Opening batsman Usman Khawaja struck a fabulous century and helped Australia draw the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Thursday. To win, Australia needed 326 runs on the final day, while Pakistan needed seven wickets to script a famous victory. But new-look Australia stood tall and managed a draw. Applauding Australia's fighting effort, former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi took to Twitter and praised their "fighting effort". He further said this was "Test cricket at its best".
Great performance Usman Khawaja! Top effort by Australian team in very tough situation. This was Test cricket at it's best. Pakistan dominated the Test and should continue with same attitude in Abu Dhabi for 2nd Test. All the best boys. #PAKvAUS— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) October 11, 2018
Khawaja hit a solid 141 to notch up his seventh Test hundred, while skipper Tim Paine (61 not out) and Travis Head (72) also scored half-centuries as Australia finished at 362/8 late in the day with lights coming on at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Showering praise on the "new Australian team" for their never-say-die-attitude, cricketers too took to Twitter and congratulated the Australian team for a gutsy performance.
Some Draw by the Aussies .... !! #PakVAus— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) October 11, 2018
A really wonderful effort from Australia to draw the test match. Khawaja was outstanding and Paine in the end was very gritty. Batting out 140 overs to draw is really admirable #AUSvPAK— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) October 11, 2018
This draw says a lot about this group of players. Demonstrated the character that is needed to be successful. Fight, passion and temperament!! #PAKvAUS— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) October 11, 2018
Yes Painey!!!!#PakVAus— Jason Gillespie (@dizzy259) October 11, 2018
Well done to the whole Aust team to hang on - showed a lot of guts and spirit ! Congrats to Usman on an outstanding performance ! https://t.co/2WaLj9LB80— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) October 11, 2018
After Khawaja was dismissed with 14.3 overs left. Spinner Yasir Shah quickly removed Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle but captain Tim Paine and Nathan Lyon survived the day.
Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan but moved to Australia as a child, batted for eight hours 44 minutes and faced 302 balls. He hit 11 boundaries during his stay in the middle.
His innings was the second longest in the fourth innings of a Test, behind England's Michael Atherton's 645 minute vigil in scoring 185 not out against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1995.
The left-handed cricketer also registered the highest fourth-innings score by any visiting batsman in Asia, beating New Zealand's Daniel Vettori's 140 made at Colombo against Sri Lanka nine years ago.
(With AFP inputs)