Leading a scandal-hit team dismissed as Australia’s worst in 30 years, captain Tim Paine’s pledge to win back hearts and minds seemed a fanciful, if noble, aspiration in the leadup to the test series against Pakistan.
In the end, it took only five days of cricket before he could claim mission accomplished, having ushered his team to safety in Dubai in one of the bravest fourth innings escapes in the history of the game.
Anchored by a career-defining 141 by Usman Khawaja and Paine’s unbeaten 61 on a pock-marked pitch, Australia survived 139.5 overs in enervating heat to ensure the series remains alive to the second match in Abu Dhabi.
For all the brilliant teams Australia has produced, none have prevailed for so long in a fourth innings on Asian pitches.
Only two visiting teams to Asia have ever scored higher in a fourth innings chase than the 362-8 scratched out with astonishing grit and defiance by Paine’s men.
It followed a calamitous batting collapse of 10-60 in the first innings, which had appeared a terminal setback in the context of the match.
All that, and without the country’s two best batsmen in former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, who remain suspended for their parts in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
In their absence, Khawaja emerged as the team’s safest hands in the rejigged order, having compiled the highest ever fourth innings score in the continent by a non-Asian batsman.
At 524 minutes, it was also the second longest knock in a fourth innings, behind only Michael Atherton’s 643-minute epic in an unbeaten 185 against South Africa in 1995.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر