Dubai : Opener Usman Khawaja hit a fighting hundred to foil Pakistan and help Australia escape with a draw in the first Test in Dubai on Thursday. The left-hander hit a solid 141 for his seventh Test hundred, while skipper Tim Paine (61 not out) and Travis Head (72) also hit half-centuries as Australia finished at 362-8 late in the day with lights coming on at Dubai stadium. After Khawaja was dismissed with 14.3 overs left and Yasir Shah quickly removed Mitchell Starc (one) and Peter Siddle (nought), Paine and number ten Nathan Lyon (five not out) survived 12.1 overs.
Both had some anxious moments before players shook hands with one ball to go in leg-spinner Yasir’s final over. Yasir had shaken the Australian innings with 4-114 but Australia clung on. They have now won two and drawn two of their 16 Tests in Asia since 2012. “It was an extremely tough Test match,” said Paine, after his second Test as captain. Australia’s hero was Khawaja, who started the day on 50 not out as Australia resumed on 136-3. Khawaja and Head added 79 before lunch as Pakistan failed to take a wicket in the first session. The pair eventually put on an invaluable 132 runs for the fourth wicket. Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan but moved to Australia as a child, batted for eight hours 44 minutes and faced 302 balls before he was sixth man out in the final session.
He was trapped leg-before sweeping Yasir. Khawaja, who hit 11 boundaries, had a top score of 26 in five previous Tests in Asia. His innings was the second longest in the fourth innings of a Test, behind England’s Michael Atherton’s 645 minute vigil in scoring 185 not out against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1995. It was the highest fourth-innings score by any visiting batsman in Asia, beating New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori’s 140 made at Colombo against Sri Lanka nine years ago.