Australia put on a strong batting performance in response to Pakistan’s first innings total of 476/4 announced on Day 3 of the historic Rawalpindi Test. Usman Khawaja agonizingly stayed under 100, falling to 97 as Australia stacked 271 runs, coming to stumps on Sunday and dropping just 2 wickets.
David Warner, enjoying his time at Rawalpindi, hit 68 while Marnus Labuschange finished the day unbeaten on 69. Poor light once again ended proceedings early as Australia tried to make good use of tiring Pakistani bowlers who bowled 72 overs on Sunday.
PAK vs AUS, highlights from Day 3 of Rawalpindi
Steve Smith will also be hoping to turn the start he had into a big knock when he returns on Monday the 24th. Australia, in their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years, finished 205 points adrift on day three but scored clear after going on on day five unbeaten.
Star batter Usman Khawaja said Australia hoped to force a result at Rawalpindi despite criticism of the slowness of the pitch.
“Tomorrow is another big day for us. If we can bat well, keep making runs and give ourselves an opportunity, maybe force a result,” Khawaja said on Sunday.
“We’re 200 runs behind, there’s still a long way to go.”
WARNER ENJOYS TALKS ON THE FIELD
Khawaja, who scored 97, could have been dismissed in 22nd when Shaheen Afridi opened the scoring to drive away from his body, but Fawad Alam spilled a direct catch on the gully.
It was a costly mistake on a flat course where bowlers struggled and just four wickets fell in the first two days.
The morning session also witnessed a small duel between Warner and Naseem Shah. Warner hit the fast bowler for two boundaries in an over and Naseem responded by bowling into the opener’s body in his next.
Warner suffered a blow to the upper arm but laughed about it when Naseem stared at him, sharing part of his opinion.
Khawaja made a spectacular upper cut on Naseem, taking two runs from spinner Sajid Khan to score an airy half-century.
Warner greeted off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed in attack by beating him for three boundaries, the first bringing his fifty.
The left-hander, who hit 12 limits, had held back his middle stump as he went on back foot to play Sajid through the offside and misjudged the line.
Islamabad-born Khawaja missed what might have been his third Test hundred in five innings after missing a backswing that would otherwise have been a productive shot for the left-hander.
Referee Aleem Dar initially ruled out the batsman but reversed the decision after replays confirmed Nauman’s ball struck Ali Khawaja’s gloves before surfacing in the front short leg to Imam-ul-Haq.
Labuschagne hit nine limits in his flowing unbeaten knock.