Australia skipper Pat Cummins has confirmed they will go in with an unchanged line-up for the series-deciding third Test against Pakistan in Lahore starting on Monday.

The tourists backed spinners Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson despite both bowling in excess of 50 overs in the second innings of the second Test which ended in a draw on Wednesday.

Conditions are expected to be similar in Lahore as they were in the previous two Tests with Karachi and Rawalpindi, where only 42 wickets fell overall.

"We were really happy with how all 11 players went last Test," Cummins told reporters on Sunday.

"Everyone has pulled up really well. We gave them an extra couple of days to make sure everyone has come up good. But there's no injury worries, everyone is freshened up, so we're confident in the XI.

"Only having two quick bowlers, I think reverse swing is going to be a big factor and the way Starcy played last game was fantastic.

"It's always tough leaving out someone like Joshy [Josh Hazlewood], even Scotty Boland. But the class and the difference Starcy brings as a left-armer, a bit more air speed, we think that's the best chance to take 20 wickets."

Cummins added that he felt Australia could take the necessary 20 wickets needed to win the third Test, having created chances that were not taken in Karachi as Pakistan resolutely batted out more than 171 overs to hold on for a draw.

"I think what's been clear... is the way we've gone about it is the right way," he said. "I've been really happy with how everyone has gone about their work (and) the tactics. I think it's just a matter of taking those chances.

"Wickets are at a premium in this series so you can't afford to drop too many chances. We created more than 10 chances [in Karachi], we just unfortunately didn't take them, so that's going to be the challenge this week."

Pakistan have moved their upcoming ODI series and one-off T20I against Australia from Rawalpindi to Lahore due to political unrest in nearby Islamabad.

Australia and Pakistan are currently tussling in a three-match Test series, which is level at 0-0 after two matches, with three ODI clashes and a T20I scheduled to follow.

However, the two respective cricket boards have agreed to relocate the white-ball fixtures to Lahore due to planned political rallies close to Rawalpindi in the neighbouring capital Islamabad.

The opposition to Prime Minister Imran Khan, a former cricket star, recently submitted a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly.

The government and opposition have both planned political gatherings in response later in March, with Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announcing they will bring one million people to Islamabad's D-Chowk square.

That led to suggestions from Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday to move the white-ball matches, with the square less than two kilometres from both team hotels for the series.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have now followed suit and confirmed the fixtures will be moved to their cricketing headquarters, Lahore, and the dates for the games will not change.

Both teams will remain in Rawalpindi to play out the deciding Test, which starts on Monday, before relocating for the first ODI that takes place on March 29.

Australia Test captain Pat Cummins hailed his side's bowling but rued their inability to take chances after settling for another draw with Pakistan in the second Test.

The tourists were in the ascendancy throughout at the National Stadium in Karachi, having posted 556-9 in the first innings before bowling hosts Pakistan out for just 148.

Cummins opted to bat again as opposed to enforcing the follow-on for Babar Azam's Pakistan, who were set a mammoth 506 to win or to bat just under two days to secure the draw.

Led by captain Babar, who batted over 10 hours for his 425-ball 196, Pakistan decided on the latter option and their star batter was aided by Abdullah Shafique (96) and Mohammad Rizwan (104 not out).

Nathan Lyon spurred Australia to battle until the end with two wickets in two balls, dismissing Faheem Ashraf and Sajid Khan, but Pakistan held on for a famous draw.

It could have been a different result, though, given Steve Smith shelled Shafique late on day four and Usman Khawaja dropped Rizwan with three overs of play remaining on day five.

"I think the positive thing is each time we've created more than 10 chances," Cummins said. "It's probably the disappointing thing this game as well.

"If we took a couple of those catches it might be a different scenario. I walked off the field at the end of the day's play without feeling there was something I hadn't tried, or there wasn't a plan we hadn't given a really good chance at.

"In foreign conditions, we are showing that we are able to adapt and play well over here. But of course, getting so close, [being] so far ahead of the game, and not coming away with the result can feel like it's a missed opportunity."

