Usman Khawaja falls short of century in Rawalpindi Test as Aussies fight back

Visitors reach 271-2 by stumps after Khawaja hits 94 in first Test against Pakistan

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Australian opener Usman Khawaja fell three runs short of a memorable century in the country of his birth on the third day of the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The Aussie batsmen made the most of a lifeless pitch, scoring 271-2 in reply to the hosts' 476-4 declared, still trailing by 205 runs but looking like saving the match that is expected to witness more weather disruptions.

Bad light stopped play before it started to rain at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, dampening the mood of the crowd that were attending Australia's first visit to the country in 24 years.

Marnus Labuschagne was batting on 69 and Steve Smith on 24 when stumps were drawn.

It could have been a memorable day for Khawaja had he completed his 11th Test century in Pakistan, where he was born in 1986 before his parents emigrated to Australia.

The left-handed batsman was caught at forward short leg by Imam-ul-Haq for 97 as he gloved a reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Nauman Ali.

Top-ranked batsman Labuschagne continued where Khawaja and Warner had left off, hitting nine exquisite boundaries.

He and Smith have added 68 for third wicket and defied Pakistan's spin duo of Sajid and Nauman, who took a wicket each in the post-lunch session.

"Tomorrow is another big day for us," Khawaja said.

"If we can bat well, keep scoring runs and give ourselves the opportunity, maybe (Australia can force a result)."

"We are 200 runs behind, there's a long way to go."

Khawaja's 219-minute innings included 15 boundaries as he added 156 for the opening wicket with Warner, who made an attacking 68.

Warner fell in the eighth over after lunch when he missed a square drive and was bowled by off-spinner Sajid Khan.

"We will try to make the new ball count tomorrow," Sajid said after a slow day's play.

"We'll have to try and break this partnership between Labuschagne and Smith as quick as possible and press for early wickets. The wicket is offering enough turn and we are hopeful of a positive result."

Updated: March 06, 2022, 1:19 PM
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