Babar Azam scores smashing century against Australia

KARACHI: Babar Azam’s glorious unbeaten 102 kept Pakistan alive but Australia remained on course for victory in the second Test in Karachi on Tuesday.

Set a record victory target of 506, Pakistan lost two quick wickets but Babar played sensational innings, not willing to go down without putting up a good fight.

The right-hander combined with opener Abdullah Shafique in a 171-run unbroken partnership for the third wicket in a spectacular rearguard spread over nearly 60 overs.

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Pakistan finished day four on 192-2, still 314 behind their target and needing something extraordinary on Wednesday to deny Australia a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Babar’s sixth century contained six fours. Abdullah Shafique was batting on 71, which included four fours and a six.

“This hundred means a lot to me, it came just when the team needed it,” Babar said.

“We lost a couple of early wickets so the plan was to build a partnership with Abdullah and then extend it.”

“The match is not over yet. We’ll try to continue this partnership tomorrow and the subsequent batsmen would have to show patience too.”

Earlier, Australia batted for 25 minutes on Tuesday before declaring their second innings on 97-2, challenging Pakistan to pull off the greatest fourth innings chase in Test cricket history.

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Marnus Labuschagne fell for 44, while his Islamabad-born team mate Usman Khawaja followed his first innings 160 with an unbeaten 44.

After four maiden overs of pace bowling against Pakistan, Australia captain Pat Cummins unleashed spin from both ends and was rewarded almost immediately.

Nathan Lyon caught opener Imran-ul-Haq (one) plumb in front of the wicket for one in his first over.

Cummins introduced Cameron Greene after lunch and the all-rounder responded by ending Azhar Ali’s 54-ball stay with his second delivery.

Azhar (six) ducked under a short delivery that never rose and was given lbw even though replays suggested the ball had brushed his glove before hitting.

Azhar had a long chat with Abdullah before accepting the decision, perhaps wary over burning a second review after Imam had wasted one.

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