Debutant Swepson finished with figures of 0-156 in the second innings from his 53.4 overs, but Cummins heaped praise on the spinner, along with his partner Nathan Lyon.

"I thought Swepo bowled fantastically," Cummins said. "I don't know how he's ended up with those figures. Especially that middle session, he had an umpire's call, a couple of half-chances dropped off his bowling, lots of plays and misses.

"The way he was able to be a real wicket-taking option on a really good wicket without really footmarks to the right-handers I was just really impressed with how he went about it.

"Nathan, I thought he bowled well, particularly today. Felt like he was going to get a wicket every over. When I took off him to bowl Starcy or myself, it was a hard decision to make because felt like he was so close to a wicket all day."

Asked whether he left enough time to win the Test, leaving five-and-a-half sessions to dismiss Pakistan, Cummins responded: "Overall I wouldn't change too much to do honest. 

"Batting into day three gave us that chance to really have a crack at them – probably went better than we could have expected – but over here the wickets are pretty good.

"We tried to bat two-and-a-half days on the best time of the wicket, hoping that it would break up on day four and five and it held together pretty well.

"Babar, Rizwan, Shafique, thought they all batted fantastically the last two days. We knew the wicket wasn't playing too many tricks but they batted superbly and made it really hard to get that breakthrough and when we did the next guy stuck at it as well.

"The good thing is it's nil-all, we didn't lose anything. Coming over here in these conditions, at the start of the series if you'd said it was going to be nil-all after two games you'd probably take that."

Australia will look to seal a series victory in the winner-takes-all decider that starts in Lahore on Monday.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan produced incredible batting displays as Pakistan hung on to claim a famous draw in the second Test with Australia in Karachi.

Pakistan skipper Babar's century on Tuesday set up a thrilling conclusion at the National Stadium and the contest was in the balance right until the end.

Babar eventually fell four runs short of a double century, while Rizwan was unbeaten on 104 to help Pakistan survive a record 172 overs in the fourth innings.

The hosts are nine Tests unbeaten against Australia at this venue and, having also played out a draw in Rawalpindi, it is now all to play for in the third and final Test in Lahore.

Pakistan started day five on 192-2 in their second innings, leaving them needing 314 runs to pull off a record chase, and hopes were high when Babar resumed play.

Babar and Abdullah Shafique crossed 200 runs, marking just the fourth time a third-wicket double century partnership had been notched in the fourth innings of a Test.

Australia wrestled back some control when Pat Cummins removed Shafique for 96 just before lunch, with Steve Smith redeeming himself for an earlier drop.

Fawad Alam (nine) succumbed to Cummins, but Babar continued to add runs and looked set for a deserved double ton.

However, he was eventually dismissed for 196 by Nathan Lyon, who then removed Faheem Ashram for a duck to keep things finely poised.

Having fended off Australia for so long, Pakistan then lost Sajid Khan (nine) and were 414-7 with eight overs remaining.

Rizwan looked to be next to go, only for Usman Khawaja to spill the chance, and from there the right-handed batsman brought up his hundred in the penultimate over.

Unable to take the final three wickets, Australia were left to rue what might have been as Pakistan reached 443-7 – 63 runs short of victory – to claim a famous draw. 

 

Babar inspires Pakistan fightback

Babar had gone over two years without a Test century prior to reaching three figures on Tuesday and went on to add another 94 runs on the final day in an inspiring display.

Flanked by supporting roles from Rizwan and Shafique, Babar, whose innings lasted 425 balls, batted for more than 10 hours in the end, though he would have loved to have reached a double century.

Lyon's best efforts not enough

All of Pakistan's hard work was nearly undone thanks to a late flurry of wickets for Lyon, who ended with figures of 4-112.

Removing Babar was a key moment in a match that proved gripping from the start, in stark contrast to a mundane first Test, and sets up a gripping finale next week.

Babar Azam's impressive century kept Australia at bay and provided Pakistan with hope of pulling off a huge comeback in the second Test at the National Stadium.

Pakistan were set a 506-run target and lost two wickets early on, yet they fought back valiantly thanks to skipper Azam (102 not out) and opener Abdullah Shafique (71 not out).

The hosts reached 192-2 at the end of play on Tuesday in Karachi, leaving them requiring 314 runs on the final day to go nine Tests unbeaten against Australia at this venue.

Australia resumed their second innings at 81-1 and batted for half an hour before declaring on 97-2, with Marnus Labuschagne (44) and David Warner (seven) the men to fall.

If Pakistan's task looked tough at that point, it soon become even more daunting as they lost Imam-ul-Haq (one) and Azhar Ali (six) early on in their reply.

Azhar fell to Cameron Green when attempting to evade a short-pitched delivery, though replays showed he gloved the ball and would have stayed had it been reviewed.

Those wickets either side of lunch, with Imam trapped lbw from the bowling of Nathan Lyon, looked set to have Australia on course for victory inside four days.

But Shafique hit three boundaries and a six, while Babar hit seven boundaries in his knock to ensure Pakistan remain in with a fighting chance of avoiding defeat on home soil.

Stumps it is! Another tough day, but it would be fair to say that our boys came out owning it#BoysReadyHain l #PAKvAUS pic.twitter.com/VtRpO0Vhis

— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) March 15, 2022 Pakistan fightback led by Babar

Babar's batting average of 65.7 from four innings at the National Stadium prior to this Test is his highest at any venue where he has batted more than two innings.

The hosts' inspirational skipper once again led from the front with what was his first Test century in more than two years, spanning across 21 innings.


The hope that kills you

Pakistan's previous highest successful chase came against Sri Lanka in 2015 when set a 377 run target, so history will be made if they can dig in on Tuesday.

If they can make it to the final session of the day with some wickets in hand, the hosts would no doubt consider a draw as being like a victory.

Mitchell Starc struck three times as Australia put themselves in a great position to win the second Test against Pakistan on day three at the National Stadium.

Pat Cummins declared with the tourists 556-9 in Karachi on Monday, their third-highest total in Pakistan.

Starc took 3-29 and Mitchell Swepson claimed 2-32 as the hosts were skittled out for 148 in reply.

Captain Babar Azam top scored with 36 in a dismal effort from Pakistan with the bat and Australia were 81-1 at stumps, leading by a mammoth 489 runs and scenting a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after Cummins opted against enforcing the follow-on.

Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Starc with the second ball of the day, but Cummins and Swepson put on 51 in quick time for the last wicket.

Swepson ran Abdullah Shafique out to end an opening stand of 26 and Pakistan collapsed from 60-2, losing six wickets in the afternoon session.

Babar fell to Swepson when he gave the spinner the charge and could only pick out Usman Khawaja in the deep as Pakistan crumbled to 118-9.

Nauman Ali (20 not out) and Afridi (19) produced a final-wicket stand of 30 before Swepson removed the left-arm paceman.

Hasan Ali saw the back of David Warner for only seven after Cummins elected to bat again, but the in-form Khawaja (35no) and Marnus Labuschagne (37no) combined for an unbroken partnership of 61 to extend Australia's huge lead.

 

Starc swings Australia into complete control

With Pakistan weary after so long in the field, Starc conjured up some swing to strengthen Australia's grip on the match.

The left-arm paceman had Azhar Ali caught by Cameron Green at second slip for only 14 and followed that up by trapping Fawad Alam leg before from the next delivery.

Starc also removed Sajid Khan, caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey, as the tourists ripped through Pakistan.

 

Swepson makes his mark

Spinner Swepson had a long time to wait for his Test debut, having first been called up five years ago.

The tweaker made an unbeaten 15 in an unbroken final-wicket stand with Cummins of 51, before running Shafique out.

Swepson then made Babar his first Test scalp when the Pakistan captain was taken by Khawaja in the deep and finished the innings by snaring Afridi leg before wicket.

