Australia captain Pat Cummins gave a diplomatic answer when asked about a pitch that yielded 1,187 runs for just 14 wickets over five days in the first Test against Pakistan.
Australian skipper Pat Cummins said he would leave it to fans and commentators to pass judgement on a dead wicket that saw his team’s first Test in Pakistan in nearly a quarter of a century end in a tame draw in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. “I think the players always want a fair battle between bat and ball, and that’s when I think Test cricket is at its best and most rewarding,” the diplomatic Cummins said when asked about a pitch that yielded 1,187 runs for just 14 wickets over five days.
“It’s for fans and you guys (media) to kind of watch it from the outside and kind of judge the spectacle.”
Pakistan were 252 without loss in their second innings when the match ended without a result. Australia scored 459 in reply to Pakistan’s first innings score of 476-4 declared.
“Turning up to a pitch — probably not a traditional pitch — you get here in Rawalpindi and coming away with a draw, it’s not a bad result,” Cummins said afterwards.
It was Australia’s first Test on Pakistan soil since 1998, having declined to visit previously on security grounds.
With a draw assured, the Pakistan openers took the opportunity for batting practice ahead of the second Test in Karachi starting Saturday.
The final day was dominated by Pakistan’s openers, with Imam-ul-Haq cracking his second century of the match and Abdullah Shafique scoring a maiden hundred.
Haq made an unbeaten 111 following up his first-innings 157, while Shafique finished on 136.
In doing so, they became the first Pakistan pair to put on a century opening stand in both innings of a Test against Australia, after teaming up for 105 on Friday.
Shafique was the first to reach his century, pushing seamer Cameron Green for a single to reach the mark in 209 minutes. In all, he hit 15 boundaries and a six.
Haq, who was playing his first Test since December 2019, pushed part-timer Travis Head for two to complete his century in 276 minutes.
Their stand is Pakistan’s highest for the first wicket against Australia in all Tests, bettering the 249 set by Khalid Ibadulla and Abdul Kadir in Karachi in 1964.
So dominating were the two openers that it became only the first instance in 51 years when Australia conceded 100-plus opening stands in both innings of a Test.
Geoff Boycott and John Edrich of England were the last pair to achieve the feat against Australia, in Adelaide in 1971.
The famed Australian pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood — with 674 Test wickets between them before this match — got just one more on the flat, lifeless surface.
Shafique said he was delighted to score a hundred.
“This century will give me confidence and step up my career,” he added.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali bowled a nagging line and length to mop up the Australian tail and finished with career-best figures of 6-107 in 38.1 overs — his third five-wicket haul in eight Tests.
His effort enabled Pakistan to get the last three wickets with the addition of just 10 runs after Australia resumed on 449-7.
Nauman — whose previous best of 5-35 came on his debut against South Africa in Karachi last year — dismissed Australian skipper Pat Cummins for eight and Nathan Lyon for three in quick succession.
Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi got rid of Starc to finish with figures of 2-88 in 30 overs.