Australia's lower-order, led by Alex Carey’s 93, blunted the Pakistan bowling attack to reach 505-8 on the second day of the second test on Sunday. Carey missed out on a deserving century when he was clean bowled attempting an ambitious slog sweep against Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s part-time off spin late on.
Carey and Mitchell Starc, who was unbeaten on 28, nearly played out the entire last session as they put on 98 runs on a slow wicket to the frustration of Pakistan’s bowlers.
“You want to make those triple figures (and) the way the game’s going, it was quite an important knock in the end,” Carey told host broadcasters after batting for just over three hours and hitting seven fours and two sixes in his 159-ball effort.
“It’s great to have 500 runs on the board. Hopefully the pitch starts to deteriorate tomorrow and we can create those 20 chances.”
Starc joined Carey at the stroke of tea after Usman Khawaja played a marathon knock in the country of his birth and finally fell midway into the second session. Khawaja hit 160 in nine hours and 12 minutes before Australia continued to wore down the Pakistan bowlers for 180 overs spanning two days.
It was Australia’s greatest number of overs batted in a test innings in Asia in 14 years, surpassing its 179.3 overs against India at Delhi in 2008 when it was bowled out for 577 runs.
An occasional turn for spinners off a flat track gave Pakistan Khawaja’s wicket when off-spinner Sajid Khan (2-151) hit the top of the stump off a ball that drifted away enough from the left-hander.
Carey and Starc dominated Pakistan with their near-century stand before Babar broke through to end another tough day in the field for the home side.
Starc gave a chance on 3 but left-arm spinner Nauman Ali (1-115) couldn’t hold onto a return catch over his head early in the last session that was dominated by the tourists.
Resuming on an overnight 127, Khawaja defied Pakistan pace and spin before he was finally undone by Sajid while attempting a defensive shot off his back foot.
Khawaja raised his bat to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd, who chanted “Khawaja, Khawaja” as he left the field after his century in the city that was once home to his family.
Khawaja scored just two more boundaries on Sunday to add to the 13 on day one, but tired the Pakistan bowlers through his sedate knock that came off 329 deliveries.
Sajid picked up both his wickets in the most productive middle session for Pakistan with left-arm Nauman also clean bowling Cameroon Green (28) in the last over before the break to get his first wicket.
Sajid earlier had Travis Head (23) lbw off a fuller delivery that didn’t spin enough as the batsman tried to play across the line and was struck low on the front pad.
Earlier, Khawaja added 28 to his overnight score in the first session as Australia added a further 81 for the loss of only nightwatchman Nathan Lyon’s (38) wicket after it resumed on an overnight 251-3.
Fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi (0-85) and Hasan Ali (1-67) couldn’t get any lateral movement with the second new ball that was only 10 overs old and spinners Sajid and Nauman also couldn’t get the better of the patient Khawaja.
Lyon defied Pakistan for an hour and 15 minutes but Pakistan had chances to break the stand. The home team called for a television referral against Lyon in the day’s third over bowled by Hasan Ali but the television replays suggested the ball could have missed the leg stump.
Faheem Ashraf (2-55), who didn’t bowl in the last session, then dropped a one-handed catch off his own bowling when Lyon had reached 31 before the right-arm seamer finally broke the partnership when he knocked back Lyon’s middle stump.
Australia’s first test in Pakistan since 1998 ended in a draw in Rawalpindi where the lifeless pitch was rated as below average by the ICC.
“The weather is quite hot as compared to Rawalpindi and the cracks (in the pitch) will open up," Ashraf said. “We could see a result in this test match."