Alex Carey fell seven runs short of a maiden Test hundred as Australia punished Pakistan on the second day of the second Test at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The tourists reached stumps on day one with a healthy score of 251-3 and inflicted further pain on their opponents by making it to 505-8 by the end of play on Sunday.

Usman Khawaja was responsible for 127 of those runs on day one and looked good value to reach a double hundred after adding another 27 runs unbeaten before lunch.

However, Islamabad-born Khawaja – who has strong family ties to Karachi – was dismissed soon after for 160 from 369 balls by Sajid Khan.

Travis Head was earlier trapped by Sajid for 23 off 48, with a review showing the ball just clipped leg stump, while Nathan Lyon was bowled by Faheem Ashraf for 38.

Australia were 360-6 after losing Khawaja, but Cameron Green (28) and Carey put on 45 before the latter was bowled by Nauman Ali.

Carey looked untroubled alongside Mitchell Starc (28 not out) as he powered towards triple figures, only to be dismissed by Babar Azam on 93 shortly before stumps.

"I guess you want to make those triple figures," Carey said at the end of play. "I think the way the game's going, it was quite an important knock in the end.

"Hopefully tomorrow we see what the skipper does but it's great to have 500 runs on the board."

Decision time for Cummins

After two full days of batting, Australia skipper Pat Cummins must decide whether to declare early on on Monday, as many would expect to be the case.

Pakistan have plenty of work to do if they are to avoid a first defeat to Australia in nine Tests at the National Stadium in Karachi.

Carey keeps Australia in command

Carey was disappointed to miss out on a century, but he still recorded his biggest Test score in what is his seventh outing, his previous highest being 51.

But Khawaja's mammoth 160 – consisting of 15 fours and one six – will be extremely tough to top, the 35-year-old having now notched 257 runs in this series.

Usman Khawaja's century put Australia in control at the end of day one of the second Test against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi.

After drawing last week's opening Test in Rawalpindi, it was Australia who laid down an early marker on Saturday as they reached stumps on 251-3.

The in-form Khawaja batted all day as he made an unbeaten 127, while Steve Smith was also on course for three figures before being caught by Faheem Ashraf off the bowling of Hasan Ali for 72 just before the close.

Khawaja profited from what he described as "pretty negative" bowling from the hosts to hit 13 fours and one six in a classy knock.

David Warner went for 36 and Marnus Labuschagne was run out on a duck, but Khawaja's batting ensured even the late loss of Smith did not hamper the tourists too much.

Nathan Lyon will resume alongside Khawaja on Sunday as Pakistan look to make inroads after a frustrating opening day.

"It would have been nice to have Smith there at the end," Khawaja said. "We've still got plenty of batting to come. 

"The wicket was pretty nice today and is going to get worse, and it's feeling like it'll break up in the back end of the match. 

"They bowled pretty negative and we were not going to give them free wickets. It would have been nice to get a hundred both in Rawalpindi and here but I'll take this one."

Khawaja goes one better

After falling three short of a century in Rawalpindi last week, the Islamabad-born Khawaja was not to be denied an 11th Test century on Saturday.

He has now logged two centuries and five half-centuries across eight Test innings against his country of birth.

Pakistan falter

Babar Azam's tactics after tea must be questioned, though Hasan did find a breakthrough when ending a 159-run partnership late on to give Pakistan a platform to build on.

Pakistan have only suffered two defeats at the National Stadium in 44 Tests and will need some quick wickets with the new ball in Sunday's morning session.

Babar Azam says Australia are not frightened about facing Australia after Pakistan "dominated" the first Test at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

Australia only took four wickets in a drawn opening match of the series as Imam-ul-Haq scored a century in both innings.

Captain Pat Cummins felt the pitch in Rawalpindi had been prepared to nullify the tourists' pace attack.

Pakistan skipper Babar felt his side might have forced a victory if they had not lost time due to the weather in the opening match of the series and is hopeful they will come out on top at the National Stadium, 

He said: "We're not frightened of Australia. The conditions are the same for both teams, and the World Test Championship points are very crucial.

