RAWALPINDI: Imam-ul-Haq cracked a century in each innings and his opening partner Abdullah Shafique hit a maiden hundred as Pakistan’s first home Test against Australia in 24 years ended in a tame draw in Rawalpindi yesterday. Haq made an unbeaten 111 following up his 157 in the first innings, while Shafique finished on 136 as Pakistan were 252 without loss when the match ended without a result.
Australia scored 459 in reply to Pakistan’s first innings score of 476-4 declared. Australia’s first Test on Pakistan soil since 1998 — they previously declined to visit on security grounds-was ultimately spoiled by a flat Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium pitch.
A combined total of 1,187 runs were scored for just 14 wickets over five days as the famed Australian pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood-with 674 Test wickets between them before this match-got just one more. With a draw assured, the Pakistan openers took the opportunity for batting practice ahead of the second Test in Karachi starting Saturday. In doing so, they became the first Pakistan pair to put on a century opening stand in both innings of a Test against Australia after teaming up for 105 on Friday.
Shafique was the first to reach his century, pushing seamer Cameron Green for a single to reach the mark in 209 minutes. In all, he hit 15 boundaries and a six. Haq, who was playing his first Test since December 2019, pushed part-timer Travis Head for two to complete his century in 276 minutes. Their stand is Pakistan’s highest for the first wicket against Australia in all Tests, bettering the 149 set by Khalid Ibadullah and Abdul Kadir in Karachi in 1964.
So dominating were the two openers that it became only the first instance in 51 years when Australia conceded 100-plus opening stands in both innings of a Test. Geoff Boycott and John Edrich of England were the last pair to achieve the feat against Australia, in Adelaide in 1971. Earlier, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali bowled a nagging line and length to mop up the Australian tail and finished with career-best figures of 6-107 in 38.1 overs-his third five-wicket haul in eight Tests.
His effort enabled Pakistan to get the last three wickets with the addition of just 10 runs after Australia resumed on 449-7. Nauman-whose previous best of 5-35 came on his debut against South Africa in Karachi last year-dismissed Australian skipper Pat Cummins for eight and Nathan Lyon for three in quick succession. Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi got rid of Starc to finish with figures of 2-88 in 30 overs. – AFP