Pakistan openers solid as first Australia Test heads for draw

Pakistan openers solid as first Australia Test heads for draw


Pakistan's first home Test against Australia in nearly a quarter of a century headed for a draw

RAWALPINDI (AFP) - Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique amassed another century stand in batting-practise conditions as Pakistan’s first home Test against Australia in 24 years headed toward a tame draw in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

At tea, Pakistan were 191 without loss in their second innings, with Shafique just a single away from a maiden century and Haq 11 short of what could be his second ton of the Test.

The home team leads by 208 runs after dismissing Australia for 459 in the morning session. Pakistan declared at 476-4 in their first innings.

Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to visit over security fears.

With a draw assured on an unresponsive Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium pitch, the Pakistan openers took the opportunity for batting practise ahead of the second Test in Karachi from March 12.

In doing so, they became the first Pakistan pair to put on a century opening stand in both innings of a Test after teaming for 105 on Friday.

Shafique has so far hit ten boundaries and a six while Haq -- who scored a maiden Test hundred in the first innings -- has so far hit seven boundaries and two sixes.

Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali bowled a nagging line and length to mop up the Australian tail early Tuesday and finish with career-best figures of 6-107 in 38.1 overs -- his third five-wicket haul in eight Tests.

His effort enabled Pakistan to get the last three wickets with the addition of just 10 runs after Australia resumed on 449-7.

Nauman -- whose previous best of 5-35 came on his debut against South Africa in Karachi last year -- dismissed Australian skipper Pat Cummins for eight and Nathan Lyon for three in quick succession.

Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi got rid of Mitchell Starc to finish with figures of 2-88 in 30 overs.

The second Test is in Karachi on March 12-16 and the third in Lahore on March 21-25.