"As a captain, I wanted us to win. The way our side dominated, we had batters score 150-plus and [bowlers] get wickets. So there's nothing to panic about. We dominated.

"We didn't get a result, unfortunately, but that's not in our hands. If all the overs that were lost due to rain were played, maybe we'd have a different result."

Babar says Pakistan will not be taken by surprise when they face Australia spinner Mitchell Swepson, who will make his debut in Karachi.

The Pakistan skipper said: "I haven't seen much of him. We'll watch videos of him and plan accordingly. We've started practice here; i

"tt's quite hot and the conditions are different. We have momentum with us; we dominated the first Test and had great individual and team performances.

"The batters batted well, the bowlers took ten wickets, and Nauman six. The overall team performance was good and we're trying to take that momentum into this game."

 

Azhar nearing landmark

Azhar Ali made a magnificent 185 in the first Test as Pakistan piled on the runs in Rawalpindi.

The former captain is only 94 runs away from reaching the 7,000 run milestone in the longest format.

Azhar has scored four Test centuries against Australia and he will have a big part to play in Pakistan's quest to take a 1-0 lead.

 

Khawaja making up for lost time

Australia batter Usman Khawaja made a brilliant 97 in the opening Test as he continues to make up for lost time following his recall.

Khawaja made a century in both innings in January on his recall for the Sydney Cricket Ground Test against England in January.

The left-hander has registered a hundred and five half-centuries in his past eight Tests against his country of birth Pakistan and can set the tone at the top of the order once again.

Mitchell Swepson will make his Test debut when Australia face Pakistan at the National Stadium.

Australia captain Pat Cummins on Friday confirmed leg-spinner Swepson will make his Test bow at the PCA Stadium five years after he was first called up.

"He's pumped and to be honest, we're all pumped for Swepo," Australia captain Cummins said.

"It's been a long time running drinks over the last couple of years, but he's absolutely ready.

"He's been a huge part of the squad, even though he hasn't been playing. So we're really excited to see him get a chance.

"The wicket here is a little bit drier and historically a bit friendlier for the spinners."

Australia only took four wickets in the match as the first Test at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium drifted into a draw.

Pat Cummins says Mitchell Swepson could finally make his debut when Australia face Pakistan in the second Test in Karachi.

Swepson earned a first call-up in 2017 but has not yet played for his country in the longest format.

The leg-spinner may get a long-awaited chance at the National Stadium after Australia only took four wickets in a drawn series-opening run-fest at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

When asked if Swepson will come into the team, captain Cummins said: "Potentially. I think we'll have a look before making up our mind.

"I think it is an asset for sure having a wrist spinner. It's something a bit different, and Sweppo has been bowling beautifully. We'll get to Karachi and have a look. But absolutely, Sweppo as a wrist spinner is a huge chance if we play two."

Cummins stated that he felt the wicket in Rawalpindi had been produced with the aim of nullifying the tourists' pace attack.

The fast bowler says Australia potentially should have gone with two spinners for first Test but does not believe the result would have been different if they had.

"I think it may have been helpful [in Rawalpindi], but I don't think it would have made too much of a difference," he said.

"Here you probably expected more up-and-down bounce and reverse swing, which lends more support to the fast bowlers rather than spinners.

"Our intel from Karachi and Lahore says a second spinner is probably the way to go. But we'll have a look."

The second Test gets under way on Friday.

Pat Cummins believes a placid pitch at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium was prepared in order to nullify the Australia pace attack after Pakistan piled on the runs in a drawn first Test.

The tourists only took four wickets in the opening match of the series before the two sides shook hands in the final session on day five with Pakistan 252 without loss.

Babar Azam's side had racked up 476-4 declared in their first innings and it was another gruelling day for Australia in the field on Tuesday.

Abdullah Shafique (136 not out) scored a maiden Test hundred and Imam-ul-Haq (111no) became only the second Pakistan player to make two centuries in a match.

