Pakistan dragged the day-night Test into a fifth day, infuriating Australia with a record-breaking show of resistance and sparkling century from Asad Shafiq at the Gabba.
The tourists resumed at 2-70 on day four, with history suggesting only one result was possible after Steve Smith declared on day three and set them an imposing target of 490.
Pakistan were 8-382 at stumps on Sunday night, their dream of achieving the highest ever Test run chase still alive thanks largely to Shafiq’s knock of 100 not out.
It could have been even better for the tourists if not for veteran Younis Khan’s ‘brain fade’ just as his team needed him most.
Younis’ dismissal – caught easily at slip after attempting a reverse sweep – prompted commentator Waqar Younis to deliver a mighty spray to his fellow Pakistan great.
After losing their inspirational skipper Misbah-ul-Haq for just five, 39-year-old Younis came to the rescue, ending a lean run of form by moving to a measured 65.
Which made what came next all the more surprising – especially to Waqar.
In what can only be described as a brain explosion, Younis attempted to reverse sweep Nathan Lyon but only managed to spoon a simple catch to first slip Steve Smith.
“That is ridiculous. That is so irresponsible,” ex-Pakistan speedster Waqar said in commentary on the Nine Network.
“A man with so much experience, you don’t need to do that.”
“What was the need? Pakistan needed you to be out there and you’ve played a false shot.
“Yeah, he’s got 65 but a very poor shot.”
— AmMaD (@AmmadZahid) December 18, 2016
It left Pakistan reeling at 5-173 with two new batsmen at the crease under lights on day four chasing a world record victory target of 490.
Luckily for them, Shafiq was on hand to steer them to within sight of what would be a historic victory.
Regardless of the final result, the visitors recorded a moral victory that should embolden them ahead of Tests at the MCG and SCG.
Pakistan’s highest fourth-innings total in Australia was previously the 336 they made at the MCG in 1990, while they have also bettered England’s 370 and achieved the highest fourth-innings Test total at the Gabba.
They have also batted 123 overs – only twice before have Pakistan occupied the crease for so long in the fourth innings of a Test.
Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and Lyon shared the six wickets to fall on Sunday. None of them were able to complete the sort of easy victory that locals seemingly expected, given a crowd of just 4890 turned up.
Starc, who had a heated exchange with Mohammad Amir late in the innings after the Aussie struck the tailender’s pad with a 152.3 km/h full toss, removed Azhar Ali in the second session then clean bowled Sarfraz Ahmed with the second new ball.
The left-armer also created a late chance when top-scorer Shafiq was on 72. Smith put down a regulation chest-high catch at second slip, his second dropped catch for the innings.
Earlier, a severe thunderstorm forced an early – and extended – tea break.
Australia bounced back after the wicketless opening session, claiming the key wickets of Azhar, Younis and Misbah after tea.
But they watched the visitors club 51 runs from the final half an hour of play.
Younis, meanwhile, at least snapped his run drought.
He had arrived in Australia with a disappointing recent Test haul of zero, two, one, two and 11.
And he got dismissed for a golden duck in the first dig at the Gabba.
Overall he has an impressive 9744 runs at 52.67.
Younis’ timely half ton – his 32nd in Tests – will provide him breathing space with selectors.
But it seems it may take a while to get back into Waqar’s good books.
“I’m concerned about how Younis played (spinner Lyon),” Waqar said. “Two balls before, the ball had landed in the rough and spun sharply, the extra bounce was there.
“Then this (reverse sweep) … he was not in control at all.
“I’m lost for words.”