Azhar, rain frustrate Australia at Gabba

18 Dec, 2016 11:00 am

BRISBANE – Azhar Ali and Younus Khan dug in with a defiant third-wicket partnership to trim Pakistan’s victory target to 359 runs before rain brought tea early on day four of the first day-night test against Australia on Sunday.

Azhar was 61 not out and Younus had reached 40, the seasoned pair having built a vital 77-run unbroken stand to push Pakistan to 131 for two.

Ground staff scurried onto the field with nearly 20 minutes left in the session to protect the Gabba pitch from a squall and it was all smiles in the Pakistan dressing room as rain pelted down at the stadium.

Pakistan resumed on 70-2, with batsman Azhar and Younus making up for their first innings failures with the bat to frustrate Steve Smith’s team.

Azhar brought up his 50 with a single pushed through the gully off Jackson Bird and acknowledged a smattering of applause from the sparse crowd.

Younus began the day on nought after facing 19 nervous deliveries late on Saturday on the back of a dreadful run of form but the gritty veteran gradually found his groove and went comfortably about his work by midway through the session.

Pakistan were bowled out for 142 on day three, 287 runs short of Australia’s first innings total of 429 but Smith waived the chance to enforce the follow-on and sent his team in to bat the touring side out of the game.

Smith waited a long time to declare their second innings closed, until his team had put an improbable victory target of 490 on the board by the dinner break.

With five sessions remaining, the game is still Australia’s to lose but the home side will hope the rain can clear quickly. -Reuters

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