DUBAI: Australia survived Yasir Shah’s late spin magic to draw the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Thursday.
Shah ended opener Usman Khawaja’s fighting innings at 141 and then removed Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in quick succession to reduce Australia to 333-8, keeping Pakistan´s victory hopes alive till the last over of the final day.
But Nathan Lyon and skipper Tim Paine batted out the crucial last overs to engineer Australia’s escape from defeat.
Australia were set a daunting 462-run target by Pakistan in the second innings.
Pakistan failed to get a single wicket in the first session after Australia resumed at 136-3.
Khawaja took a single to short mid-wicket off to Mohammad Hafeez to complete his century.
No team has successfully chased more than the 418-7 West Indies made against Australia in the Antigua Test in 2003.
Pakistan had expected early wickets after jolting Australia to 136-3 at the close on the fourth day, but nothing worked for skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who made multiple bowling changes.
Pakistan could have had Head leg-before off leg-spinner Yasir Shah on 44, but Sarfraz did not review English umpire Richard Kettleborough´s not out decision when replays showed the ball hitting the wickets.
Pakistan were only rewarded after lunch when they took the second new ball as soon as it was due and Hafeez trapped Head leg-before with the first ball.
Yasir Shah took four wickets in the second innings, with Abbas close behind with three.
IMAM-UL-HAQ OUT OF ABU DHABI TEST WITH FINGER INJURY
Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq has been sidelined from the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi, which begins on October 16, after fracturing his little finger on the left hand. He sustained the injury while diving for the ball in the field on the final day of the first Test in Dubai.
Imam had contributed 76 off 188 balls in a 205-run partnership for the first wicket with Mohammad Hafeez – the fifth-highest opening stand for Pakistan in Test cricket. In Pakistan’s second innings, he was their top scorer, with 48 off 104 balls, helping them swell the lead to 461.
In the absence of Imam, Pakistan might push No.3 Azhar Ali to the top and bring in leg-spinning allrounder Shadab Khan should he recover from the groin injury he had picked up at the Asia Cup.
As an alternate option, they might bring in Fakhar Zaman to partner Hafeez at the top and keep Azhar at No. 3. Fakhar, though, is uncapped in Test cricket and hasn’t played a first-class game since October 2017.