Against all the odds and perhaps starting to dream of a miraculous victory, Pakistani batting fusing resoluteness and audaciousness has ensured the first Test in Brisbane enters a final day although Australia are still favourites needing just two wickets for victory.
In already the highest fourth innings chase ever at the Gabba, Pakistan lost just six wickets for the entirety of a rain-affected day as they reached stumps on day four at 8 for 382 chasing a record target of 490. Asad Shafiq (100 not out) notched a brilliant century with an abundance of cavalier shots and Yasir Shah is unbeaten on four.
Shafiq’s individual brilliance, combined by gritty cameos from the tail, has ensured Pakistan have a fighting chance of achieving one of the most remarkable victories in Test history. An extra eight overs were bowled with Pakistan seven wickets down but a flagging Australian bowling attack could only conjure one more scalp as play ended at 10.10PM local time.
Before the extra half-an- over was called, Shafiq received a life on 72 when Steve Smith, Australian captain, dropped a regulation chance at second slip off an exasperated Mitchell Starc (3 for 97 off 30 overs). It seemed the drop meant nothing more than delaying the inevitable but the inexplicable missed chance could well prove highly costly with the Test intriguingly poised, almost out of nowhere.