A relieved Australia captured Pakistan’s last two wickets to win a captivating first day-night test in Brisbane by 39 runs on Monday but the touring side won huge admiration for their dogged fourth innings resistance.
Chasing a test record 490 for victory, Pakistan had resumed the fifth and final day on 382 for eight and paceman Mitchell Starc proved the game-breaker when he ended a stubborn 71-run ninth-wicket partnership between Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah.
Starc struck with a searing delivery that pinged off Shafiq’s glove for an easy catch to David Warner in the gully, bringing to an end a heroic knock of 137.
Yasir fell moments later to seal the win, run out by home skipper Steve Smith with a direct hit for 33, having failed to ground his bat after an aborted single as Pakistan were eventually dismissed for 450.
Australia take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series but Pakistan showed impressive fight to turn the match into a cliffhanger and will head to the second game in Melbourne on Dec. 26 with renewed confidence.
Starting the day needing 108 runs to win but with only two wickets intact, the tourists maintained a sliver of hope with middle-order batsman Shafiq at the crease after he cleaved a magnificent unbeaten century on day three.
Australia’s nerves were becoming increasingly frayed as Pakistan approached their target but the relief was palpable when they finally sealed a victory that looked a formality a day earlier.
“I lost all my fingernails, I think,” joked Smith. “Some game of cricket, wasn’t it?
“Credit’s got to go to our bowlers, they really stuck at it and got us over the line.
“That wicket, I guess, of Asad showed the class of Starcy with a ball that was 60 overs old and quite soft…. but what a game of cricket.”
Feature image source: AFP