KARACHI: Captain Babar Azam has lengthy established his credentials in limited-overs cricket, however his 196 in opposition to Australia put him up there with some greats within the lengthy type of the sport too.
Azam fought valiantly for 10 hours and 7 minutes in an innings lasting 425 deliveries to assist Pakistan salvage a draw on Wednesday within the second Test in Karachi.
His heroic innings turned the second-longest knock within the fourth innings of a Test, simply 36 minutes behind Michael Atherton’s 185 not out that ensured England saved the 1995 Johannesburg Test in opposition to South Africa.
Azam added 228 for the third wicket with Abdullah Shafique (96) and 115 for the fifth with Mohammad Rizwan (104 not out) as Pakistan defied the Australian assault for 171.4 overs.
The epic draw saved the three-match sequence — Australia’s first in Pakistan for twenty-four years — tied at 0-0 after the primary Test additionally led to a attract Rawalpindi.
Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq informed AFP that Azam’s efficiency was “career-defining”.
The 27-year-old Azam’s outstanding effort was the very best rating by a captain within the fourth innings of a Test, surpassing Atherton’s South Africa knock and propelling him above the likes of Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting.
Azam additionally turned the very best particular person scorer for Pakistan within the fourth innings of a Test, surpassing Younis Khan’s 171 not out in opposition to Sri Lanka in 2015.
His masterclass saved the Aussies at bay after the guests dominated for 5 days and appeared sure to win the match, having set the hosts a mammoth 506-run goal.
“In terms of the context of the game, with the team under pressure, him being captain and as a batter who had not scored a hundred for some time, this is his best innings,” Misbah stated.
“Such a match-saving innings gives you belief. I think this will go a long way in establishing his Test credentials,” added Misbah, beneath whose captaincy Azam performed his first Test in 2016.
Azam has a long-held ambition of turning into the most effective within the sport.
From a ball boy at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore within the 2007 Test between Pakistan and South Africa, Azam graduated to play within the 2010 Junior World Cup after which skippered his nation on the identical match two years later — scoring probably the most runs on each events.
He learnt the artwork of occupying the crease with a memorable 266 for State Bank in opposition to Habib Bank within the home Quaid Trophy Silver league in 2014, heralding his arrival.
Five months later he made his one-day worldwide debut — and didn’t look again.
But he was gradual off the mark in Test cricket, his first century not coming till the thirty second innings.
“I was never in doubt about his talent because he has a solid technique,” stated Misbah. “He started to blossom in the West Indies (2017) and Australia (2019).”
Azam hit 104 and 97 on the Australia tour, suggesting he might rank alongside Australia’s Steve Smith, India’s Virat Kohli, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England’s Joe Root — the so-called “Fab Four”.
Azam is ranked primary batsman within the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20 rankings, however eighth in Tests.
With his Karachi effort, there may very well be a “Fab Five” within the not-too-distant future.