Shafique and Imam cashed in after Australia were all out for 459 in the morning session on the last day, with Nauman Ali taking a career-best 6-107.

Cummins felt the fast bowlers never stood much of a chance of making inroads.

The Australia captain said: "Turning up to a pitch that's probably not a traditional pitch you would get here in Rawalpindi, and it's probably clear they've made an effort to try and nullify the pace bowling.

"I think that's a positive. And, subcontinent conditions, coming away with a draw it's not a bad result."

Cummins is not concerned about the lack of potency Australia showed as they turn their attention to the second Test, which starts at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.

"I thought the Pakistani batters batted really well the whole game. Got themselves in and then once they got themselves in they were able to just tick over the score," the quick said.

"We'll spend the next couple days reviewing it having a look at maybe different plans ahead of Karachi, expecting probably different conditions as well.

"I think we all tried different things. I think all the quick bowlers, although we've spent the best part of three days out in the field, I think we've all bowled around about 25, maximum 30 overs each, which in comparison to a lot of Australian Test matches is actually a pretty light workload.

"Didn't get a huge look at reverse swing this Test, but that might come into it later on. But I was really happy with how everyone went and everyone's come through unscathed."

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq made his second century of the match and Abdullah Shafique scored a maiden Test hundred as the first Test against Australia was inevitably drawn.

Australia were all out for 459 in reply to Pakistan's 476-4 in the morning session on day five, Nauman Ali taking career-best figures of 6-107.

The tourists were then made to toil again on a placid pitch at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, where Pakistan were 252-0 when the two sides shook hands.

Imam (110 not out) had not reached three figures in a Test before he was recalled for this match, but the left-hander helped himself to one in each innings with a controlled knock.

It was also a special day for the elegant Shafique (136no), who cashed in on such batting-friendly conditions to score his first hundred in only his third Test.

Australia added only 10 runs after resuming on 449-7 with the game drifting towards a draw, Nauman striking twice and Shaheen Shah Afridi seeing the back of Mitchell Starc.

Pakistan's openers were licking their lips as they walked to the middle and duly piled on the runs, putting 76 on before taking lunch.

They continued in serene fashion in the afternoon session, moving to 191 without loss with Shafique on 99 at tea before tucking Cameron Green off his pads for a single for his hundred.

Imam would have been out caught by Marnus Labuschagne at short leg for 94 off Nathan Lyon if Pat Cummins had reviewed for a catch and he capitalised on that stroke of luck, launching Travis Head over the top for two to reach his century.

The game was brought to an end after an over from Usman Khawaja and the two sides will head to Karachi for a second Test that starts on Saturday.

 

Imam and Shafique forge a formidable stand

The Australia bowlers will already have seen more than enough of Imam and Shafique five days into the three-match series.

Imam crafted a brilliant 157 in the first innings and became only the 10th Pakistan player to score a hundred in both knocks, making up for lost time in a manner in which he could only have dreamed of.

Shafique will feel he had missed out when he was dismissed for 44 in the first innings, but he made the most of a flat surface on the final day, hitting 15 fours and a six. Imam cleared the rope twice and struck seven fours.

 

The joy of six for Nauman 

Only one player has taken more wickets in a men's Test innings at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium than Nauman Ali's haul of six, that man being Mohammad Zahid (7-66) against New Zealand in November 1996.

The left-arm spinner saw the back of Australia captain Cummins and finished Australia's innings by trapping Nathan Lyon leg before after Afridi pinned Starc in front.

Afridi claimed 2-88, with Sajid Khan and Naseem Shah having taken the other wickets.

Australia protected a likely draw in the first Test against Pakistan as the tourists batted out day four in Rawalpindi to close to within 27 runs.

A remarkable collapse from one side or the other is now required on Tuesday to deliver a winner, with the batsmen continuing to dominate in the opener of a three-match series.

Australia resumed 205 back on Pakistan's first innings' 476-4 declared and steadily closed that gap over the course of the day.

