Sheer Khan brilliance keeps hosts in control

Australia endured a torrid fourth day in Dubai, with ball and bat, as Pakistan demolished them to set a target of 438, and then reduced the Aussies to 59 for four by the close.

Younis Khan scored his second ton of the game, and Ahmed Shehzad bagged a century too. This made Younis Pakistan’s leading century maker, with 26. They declared on 286 for two just after tea, and the Aussies faltered dismally.

Pakistan started the day with a lead of 189, having bowled the Aussies out for 303 the day before, and thus already holding a 151 run lead. Ahmed Shehzad was already set on 22, while Azhar Ali started on 16.

Ali was the only wicket to fall in the morning, giving Steve O’Keefe another wicket on debut. Brad Haddin took a great catch, in the webbing of his gloves, and Ali departed for 30 off 65 balls.

Shehzad and Younis then saw out the session, with the younger batsman recording his half century off 128 balls. At the interval he was on 55, while Younis, having made a vital ton in the first dig, was on 26.

The afternoon was all about the batsmen as Pakistan cruised through the two hours without losing a wicket. They took the score from 116 at lunch to 231 at tea, with Shehzad bagging just his second Test ton.

The youngster was out for 131, trapped LBW by O’Keefe, who thus took both wickets and was easily the pick of the bowlers. And as the Aussies found out later in the day, the spinning track was a demon.

Younis was at his imperious best, and after tea he too brought up his century, which prompted the declaration. Australia had bowled 78 overs and given up nearly four runs to the over, taking just the two wickets.

The Aussies then had to come in to chase 438 to win, but more realistically to salvage a draw. They did themselves a lot of damage though, as David Warner fell for 29 and then Alex Doolan in the same Zulfiqur Babar over, for a duck.

Michael Clarke and Nathan Lyon were sent packing in one over too, for three and a duck respectively, the latter in as night watchman. Yasir Shah took their wickets, both trapped plumb in front.

At stumps, Chris Rogers was on 23, while Steve Smith had made three runs. Australia needed to win both these Tests to regain the number one ranking off South Africa.