It was a remarkable escape by Pakistan at the fortress of its test venues — the National Stadium — when it was out for 148 in the first innings on the third day against the reverse swing of Mitchell Starc and conceded a massive 408-run lead.
Australia then stretched its lead to 505 before declaring its second innings at 97-2, but its bowlers couldn’t rattle the confidence of Babar, who batted almost five sessions and denied the visitors from taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“We were ahead of the game most of the times,” Cummins said while also praising the effort of spinners Lyon and Swepson. “We created couple of half chances, but couldn’t grab it.”
Babar stayed firm and blunted the reverse swing of experienced fast bowlers Pat Cummins (2-75) and Starc (0-58), while also negating the spin threat of Lyon and Swepson for most of the last day.
Australia had its chances to dismiss Babar but Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne dropped two sharp catches close to the wicket off Swepson’s successive deliveries before tea just after the Pakistan skipper had surpassed his previous test best of 143 made against Bangladesh in Rawalpindi in 2020.
Cummins got both wickets on either side of the first two sessions after Pakistan resumed on 192-2 with Babar resuming on 102 and Shafique on 71.
Shafique grinded out Australia’s bowlers for almost eight hours. When it looked like Pakistan will go unscathed at lunch, Cummins got the breakthrough in the penultimate over.
Shafique, who hit his maiden test century in the drawn first test in Rawalpindi, gave a healthy edge to Smith at first slip, who had dropped a sitter when Shafique was on 20 on Day 4.
Babar continued to dominate both pace and spin and also survived the short pacey spells of Starc and Cummins, who couldn’t get enough swing to trouble the batters with the second new ball just two overs old when the day began.
The third and final test begins in Lahore on Monday with Australia’s first test series in Pakistan since 1998 still tied 0-0.