Rawalpindi, March 8: Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq notched up tons as the first Test between Pakistan and Australia in Rawalpindi ended in a draw.
Pakistan bowlers continued their momentum from last evening and straight away picked wickets in the morning to end Australia’s innings on 459/10.
Resuming at 449 for 7, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc aimed to take a first-innings lead. To put pressure on the batters, Pakistan started with Shaheen Afridi. However, Nauman Ali, who had already taken four wickets, dismissed Pat Cummins in his first over of the day, completing his third five-wicket haul. Shaheen in the very next over trapped Starc in front, ending his innings on 13. After Nathan Lyon was trapped in front of the stumps while sweeping Ali, Pakistan wrapped up Australia’s innings in the first 20 minutes of the day with Nauman bagging his career-best figures of 6-107.
With a lead of 17 runs in the first innings, Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique once again blunted Australia’s attack in the second innings. On a dead Rawalpindi surface, the batters got off to a good start, as the Australian bowlers continued to struggle to take early wickets.
Imam followed up his maiden Test century with yet another hundred in the second innings. Unlike in his earlier innings, he was in an aggressive mood, charging spinner Nathan Lyon and hitting him down the ground on several occasions. Abdullah, who threw away his wicket on 44 in the first innings, looked solid as Pakistan reached lunch at 76 for 0 with Imam 40 not out and Abdullah unbeaten on 33.
As the second session of the day began, Imam slowly approached his half-century and brought up the landmark with a reverse sweep against Lyon. Abdullah also reached the half-century mark, and the batters continued to stretch their century-opening partnership.
With no expectations from the game, Australia decided to rest their regular bowlers and deployed part-time spinners. The batters continued to pile up runs, taking advantage of the part-timers’ weak deliveries to score runs. With no signs of a declaration, Pakistan reached Tea at 191 for 0 with Abdullah just one run short of his maiden century and Imam unbeaten on 89.
With the result of the match almost certain, the final session of the day began. Abdullah who was in the driving seat throughout the second session of the day brought up his maiden Test century with a single. In hopes of extracting some positives out of the final day and in search of the first wicket, Australia brought their all-rounder Cameron Green into the attack.
Imam on the other end struggled to reach his century, as he survived some close calls and was also lucky to be given not out off a nick on 94. But he ultimately completed his second century with a double over mid-off, becoming the tenth batter for Pakistan to score two centuries in a Test.
The two teams finally shook hands with Pakistan’s score at 252/0. The action will now move to Karachi with the second Test beginning on March 12.