Babar Azam scored his second century and Mohammad Rizwan his maiden half century in a 132-run partnership that helped Pakistan to 268 for six at tea on Sunday, stalling Australia’s march to victory in Brisbane on day four of the first test.
Azam was caught behind off spinner Nathan Lyon for 104 half an hour before the break and Rizwan (77 not out) will resume with Yasir Shah (17 not out) with the tourists still needing 72 runs to force Australia to bat again.
Before lunch, Pat Cummins had removed opener Shan Masood for 42 to break a 68-run partnership with Azam before his fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood pitched in five balls later to dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed for a duck.
The writing looked on the wall for Pakistan at that stage but Azam showed the quality that many believe will one day make him one of the world’s best batsmen in a superb 173-ball innings.
Showcasing his shot-making, Azam hit 13 fours including the confident drive that brought him to cricket’s most significant milestone, which he celebrated with a huge roar and fist pump before prostrating himself on the Gabba pitch.
Three deliveries later and Rizwan, playing in only his second test, reached the half century mark with a top edge that raced away to the boundary.
With Australia’s vaunted quicks labouring in the Brisbane sun, it was left to the subtlety of Lyon’s off-spin to make the breakthrough – a slightly quicker ball catching the outside edge of Azam’s bat and flying through to Tim Paine behind the stumps.
Pakistan had resumed on 64-3 after a miserable day three at the Gabba in which they were pillaged for runs by Australia’s batsmen and then lost a good chunk of their top order.
Marnus Labuschagne (185) and David Warner (154) helped the hosts accumulate a first-innings tally of 580 in reply to Pakistan’s 240.
The second and final test, a day-night affair, starts at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.