Steve Smith spent much of Monday at the crease, albeit he added only 54 more runs to reach 78 from 196 balls.

Indeed, Australia seemed happy to wear out the Pakistan bowlers ahead of a second Test that is likely to have a greater say in the outcome of the series, largely limiting their errors having had eight wickets in hand in their first innings at the start of play.

Marnus Labuschagne (90) put on 108 for the third wicket with Smith but was denied a third Test century against Pakistan by excellent bowling and equally good fielding, caught at slip by Abdullah Shafique off Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Travis Head did not last long in Labuschagne's place, but Cameron Green stuck around and picked up the pace slightly after tea before paying the price for his ambition with a top edge off an attempted sweep to go for 48.

Smith gloved behind attempting a similar shot and Naseem Shah beautifully bowled Alex Carey (19), yet Pakistan's improved bowling late in the day failed to breathe life into the Test.

Green leaves runs out there

Labuschagne was undone by excellent play from Pakistan, but Green really had only himself to blame, getting too much on his shot from a relatively uncomplicated Nauman Ali delivery and giving Iftikhar Ahmed a simple catch.

As the bowlers toiled on a tough pitch, this was an opportunity missed for Green, who with a little more care could have followed his first fifty in his previous Test against England with a first outside of Australia.

Little to separate sides again

Australia have been away from Pakistan for over 23 years, but you would not know it looking at the outcome of this match. Ten of the previous 17 Tests between the sides in Pakistan have ended in draws – and this match will surely make it 11 in 18.

Usman Khawaja was able to put the disappointment of missing out on a Test century against the country of birth into perspective after being dismissed for 97 on day three of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia.

Opener Khawaja was born in Islamabad, less than half an hour's drive from Pindi Cricket Stadium where he shone for Australia on Sunday.

Khawaja appeared on the verge of his 11th century in the longest format as Australia responded superbly to Pakistan's first innings' 476-4 declared.

But impatience perhaps got the better of Khawaja as he contributed to his own downfall, misjudging a reverse sweep and gloving Nauman Ali to Imam-ul-Haq at forward short-leg, with Aleem Dar forced to overturn his original not out decision following a review.

Khawaja's contribution, along with half-centuries from David Warner (68) and Marnus Labuschagne (69 not out), took the tourists to 271-2 – trailing by 205 runs when bad light stopped play.

"It's disappointing," Khawaja said of his failure to reach three figures. "Cricket is a funny game. Three runs – you bat so well for 97 and then you get out. You don't get a hundred, you come back in the changing room and it probably feels worse than getting a 20 in some respects.

"It's a bizarre feeling. Yeah, I would love to get a hundred out here. Rawalpindi, Islamabad – where I grew up.

"I think it would have brought a lot of joy. But at the same time, I think mum, dad, Rachel, my wife, would have loved me being out there.

"I was having a lot of fun. I was enjoying playing. To put it in perspective, I wasn't even in an Australian team a few months ago. So I'm very grateful to be here. I'm happy that I contributed to the team."

Khawaja made his return to the Australia side for the first time since 2019 for the fourth Test of the Ashes in January and scored a century in each innings in a man-of-the-match performance.

And after backing up that display with another of high quality and some fortune – twice Pakistan dropped potential catches of Khawaja – he added: "I felt really good today.

"I felt mentally in a really good spot coming into it, I guess. Probably because I've been out of the system. I've been out of Cricket Australia for two years. And now it's not the be-all and end-all anymore.

"I've been in and out of the team so much. I've been dropped. It doesn't matter. I just play the way I want to play. I just think of it as if I'm playing club cricket or Shield cricket back home. And that's how I take it for Australia now.

"Obviously, I'm a Muslim. I believe in God. I trust what happens. Good or bad, you have to take it equally. A lot of good things have happened in my life. Sometimes you want certain things to go a certain way and they don't happen. I think you just have to accept that and move on, and take the good with the bad. I'm very grateful."

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