KARACHI: Every great player tends to play that one knock, which defines the legacy of his/her career. While there were hardly any doubts over Babar Azam’s prowess in limited overs cricket, his Test career had remained under scrutiny for a variety of reasons. When he walked out to bat on Day 4 with Pakistan’s back up against the wall, he did not only have to play well but also ensure that his team did not lose.
And that he did. In an innings that broke a multitude of batting records, Babar scored a fine 196, falling just four short of what would have been his first double hundred. In the process, he ensured that Australia’s chances of going 1-0 up in the series were almost eliminated.
Despite the late mini-collapse, ice-cool Mohammad Rizwan made sure that the two teams shook hand with draw as the final result. Rizwan came out to bat when Fawad Alam got dismissed in the second session of the play. Pakistan started off the day 5 well by safely negotiating the first hour, with Abdullah Shafique looking more composed than Babar at the crease.
He only fell just a few minutes before the lunch on 96. He was replaced by Fawad who fell shortly and brought on Rizwan at the crease. Together, Rizwan and Babar batted for over 40 overs with Babar losing his wicket in the last hour of the play. Nathan Lyon at one stage came on a hattrick after he removed Babar and Faheem Ashraf on two consecutive balls.
However, support from the lower order meant that Rizwan was able to negate the threat posed by the Australian bowlers. Babar was named the Player of the Match for his marathon knock. The third Test of the series is scheduled to be held from March 21-25 at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.