©Adam Collins/ Twitter
in , ,

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

Babar Azam 196 and Mohammad Rizwan unbeaten century dimmed Usman Khawaja 160 as Pakistan denied Australia the series lead for the series decider at Lahore.

Brief Scores:

Australia 556-9 dec (U Khawaja 160, A Carey 93, F Ashraf 2-55) & 97-2 dec (U Khawaja 44*, M Labuschagne 44, S Afridi 1-21) drew with Pakistan 148 (B Azam 36, M Strac 3-29, M Swepson 2-32) & 443-7 (B Azam 196, M Rizwan 104*, N Lyon 4-112, P Cummins 2-75) at the end of Day 5.

Man of the Match: Babar Azam (36 & 196).

After a boring exhibition of the longest format of the game during the historic series opener at Rawalpindi track between Pakistan and Australia, the eyes had shifted on the second Karachi Test. The 22-yard did receive some demerit points as International Cricket Council (ICC) stumped it as “below average” and PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja too expressed some of his disturbances on the pitch.

With WTC points to grab, it was expected to be a sporting track on Karachi with the right balance of pace and spin if not a square turner.

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

Day-1: Usman Khawaja century headlined the day for Australia on another belter of a pitch; Australia 251-3:

Australian captain, Pat Cummins, winning the toss, opted to bat as the visitors handed Mitchell Swepson a well-deserved national cap as Pakistan welcomed Hasan Ali & Faheem Ashraf in the XI. Both openers, David Warner & Usman Khawaja, began their innings at such a rapid pace collecting 82-runs in the 18th over before F Ashraf with a beautiful line dismissed the former.

Marnus Labuschagne on duck perished to a run-out. Steve Smith and Khawaja then stitched a 159-runs huge partnership hitting the boundaries and rotating strikes being patient on a track that looked awful as a bowler. Finally, late in te day, in a filthy mode and good grab saw the end of Smith who again missed a century on 72. His partner U Khawaja though registered his third hundred in as many as game since return as Australia finished the first day on 251-3 shouldering on his 127*. “It’s nice to get a hundred at this ground (his family is from Karachi), I’ll take it any day.”

Day-2: Usman Khawaja 160 & Carey 93 extends Australia’s grab on another boring day of Test cricket; Australia 505-8:

The day began with an expectation of Pakistan dismissing te night-watchman but the vice-versa occurred as Nathan Lyon with 38-gritty runs frustrated the hosts before Faheem Ashraf cleaned him up with an excellent fiery Yorker. Travis Head looked good for his 23 but Sajid Khan too trapped him before the stumps. Usman Khawaja after his 160-marathon innings was dismissed to a beautiful Sajid Khan delivery that hit the off stump.

Cameron Green spent some time in the middle for his 28 before Mitchell Strac and Alex Carey stitched up a heavy partnership between them while the later missed out on his maiden century getting dispersed on 93 from Babar Azam straight ball. Nonetheless, Australia’s plan of batting for 180-overs and not letting the tired Pakistani legs few time with the bat did raise some eye-brows. Although, in their imagination, they could take 20-wickets on this flat Karachi high-way.

Day-3: Australian bowlers blew away Pakistan cheaply before extending lead to near 500-runs; Australia 559-9 dec & 81-1 lead Pakistan 148 by 489-runs:

The day kicked off with the question being when would Australia declare and the day ended with the same thought. Pat Cummins with few fireworks advanced to 559-runs before declaring the innings. The tired legs of 189-overs of the Pakistani openers came to the ground who almost saw the session off before debutant Swepson running out A Shafique.

Sunset In Karachi Presents Sunrise In England

The post lunch session was nothing but a nightmare to Pakistan; they kept on losing wickets cheaply at regular intervals having so answer to the reverse swing of Cummins and Strac. Captain Babar Azam with 36 did try to stretch their run but ran out of partners to see his side being bundled out for 148; Strac, the topper with 3-wickets with the leg-spinner Swepson had 2 in the bag.

Australia didn’t enforce the follow-on perhaps to tire out the players mentally and physically if they had any energy left in the tank. Even after losing David Warner, Australia batted at 4.75 rate to extend their lead up to 481-runs. Probably, 60-100 more runs and they will have an exciting crack against the hosts.

Day-4: Twist and turn as Karachi Test moves to exciting final day headlined by Babar century; Pakistan need 314-runs while Australia need 8-wickets:

The day saw Australia declared their innings in half-an-hour after Marnus Labuschagne chopped on to his stumps to throw a 506-run target to Pakistan who looked so scared in their better part of the first session. Imam-ul-Haq was sent back for 1 when Lyon trapped him before the stumps while Cameron Green dismissed Azhar Ali who should have made a review on 6.

Since then, it was the uneaten stand of 171-run between Abdullah Shafique and captain Babar Azam to get them off the day. The latter looked so solid in the crease from the start with proactiveness and strike-rotation. A Shafique though under his leader’s shades did his job as Australian bowlers did their best in finding their same first innings reverse swing.

While Shafique continued his rich form of Rawalpindi with an unbeaten half-century, Babar Azam late in the day notched up his sixth century almost 25-months later. “The knock means a lot to me; the team needed it.”

The hosts ended the day at 192-2 with the equation of 314-runs or 90-overs of surviving or 8-more wickets. The road of Karachi has changed as the last day had all the powers to make history in 145-year-old Test cricket history.

Day-5: Babar 196 with Rizwan century denied Australia a lead in the series; Australia 556-9 dec & 97-2 draw with Pakistan 148 & 443-7:

The day began with so many records to be created. Both over-night scores, Babar Azam & Abdullah Shafique, showed resilience and patient as the 200-run partnership too was registered. But at the stoke of lunch, Shafique was dismissed on before of what could have been an outstanding century, 96.

Unluckiest person at the moment, Fawad Alam, although survived few nervy times was undone by a peach from the opponent captain, Pat Cummins. Since then, Babar and Mohammad Rizwan stitched up an unbeaten century partnership as the world was gearing up for something special. Hence, Pakistan after Tea did show some intent as the last hour saw the hosts required 124-runs in 90-balls with 6-wickets in the tank; The Aussies with almost 2-days of bowling had used all the fuel almost.

But Test cricket suddenly turned as B Azam on 196 gloved the ball to the short leg before Nathan Lyon sent back Faheem Ashraf on a golden duck. The off-spinner soon got the better of Sajid Khan as Karachi Test grabbed its life back. M Rizwan hold his nerve; he fell, limped, flighted hard to reach his second Test century as players shook hands to draw the Karachi current Test.

No Matter what Australia will feel they have lost the Test.

What lies ahead in the series:

The historic series will see its decider being played in Lahore on 21st March. The wait of 24-years has been distributed in joy and excitement with full power as both teams will offer their full energy to go for the last bite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

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

Mahendra Singh Thala Dhoni: The Heart, Soul, Energy and the Character of Chennai Super Kings