Imam-ul-Haq hits second century of match as Pakistan draw with Australia in first Test

Opener follows up first-innings 157 with unbeaten 111 in run-feast at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium that left bowlers struggling to make impact

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Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq hit his second century of the match as the first Test against Australia at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium ended in a drab draw on Tuesday.

Pakistan were 252-0 in the second innings when the teams shook hands with openers Imam and Abdullah Shafique unbeaten on 111 and 136, respectively, as the hosts finished with a lead of 269 runs.

It was Shafique's maiden Test hundred as he hit 15 fours and a six in his 242-ball knock, while Imam was more watchful and faced 223 balls, hitting seven fours and two sixes.

Imam scored 157 in Pakistan's first-innings total of 476-4 declared in what was his first Test since November 2019, while Australia were all out for 459 in their opening knock, in which Usman Khawaja top-scored with 97.

“The most satisfying feeling to score a hundred in each innings and Australia have a good bowling attack,” said man-of-the-match Imam. “When you score against the top teams you go one step ahead in your career. I was trying to correct my basics and wait for the loose balls.”

Imam and Abdullah's stand surpassed Pakistan’s previous best against Australia in 1964 when Khalid Ibadulla and Abdul Kadir combined for 249 in Karachi.

Shafique and Imam also became the first Pakistan opening pair to share a century stand in each innings against Australia after combining for 105 runs in their opening total.

A total of 1,187 runs were scored over five days and only 14 wickets fell in what Australia's Steve Smith called a “pretty benign, dead wicket” which risks censure from the game's governing body.

With a draw looming as the only possible result, Australia captain Pat Cummins shielded his front-line quicks and used as many as nine bowlers in Pakistan's second innings.

It's been a great week in Rawalpindi. It's good to be back here after 24 years
Pat Cummins

On Tuesday, the pace trio of Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowled a combined 16 out of their 77 overs. Off-spinner Lyon alone sent down 26 overs, while part-timers Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Smith and Usman Khawaja were also utilised.

“Just about everyone got into the series, especially the batters, and we had a good look at their line-up,” said Cummins. “Still feeling quite fresh. It's been a great week in Rawalpindi. It's good to be back here after 24 years.”

Earlier, after the tourists began the final day on 449-7, Pakistan took 11 deliveries to claim the last three Australian wickets.

Nauman Ali dismissed Cummins for eight, and both Starc and Lyon fell lbw as Australia finished 17 runs behind Pakistan's first-innings total.

Each of Australia's top four batsmen crossed the 50-mark but could not convert them into hundreds and the tourists lost their last six wickets for 52 runs.

Left-arm spinner Nauman claimed a career-best 6-107 on a flat track on which bowlers struggled for success.

The second Test begins in Karachi on Saturday, while Lahore stages the final match from March 21-25. The Test series will then be followed by three one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 in Rawalpindi.

Updated: March 08, 2022, 1:21 PM