Babar Azam’s knock against Australia declared third-best match-saving innings
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s incredibly patient and historic knock during the second Test against Australia has been in the headlines since the player managed to score his first Test hundred since 2020. Owing to his performance at a crucial time when the team needed him to stay on the pitch, Wisden India declared Babar’s 196-run knock against Aussies as the third-best match-saving innings in its list of ten best match-saving fourth-innings efforts of the 21st century. “Babar lived up to his reputation when his country needed him the most,” Wisden said, highlighting he made his first Test hundred since 2020 and then piled misery on the Australia bowlers to raise hopes of an unlikely Pakistan victory.
During the second Test, Pakistan had been bowled out for 148 in the first innings and were under immense pressure in the second innings after being set a target of 506. However, the skipper got in action and played “an all-time great knock.” Wisden India placed South Africa’s Dawayne Smith at 10th place, Australia’s Usman Khawaja at 7th place and India’s Rishabh Pant at 4th place. Babar created several 4th-inning batting records by scoring a fighting 196 on the final day of the Karachi Test against Australia. The Pakistani skipper played 425 deliveries and stayed on the wicket for 607 minutes, creating new records for Pakistan in Test cricket.
He became the first-ever Asian player to stay for more than 10 hours in the 4th innings of a Test match. He fell only 36 minutes short of former England cricketer team captain Mike Atherton’s world record of the longest individual innings in the 4th innings of a Test. His inning of 196 is the highest 4th innings individual score by any captain in the history of Test Cricket. Babar also joined the company of Mike Atherton (492), Herbert Sutcliffe (462) and Sunil Gavaskar (443) to become the only 4th bowler to play 400+ deliveries in 4th innings of a Test match. The historic knock of 196 was also the highest by any player in the 4th innings of a Test match against Australia, the previous best by any player in the 4th innings of Test against Australia was 192 by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.