runs in their over-night score before prizing Pakistan a tiny 17-runs lead while Nauman Ali picked a 6-wicket haul on such a road. With only two and half session left in the game, a huge collapse was required for squeezing up a result in the game.

The home openers, Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique, began from where they were parted in the first innings. Shafique who missed out on a gorgeous half-century in the first innings, went on to post his maiden Test century (136*) while his partner Imam backed his first innings heroics with 111* as Pakistan recorded 252-0 which was also the best opening stand against Australia in Test matches.

Usman Khawaja with his off-spin part-timing balls, finished the Test as both teams shook hands for the draw. The concern for Australia was watching their pro-spinner Nathan Lyon finishing with 78-overs 10-maidens and 1/236 at the start of a long Asian tour of the year.

What to follow in the series:

After a tedious start of a historical series, both teams will now move forward to Karachi for the second Test match starting on 12th March. The track may differ from Pindi giving the significance of the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Qadir-Benaud Trophy: Top Three Test Matches from the history between Australia & Pakistan

Qadir-Benaud Trophy, Test 2, Karachi: Twist and Turn in Karachi saw Babar masterclass with Rizwan magic denied Australia to lift a lead; series 0-0