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Proud Defeat

by AFP

Marty Melville—AFP

Former cricketers praise Pakistan’s fight against Australia in first Test of ongoing series.

Former Pakistani greats on Monday hailed the team’s remarkable fight-back in the first Test against Australia, saying Misbah-ul-Haq’s charges had made the country proud even in defeat.

Pakistan fell 39 short of a mammoth 490-run target on the fifth and final day of the Test, with Asad Shafiq scoring a magnificent 137 at Brisbane. Their total of 450 all out—the fourth highest in the final innings of a Test—followed an abysmal 142 all out in the first innings in reply to Australia’s 429.

Australia did not enforce the follow-on and declared their second innings at 202-5 on the third evening.

Former captain Imran Khan heaped praise on the middle-order batsman, who had been struggling with a lean patch until this innings. “Great fight-back by Pak in Brisbane led by gutsy Shafiq,” he tweeted. “There is no shame in losing when the team fights till the last ball. They have made us proud.”

Another former captain Javed Miandad also praised Shafiq, but said conditions had become easier as the day-night Test wore on. “The Brisbane pitch became easy on the last two days so it suited batsmen but one must praise Pakistan’s fight-back because they almost did what no team has achieved before,” he said.

The most successful chase in Test history remains the 418 that West Indies achieved against Australia at Antigua in 2003.

Fast-bowling great Wasim Akram added: “It’s very rare that Pakistan loses like this, they fought hard and fought till late and it left Australians sweating. The way Pakistan have fought will put them in good stead for the next two Tests and Australia will know that they have fight at hands.”

The second Test starts in Melbourne on Dec. 26 and the third in Sydney on Jan. 3.

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