This week, Australia pulled off one of the greatest escape acts in cricket. Against Pakistan on a deteriorating pitch, they had to bat out 140 overs to get a draw. This was a really tough task, considering the fact that two of their main batsmen are banned, and there are a lot of newcomers in the team. But they showed true Aussie grit to battle it out and achieve the draw. Usman Khawaja played the innings of his life and was ably supported by Tim Paine. So here is a look at the three things we learned from Australia’s great escape:
1) King Khawaja
Usman Khawaja had been a divisive figure in Australia before this match. On one hand, everyone could sense his potential and witnessed his great performances in domestic cricket. On the other hand, he had not been able to transform that ability into international performances. In this match, he came into his own and made a superb century in the 4th innings to save Australia from defeat. Hats off to this young man!
2) Sluggish Spinners
The Pakistani spinners have always managed to do well in the UAE. Pitches and weather conditions suit them immensely and they are extremely effective. So once Pakistan managed to take a huge lead in the first innings and set Australia a near-impossible target in their second innings, it was always likely that they will win the match for their team. Yasir and Bilal had done well in the first innings as well. But they were extremely sluggish in the second. They could not even bowl out Australia in 140 overs!
3) Paine of Joy
Tim Paine’s cricketing journey has had a lot of pain. When he came on to the scene, he was seen as a great young keeper batsman. He made his debut a few years ago and his keeping especially was highly rated. But a major injury derailed his career and threatened to even end it. Now, after the ball tampering scandal involving Steve Smith, Paine has got a new lease of life. He has been appointed captain and he showed his credentials by playing an amazing innings which led to a draw for Australia.
To sum up, this was a great test match and was a wonderful advertisement for the game. Till the last over it was uncertain whether Pakistan would win or it might be a draw. In the end, Australia hung on and they will be boosted by this result ahead of the second test.