Usman Khawaja completed one of the most impressive centuries in recent memory to lead Australia to a record-breaking draw against Pakistan in a turbulent first Test overnight.
Chasing a world-record 462 runs to win, the Australians looked to have virtually no chance after a first-innings collapse of 10 wickets for just 60 runs and the loss of three key wickets in the second innings without adding to the score.
But with Khawaja anchoring a gritty fightback, Tim Paine’s new-look side survived 140 overs to finish at 8-362 for its longest fourth-innings to claim the draw after crumbling to just 202 in the first innings.
Pakistan had declared its second innings at 6-181 after scoring a first-innings 482.
Legspinner Yasir Shah appeared to have ended Australia’s hopes when he took the wickets Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, and Peter Siddle with just eight balls, before Paine (61 not out) and number 10 batsman Nathan Lyon (5 not out) stepped up to weather the final 12 overs.
Man of the match Khawaja made the highest score by any visiting batsman in Asia – eclipsing Daniel Vettori’s 140 in 2009 in Sri Lanka – for his seventh Test century to finish with 141 off 302 balls in a marathon eight-and-a-half-hour knock.
An emotional Khawaja gazed to the sky and appeared to be overcome with relief, as wife Rachel cried in the stands, when he passed the 100-run milestone shortly after lunch.
“He [Khawaja] played beautifully, and it was a lot about realising the work we’ve done over the last month, backing our plans, backing the way we’ve been playing,” Travis Head said after the match.
“We’ve been playing and training extremely well. It was just to go out there, stay nice and relaxed, have a look at the wicket and talk about a few ideas and strategies Usman employed.”
After failing to make a breakthrough in the first session, Pakistan claimed the first wicket of the day when Mohammad Hafeez trapped Head (72) lbw off the very first delivery with the second new ball.
The dismissal ended an inspiring 132-run, fourth-wicket stand as Head hit five fours in his 175-ball knock in his debut test.
After Khawaja finally succumbed to an lbw decision, Starc was brilliantly caught by Babar Azam and Siddle was out for a duck.
But Paine and Lyon batted resolutely to signal a brighter future for the much maligned Australians.