Ton-up Khawaja defies Pakistan’s victory push


DUBAI – Opener Usman Khawaja hit a fighting hundred to keep Pakistan’s victory bid in check as Australia reached tea at 287-5 on the final day of the first Test in Dubai.

Khawaja was unbeaten on 120 for his seventh Test century and with him, skipper Tim Paine was 19 not out as Australia — set a daunting 462-run target — need to bat out another 31 overs for a draw.

Pakistan need five more wickets and have another 175 runs to play to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Khawaja had added an invaluable 132 runs for the fourth wicket with Travis Head (72) as 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 that has so far included 11 boundaries.

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 his first in the match when he dismissed Marnus Labuschagne for 13.



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