Pakistan found a new avenue in which to humiliate Australia on day 4 of the second Test in Abu Dhabi, with Misbah-ul-Haq producing an extraordinary, record-breaking innings before their bowlers again did the job to make victory on the final day a mere formality.
The relentless Pakistanis resumed at 2-61, and piled on the hurt in the first session as Azhar Ali and Younis Khan extended their partnership to 130 runs before Younis was trapped lbw by Steve Smith for 46.
Younis’ series average was an incredible 156.
But nothing could have prepared Michael Clarke and the hapless Australian attack for the withering assault Pakistan’s captain was about to launch.
After being dropped second ball, Misbah went berserk, smashing three sixes and a four in the space of four balls off Nathan Lyon. He then broke the all-time Test record for the fastest-ever 50, taking just 21 balls.
But Misbah charged towards an even more hallowed achievement, taking only another 35 deliveries to reach triple figures – equalling West Indies legend Viv Richards’ record for the fastest-ever Test century: 56 balls.
Misbah and Azhar emulated Younis’ first Test effort of a century in each innings, after which Pakistan declared with the score at 3-293 – setting Australia a virtually impossible 603 for victory.
Desperately needing some belated grit and tenacity out in the middle, Australia’s second dig – yet again – began disastrously. Chris Rogers (2), Glenn Maxwell (4) and Clarke (5) all fell cheaply to spinner Zulfiqar Babar, leaving the tourists reeling at 3-43.
David Warner and Smith dug in, adding 58 for the fourth wicket before Warner was dismissed for 58 when he spooned a Mohammed Hafeez ball for Yasir Shah to take an easy catch.
Smith and first innings star Mitchell Marsh saw off the remaining 20 overs of the day without incident, advancing the score to 143 – but at 459 runs in arrears with six wickets in hand, the day 5 outlook is bleak for Australia.
Stud of the day
Misbah enjoyed one of the studliest days in the history of Test cricket. Beating Jacques Kallis’ record for the fastest 50 and equalling the incomparable Richards’ mark for the quickest century earns the Pakastan skipper a treasured place in the game’s folklore. He plundered 11 fours and five sixes in his unforgettable knock.
Australia was already in a hopeless position, but the tourists paid dearly for dropping Misbah second ball.
Smith and Marsh must bat the majority of day 5 if Australia is to secure a miracle draw. Next man in Brad Haddin is carrying a shoulder injury that prevented him from keeping in Pakistan’s second innings, while Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle can’t be expected to bat for hours after the amount of bowling they’ve had to do. It doesn’t look good for Australia.
Get to know world cricket’s man of the moment a bit better with these Misbah-ul-Haq tidbits:
- Misbah is 40 years and 158 days old, making him the oldest player currently active in Test cricket.
- He made his Test debut in 2001, but spent more than four years out of the side from 2003 to 2007.
- Despite his record-breaking efforts this week, Misbah has a career strike-rate of just 41.66.
- Prior to posting twin hundreds in this Test, Misbah had scored just five centuries in 85 innings. He had reached triple figures just twice in the previous three-and-a-half years.
- Misbah has never scored an ODI century, but boasts 37 half-centuries in 151 ODI appearances for Pakistan.