Steven Smith notched up his 17th Test century and his second against Pakistan as Australia took the lead. The Australian skipper also passed 1000 runs in the calendar year as Australia reached 465/6 at Tea on the fourth day. However, heavy rain washed out the entire final session as play was abandoned. At stumps, Australia still led by 22 runs. Smith is unbeaten on 100 and Mitchell Starc on seven not out.
Although Friday’s final day was expected to be clear, the weather has left Australia little time to build a big enough total to pressure Pakistan’s batsmen and force a result to wrap up the three-match series.
Australia resumed after lunch on 395-4 and Smith pulled a short ball from Sohail Khan for four on the first delivery of the session to notch his 1,000th run for the year. Number six batsman Nic Maddinson fell for 22, bowled when skipping down the pitch to take on leg spinner Yasir Shah. Rookie Maddinson was already under pressure after a string of failures in his first two tests and the unconvincing 55-ball innings may not be enough to keep him in the side for the third and final match in Sydney.
With the game slipping away from Pakistan at 447-5, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade slogged Yasir into Azhar Ali’s helmet as he fielded at short leg and the opening batsman slumped to the ground in pain. After a few minutes to recover, he gingerly walked off the ground assisted by medical staff. Smith remained resolute and as ominous rain clouds moved over the stadium, he cut Sohail for three runs past point to bring up his 17th century from 168 balls.Usman Khawaja earlier missed out on a sixth ton, adding only two runs to his overnight 95 before he was caught behind playing a loose drive off pacer Wahab Riaz.
Khawaja’s wicket was a reward for some rare sustained pressure by Pakistan’s pacemen but they promptly loosened their grip, allowing Smith and Peter Handscomb to race to a 92-run partnership on a hot and humid morning. Handscomb marched to his half-century, his third score over 50 in his first three tests, but was out for 54 when he sliced Sohail Khan straight to Sami Aslam at point.