Pakistan close to historic win against Australia
LEEDS: Pakistan were left tantalisingly close to ending their winless streak against Australia at stumps on the third day of the second and final Test at Headingley here on Friday.
Pakistan ended the third day on 140 for three - just 40 short of a victory target of 180 that would end a record run of 13 straight Test defeats by Australia stretching back to 1995.
But despite Headingley being bathed in bright sunshine, the umpires took the players off at the scheduled finish because neither side was close enough to victory, in the officials' opinion, to force a result in an extra half-hour.
Pakistan left-handed opener Imran Farhat, dropped on four, made 67.
But left-arm quick Doug Bollinger gave Pakistan a nasty jolt by taking two wickets for no runs in seven balls to remove both Farhat and fellow left-hander Umar Amin.
It was a reminder to Pakistan, bowled out for 139, chasing a victory target of 176 in Sydney in January, of what can happen against against Australia.
However, Azhar Ali - in only his second Test - was 47 not out at stumps, having helped Farhat put on 110 for the second wicket as Pakistan's top order at last produced a signinficant partnership when it was most needed.
The 28-year-old Farhat faced 95 balls with nine boundaries before he was yorked by Bollinger who then had Umar Amin caught behind for nought.
But Pakistan might have been in dire trouble had not first slip Shane Watson dropped Farhat off Bollinger despite getting both hands to the ball.
Pakistan were then 18 without loss
But Australia did remove in-form batsman Salman Butt, in his first match as Pakistan captain, when the left-handed opener, on 13, edged Ben Hilfenhaus to Michael Clarke at second slip.
Pakistan had moved on to 59 for one when Watson, who had taken a Test-best six for 33 in the first innings, was introduced into the attack.
But the medium-pacer, whose previous best of five for 40 came during Australia's 150-run first Test win at Lord's last week, couldn't break through.
Leg-spinner Steven Smith, who had earlier made his maiden Test fifty, was late cut for four by Ali as Pakistan got the target down to under a hundred.
Farhat then glanced stray Watson deliveries for two fours in as many balls before his two off the all-rounder took Pakistan to the morale-boosting total of 100.
That Australia set Pakistan as many as they did was thanks mainly to Smith's dashing 77 in only his second Test.
Smith was last man out in an Australia total of 349 -- a vast improvement on their humbling first innings 88 -- having come in when their lead was only 47.
But he played some fine shots in a 100 ball innings featuring two sixes and nine fours that ended when he was bowled slogging at Umar Gul.
He shared stands of 37 with both Mitchell Johnson and Hilfenhaus for the eighth and ninth wickets respectively
Smith launched leg-spinner Kaneria for two sixes in as many balls, the second a huge hit onto the roof of the Football Stand End.
In the morning, Pakistan teenage left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer took three wickets for just 12 runs in 16 balls, on his way to final figures of four for 86 in 27 overs and a Test-best match return of seven for 106.
Clarke, 76 not out at the break, added just one to his interval score when, to Mohammad Asif's first ball after lunch he was caught behind off a superb full length delivery that seamed away enough to take the outside edge.
Australia resumed on their overnight score of 136 for two, 34 behind Pakistan's first innings 258.
Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, was 61 not out but had added only five more when he was caught behind off a loose drive against Aamer.