Pakistan’s tremendous chase against Australia ends 40 short

Pakistan’s tremendous chase against Australia ends 40 short

Australia 429 (Smith 130, Handscomb 105, Wahab 4-89, Amir 4-97) and 5 for 202 dec (Khawaja 74, Smith 63) beat Pakistan 142 (Sarfraz 59*) and 450 (Shafiq 137, Azahr 71, Starc 4-119) by 39 runs

Australia won by 39 runs

Pakistan’s bid for a world-record chase fell a mere 40 runs short, allowing Australia to exhale after coming close to coughing up a match they had dominated over the first four days and nights at the Gabba.

Asad Shafiq scored a thrilling century as Pakistan put up a spirited resistance to Australia on Sunday, frustrating the hosts’ attempts to wrap up the first Test with a day to spare. Shafiq dashed for three runs off a cut shot in the final over of the fourth day to reach his 10th Test century off 140 balls in the day-night match at the Gabba.

The Australian players celebrate the run-out of Yasir Shah, which ended the game © AFP

Starc’s speed and direction were vital throughout, and it remains to be seen whether the huge number of overs bowled by him and Josh Hazlewood will have an impact on their physical preparation for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The Australians had a hangdog air in the field for much of the final day, and their relief at the final wickets was palpable.

Play was extended by an extra half-hour to try to secure a result but the tourists held firm. Shafiq took the game to Australia and led the resistance with a belligerent knock including 10 fours and a six, spiced with some lively running between wickets.

Mohammad Amir, in the first year of his return to international cricket following a five-year ban for spot-fixing, hit his highest Test score in a stubborn 92-run seventh-wicket partnership with Shafiq.

Amir’s previous best was 39 not out against England at The Oval in August, but he fell late in the session for 48 off 63 balls with five fours.

The Australian bowlers endured a long grind, with a three-hour final session ending only at 10:09 pm, after a fierce storm lashed the ground just before tea.

(With the help of AFP and Cricinfo)