Misbah-ul-Haq makes Australia suffer by hitting equal fastest Test ton

Day Four: Pakistan 570-6 dec & 293-3 dec v Australia 261 & 143-4

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The Independent Online

Australia have six wickets left to survive the final day of the second Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi after Misbah-ul-Haq equalled the record for the fastest Test century on Sunday and broke the record for the quickest fifty to build on his side’s dominance.

At the end of the fourth day, Australia were facing up to a  2-0 series defeat as they trailed Pakistan by 459 runs with the pitch expected to deteriorate today.

The 40-year-old Misbah reached his century in 56 balls, matching the record set by West Indies great Vivian Richards against England in 1986. Misbah had reached his 50 in just 21 deliveries with the last ball before lunch, eclipsing the previous 24-ball record by South Africa’s Jacques Kallis against Zimbabwe in 2005.

“It’s the biggest honour for me. Really, I think I am nowhere near him,” Misbah said of Richards.

Australia’s only consolation is that Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh – their two best spin bowlers – are at the crease. Smith was unbeaten on 38 and Marsh on 26 in a 42-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Zulfiqar Babar took the first three Australian wickets to fall for figures of 3 for 65.

Opener Chris Rogers tried to work him around the corner and edged to Asad Shafiq at leg slip to go for just two runs, Glenn Maxwell was trapped lbw after a decision review and, moments after tea, captain Michael Clarke failed to read the turn and was clean bowled for five.

Opener David Warner moved Australia from 43 for 3 to past the century mark as he made 58 before he top-edged a sweep off Mohammad Hafeez to Yasir Shah at point, leaving the visitors on 101 for 4.

Earlier, Misbah, who finished the day on 101 not out, got his second century in the match, which was matched by Azhar Ali (100 not out). In the first innings, Misbah was out for 101 and Ali 109.

“Records give satisfaction but nothing is better for a batsman than getting to his hundred,” Misbah said. “I was trying to give Azhar a chance to get to his hundred, and I just wanted to score quick runs and pile the pressure on Australia.”

It was only the second time that two team-mates have made centuries in both innings of a Test match after Australian brothers Ian and Greg Chappell in the first Test against New Zealand in 1974. Ian Chappell scored 145 and 121, while Greg Chappell hit 247 not out and 133. In all, Misbah amassed five sixes and 11 fours in his second innings.

It could have been so different for Australia, but Peter Siddle dropped Misbah in the second ball of his innings when on four.

“For us, he should have been out for four,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said. “We should take all the chances that come our way, but we haven’t really done that this whole series.”

Lehmann said the series was not over yet. “We have been outplayed in the series, but it would be great if the two young guys [Smith and Marsh] can save the Test for us tomorrow,” Lehman said. “That would be a fantastic achievement for us.”

Australia will need to produce a record chase. A draw or win will give Pakistan a rare series victory over Australia, their first since 1994. Pakistan won the first of the two-Test series by 221 runs.

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