Khawaja and Head keep Pakistan wicketless on final morning

Australia 202 and 215 for 3 (Khawaja 82 *, Finch 70 *) need another 246 races to beat Pakistan 482 and 181 for 6 dec

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For the first time in the game, the script of Pakistan seems to have a template every time it plays in the UAE, it does not go entirely according to the plan. On a morning that would normally have been seen as a formality that confirmed his ascendancy in the series, Usman Khawaja and Travis' boss showed a bold disregard for history books, digging and keeping Pakistan impeccable throughout the session. Khawaja, who finished unbeaten at 50 yesterday, had 18 fewer than a hundred races at lunch, and Head became the second rookie of this test to score half a century.

The pair had a propitious platform to build; his association added 61 last night in the stumps. They continued in that direction, playing the spinners without any fear, apparently free of the pressure that would have come to know that this association would be key. Khawaja continued using the reverse sweep without flaws against Yasir Shah, canceling the roughness around the window. The head, on the other hand, was more conventional, relying on footwork. Again and again, he went down to the playing field and guided him through the onside. At other times, he returned to the depths of his fold, playing late enough to avoid being deceived by the spinners, or by any demon that might have suddenly awakened the tone.

The playing field itself has not fully developed in the minefield in which it had threatened to become the third night; It seems solid enough to keep hitters without fear. The spinners will be disappointed by the lack of a sharp turn to which they are accustomed in the pitches of the last day, but it is possible that they have still had a wicket at the beginning of the session. The head missed a sweep against Yasir, while the ball fell on his pads. He was not spinning much, and although the referee did not recognize him, he seemed extremely close. Pakistan, in its latest revision, chose not to use it, but the replays showed that the ball had thrown in line and was hitting the middle stump halfway. It could be the only mistake that makes all your efforts in the last four days have been in vain.

It is not especially flattering for a bowling attack to say that a fast bowler was his best moment on the last morning of a test in Asia, but once again, Mohammad Abbas seemed to be the most likely. A convincing personal battle with Khawaja in the middle of the session sometimes seemed destined to end up in a window, but the batter had the green touch several times. The only bowler who worried an otherwise imperturbable Khawaja, Abbas still found his outer edge. When the opener began to come out of his fold to interrupt Abbas, Sarfraz Ahmed began to keep up with the stumps, and Khawaja seemed even more worried. It was a chapter in a battle you suspect is not over yet.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor of ESPNcricinfo. @ Danny61000

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


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