PAK vs AUS 2022: Babar Azam's 196 in the top echelon of fourth-innings knocks

Pakistan Nets Session: Second Test
Pakistan Nets Session: Second Test

Pakistan captain Babar Azam's incredible knock to save his side from defeat in Karachi has broken several Test records. With Pakistan facing a two-day survival task and a fourth innings target in excess of 500, their chances of victory always looked ominous.

But a record-breaking knock from Azam ensured the series would be live at 0-0 heading into the third Test. On Day 4, he came to the crease with his side at 21/2 and staring at a second-Test loss. Batting for 137 overs, he notched up a superb 196 runs, falling just short of an elusive double hundred.

He soaked up all the pressure and firepower the Australians could throw at him over the course of 603 minutes, which eventually helped his side hang on for a draw. Along the way, he built solid partnerships with Abdullah Shafique (228 runs) and Mohammad Rizwan (115 runs).

That achievement rightly earned him man of the match.

Babar Azam breaks several Test records

Babar Azam's 196 now sits as the highest ever individual score in a Test match for Pakistan, surpassing Younis Khan's 171* in 2015.

It was also the highest individual score by a captain in the fourth innings of a Test, surpassing 185* scored by Michael Atherton in 1995. Azam took 603 minutes to register that incredible total, the second-longest fourth innings in terms of minutes batted in a Test match (surpassing the same innings by Atherton).

In another measure of length, the 425 balls faced by Babar made it the fourth-longest innings in terms of deliveries, smashing the previous record of 369 set by Shoaib Malik in 2006.

As mentioned, his innings was the backbone of Pakistan's rearguard action, which incited a drawn match. Pakistan held on for 171.4 overs in the run chase, the longest they have batted in the fourth innings of a Test. That was higher than the previous record of 145 overs against Australia in 2016.

As they finished on 443/7, it was Pakitan's second-highest fourth innings total by way of runs.

Individually, Babar's innings was the seventh-highest fourth innings score in Test cricket, and the highest against Australia. Kumar Sangakarra held the previous record with 192 runs in 2007.

Importantly, Babar was always in need of another teammate at the other end of the pitch, and Abdullah Shafique proved to be his ever-dependable partner. Their partnership of 228 for the third wicket was the second-highest stand ever for the third wicket in the fourth innings of a Test.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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