Dubai: Opener Usman Khawaja and Travis Head defied Pakistan with some solid batting to take Australia to 215-3 at lunch on the fifth and final day of the first Test in Dubai on Thursday.
Khawaja followed up his first innings score of 85 with a fighting 82 not out, and debutant Head was unbeaten on 70 for his maiden half-century, both blunting Pakistan’s spinners. The pair has added 128 runs for the fourth wicket to raise Australia’s hopes of a draw — or even a world-record run chase.
Australia, set a daunting 462-run target, still need another 247 runs while Pakistan needs seven wickets to go 1-0 up in the two-match series. 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 was hitting the wickets. Khawaja has so far hit eight boundaries while Head has five.