Pakistan close on series win after Misbah’s blitz

Abu Dhabi, Nov 2:

Pakistan were on the verge of their first series win over Australia in 20 years and victory in the second Test after skipper Misbah-ul Haq rewrote the recod books with his belligerent batting in Abu Dhabi today.

     Misbah smashed a 56-ball hundred, equalling West Indian legend Viv Richards’s record made against England at Antigua in 1986, minutes after breaking the mark for the fastest fifty which he made off just 21 balls at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

     Misbah’s stunning blitz set up Pakistan to declare their second innings at 293-3, setting a daunting 603-run target for Australia who suffered another batting collapse before reaching 143-4 at stumps on the fourth day.

     Steven Smith (38) and Mitchell Marsh (26) were at the crease as Australia still need another 460 runs for an unlikely win or bat out three sessions on the final day to avoid a 2-0 whitewash, their first series defeat against the Pakistanis since a 1-0 loss in Pakistan in 1994.

     Australia’s woes with the bat continued as left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (3-65) struck regular blows by dismissing Chris Rogers (two), Glenn Maxwell (four) and Michael Clarke (five) in 19 balls to leave Australia tottering at 43-3.

     Clarke was beaten by a beautiful turner as the Australian captain pushed on the backfoot only to see his stumps disturbed.

     That summed up Clarke’s miserable series with only 57 runs.

     David Warner had held on end intact, reaching his 13th half-century before miscuing a drive off Mohammad Hafeez and was caught for 58.

     Earlier Misbah, notorious for his slow batting in one-day internationals, removed all doubts about his credentials.

     In all he hit 11 boundaries and five sixes off 57 balls during his two centuries in the match, a blitz which overshadowed Azhar Ali’s feat of 100 not out, making this only the second occasion in Test cricket’s history when two batsmen scored a century in each innings in the same match.

     Australian brothers Ian and Greg Chappell scored centuries in each innings against New Zealand at Wellington in 1973. (Agencies)



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