Babar Azam silenced his critics by scoring sixth Test hundred in two years against Australia on Tuesday - which has helped Pakistan live to fight for another day in a gripping Test match.
After being the lone warrior in the first innings when he was the ninth batsman to be dismissed in the first innings when Pakistan were being blown away by Mitchell Starc’s reverse swing for just 148, Babar came in to bat when Pakistan were 21/2 in the second innings and defeat looked very imminent. Pakistan had to survive 172 overs to save the game after being set a uphill target of 506 by Pat Cummins and the ball was hard with Australian bowlers’ tail up.
Babar, who is always on the receiving end if Pakistan don’t do well and the cricket pundits and Youtube bloggers were all behind him as they believed he did not have the same aggressiveness as Test captain and has asked the curator to prepare dead wickets. This was the time he had to prove his detractors wrong and what better time to get a hundred when Pakistan most needed to fight another day at their fortress of Karachi’s National Stadium where Pakistan has just lost two Test matches before.
His last hundred had come in February, 2020 against Bangladesh and all the fans where asking when will the captain, Pakistan’s best batsman, score his next hundred? He has just played 38 Test matches and this was his sixth hundred, along with a decent average of 44 but when you are Pakistan’s captain, the expectations automatically grow and so was the case with Babar Azam.
Babar, along with his partner Abdullah Shafique, have to bat out another 90 overs to save the Test match and it won’t be easy as the new ball is just taken and there will be demons of the first innings collapse in the captain’s mind. Can he save the game? Only time will tell but there is very little doubt that if anyone can help Pakistan save the Test match, it is him.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group