Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Dubai, 4th day October 25, 2014

Younis, Shehzad leave Australia needing miracle

Australia 303 and 59 for 4 need 379 more to beat Pakistan 454 and 286 for 2 dec (Ahmed Shehzad 131, Younis Khan 103*)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

An Australian television promo for this series has cribbed from the film poster for Lawrence of Arabia. After four days of the Dubai Test match a suddenly mighty Pakistan have pushed Australia into a position where the avoidance of defeat seems even less likely than the taking of Aqaba.

David Warner, Alex Doolan and the captain Michael Clarke all demonstrated different symptoms of Australia's deeply entrenched malady against spin. The loss of Nathan Lyon completed a rush of four wickets for five runs, and left Chris Rogers clinging on at stumps in the company of Steve Smith. Ninety overs tomorrow seem far too many for a team so utterly and unexpectedly humiliated.

So far, the loss of Saeed Ajmal has barely seemed to matter to Pakistan, so skilful have his proxies proven to be. Zulfiqur Babar and Yasir Shah ran rings around the Australian top order in the final session, much as Younis Khan and Ahmed Shehzad had done against their pacemen and spinners while establishing a gaping, 437-run advantage.

Younis became Pakistan's most prolific Test century-maker and also the first batsman in more than 40 years to post twin centuries against Australia - not since Glenn Turner did the trick in 1974 had a batsman saluted a century in each innings in the face of 11 baggy greens. The rarity of the feat was in line with the scarcely believable indignities being piled upon the same team that won the Ashes at home last summer before besting South Africa away.

Shehzad had also soared to three figures before Younis completed his second of the match, at which point Misbah-ul-Haq declared. Steve O'Keefe claimed the only Pakistani wickets of the day, isolated moments of joy for Clarke's tiring team.

Australia's bowlers struggled once more to pose significant dangers with either pace or spin. The lack of wickets or even appeals from the Australians has contrasted notably with their time at the batting crease in both innings, when Pakistan's use of reverse swing and spin brought regular questions before the umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard Kettleborough.

Mitchell Johnson occasionally beat the bat or struck the body, but neither batsman allowed these moments to affect them. Shehzad and Younis accelerated steadily after lunch, choosing the right moments to attack while also frustrating Australia's bowlers with patient defence in between.

It said much for the comfort of the batsmen that Clarke chanced an lbw referral for a Peter Siddle delivery that struck Younis well outside off stump and may have also hit the bat first. From there Shehzad sprinted towards his century, clattering four sixes along the way.

But the shot of the day belonged to Younis, a low, skimming drive to the cover boundary from the bowling of Johnson. If Australia's spearhead was unable to break through, the No. 1 spinner was barely used - Clarke ignored Lyon for much of the session in favour of O'Keefe. It had become a matter of damage limitation.

After tea Shehzad perished attempting a reverse sweep at O'Keefe, but Younis was more successful in using the stroke against Lyon, on the way to a hundred that brought every spectator to their feet. Warner and Rogers began brightly against a token two overs of pace, but the introduction of Mohammad Hafeez and then Zulfiqur drew numerous false strokes.

Even so, Rogers' reprieve from an incorrect caught behind decision seemed likely to get Australia through to stumps unscathed. Little more than half an hour's play remained when Warner danced fatally past a Zulfiqur delivery that carried on with the arm, and his exit opened up the wound.

Doolan was transfixed on the crease and lbw for a duck, Clarke unable to get his bat out in front of pad against Yasir's canny use of line and pace, and Lyon completing a dismal match by falling in similar fashion. There was the scantiest consolation in the fact that Smith twice eluded freak run outs after advancing down the pitch. Tomorrow he and Rogers must cross the sun's anvil.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig