Australia batsman's century led the tourists to an unlikely draw in the first Test
Sarfraz Ahmed in awe of Usman Khawaja's innings after Australia 'frustrate' Pakistan in Dubai Test
Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, said “no praise was enough” for Usman Khawaja’s match-saving century for Australia in the Dubai Test.
Khawaja made 141 to help deny Pakistan what had appeared to be a certain win, after they had claimed a first-innings lead of 280 and then set Australia 462 to win.
The Australians batted for 139.5 overs, making 382-8, with Khawaja facing 302 deliveries.
“When we came here today we were confident to win the Test, we were in a good position, and that’s the beauty of Test cricket,” Sarfraz said.
“Khawaja batted well, no praise is enough for his batting. Khawaja played all his shots which are usually tough on the fifth day for a batsman, the sweep and reverse sweep, so it’s frustrating.
“In Test cricket, the beauty lies in the fact that a team can draw from a position of losing after a thrilling contest. We did our best efforts, but unfortunately the result did not come our way.”
Yasir Shah took four wickets on the final day, including that of Khawaja, to end what has otherwise been a relatively barren run for Pakistan’s star leg-spinner.
Sarfraz entrusted the most overs in the final innings to his leg-spinner, but he was unable to force the victory.
“He played a Test [for the first time] after one year so you have to give him some margin,” Sarfraz said of Yasir.
“Yes, he did bowl in first-class cricket but bowling in Tests is different. This was his first match so hopefully he will come back in the next match
“He is our main bowler so we should not let him fall and I hope he will bowl well.”
Tim Paine, the Australia captain, said he was proud of the way his side had battled, particularly after the alarming collapse they had suffered in the first innings.
They gave away such a large deficit at halfway on account of losing all 10 first innings wickets for 60 runs, against Bilal Asif’s off-spin and the swing bowling of Mohammed Abbas.
“We always want to play good cricket, there is no doubt about that,” Paine said.
“I was really played of the way we stuck at it. We spoke pre-series about how important it is to fight here, and stay patient.
“It is one thing to talk about it, and another to do it after you have had a 10-60 collapse. That can shake a few people’s belief.
“Credit to our whole staff to keep the boys together and thinking clearly. We never lost hope we could do that today.
"There were probably times where it was a dream, but we dug in and fought and played a brand that the Australian cricket team wants to play.”