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1st Test, Rawalpindi, March 04 - 08, 2022, Australia tour of Pakistan
476/4d & 252/0

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
157 & 111*

Imam, Shafique hit tons as Test ends in tame draw

Pakistan racked up an astounding 728 for 4 for the entire match as the Test ended 21 overs early

Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique shared their second century stand of the match, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Rawalpindi, 5th day, March 8, 2022

Imam, Shafique put together their second century stand of the match  •  AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan 476 for 4 dec (Azhar 185, Imam 157, Shafique 44, Cummins 1-62, Lyon 1-161) and 252 for 0 (Shafique 136*, Imam 111*) drew with Australia 459 (Khawaja 97, Labuschagne 90, Smith 78, Nauman 6-107)
Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq hit centuries on a tedious fifth day to again grind Australia's attack into the ground on a benign Rawalpindi pitch, as the first Test petered out to a stale draw.
Dominating a mostly dull final day, as the historic series-opener inched towards an inevitable stalemate, Pakistan finished at an almost effortless 252 for 0 with Shafique 136 not out and Imam unbeaten on 111. The Test ended 21 overs early after both teams agreed to mercifully put this match out of its misery.
Pakistan racked up an astounding 728 for 4 for the entire match, as Australia unsuccessfully resorted to using nine bowlers, including rarely tried Usman Khawaja with the last over of the match.
In-form Imam and Shafique were intent on gaining a psychological edge heading into the second Test starting on March 12 on a wicket labelled as "dead" by Steven Smith and is set to be further put under the microscope post-match.
Australia toiled for just four wickets - one was a run-out - across 239 overs with skipper Pat Cummins their only quick to have success in the match.
Having nervously sat through tea on 99 not out, after being unable to notch his milestone off part-time spinner Travis Head's last three balls before the break, Shafique scored off the first ball he faced on resumption to bring up his maiden Test century in his third match.
Imam survived on 94 when replays showed he inside-edged a Nathan Lyon delivery to short leg only for Australia to resist reviewing the not out decision - the second time in the match the batter had been reprieved by Cummins' reluctance to call for the DRS.
The left-hander shortly after became the 10th Pakistan batter to score centuries in each innings of a Test to cap a remarkable performance, where he started as a borderline selection having endured a modest 11-Test run previously after debuting four years ago.
Australia mostly went through the motions during numerous sleepy passages of play, as David Warner attempted to summon much-needed excitement with rather dubious dance moves between overs. It failed to spark his teammates, however, as Australia continued to be thwarted by Pakistan's batters much like when they spent 162 overs in the field during the opening two days.
Sticking with their preferred pace-heavy attack, Australia jarringly failed to create opportunities even when taking in consideration the graveyard of a pitch for bowlers. Their brains trust will undoubtedly ponder whether to bring in a second specialist spinner in Karachi - either uncapped legspinner Mitchell Swepson or left-arm orthodox Ashton Agar, who played the last of his four Tests in late 2017.
With question marks over their attack, quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - who returned in place of Ashes hero Scott Boland - may have been auditioning to retain their spot.
A patchy Starc conjured occasional reverse swing in the first innings, while Hazlewood had been typically miserly throughout the match but rarely threatened. They only bowled 12 overs combined in the second innings as Australia sought to provide a modest workload for their quicks given the congested three-Test series is played over just three weeks.
The heavy lifting was left to Lyon, who finished with 1 for 236 off 78 overs, having started the Test optimistically with rampant turn on the opening morning proving fool's gold as the pitch moulded into a road.
Even though their conservative batting in the first innings set in stone this slow-moving clash, an undermanned Pakistan were the moral victors with an almost flawless batting display while their attack outbowled Australia's star-studded bowlers.
Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali wrapped up Australia's innings early on day five with the wickets of Cummins and Lyon to finish with a career-best 6 for 107 marked by eking out Smith and Cameron Green with defensive bowling late on day four.
Indefatigable Shaheen Shah Afridi, who was the standout quick in the match, was rewarded with the wicket of Starc to finish with 2 for 88 from an energetic 30 overs.
Australia will be encouraged by their fight back with the bat to almost reach Pakistan's mammoth first innings of 476 for 4 although none of their batters scored a century. They also lost 6 for 52 after appearing favoured to take a first innings lead after such a strong start, where Australia's top four notched half-centuries in an overseas Test for the first time since 2008 in Delhi.
With the series deadlocked, Australia will at least feel considerably match hardened after no warm-up matches, as they dust off the cobwebs in their first overseas Test tour since the Ashes in 2019.
After so much anticipation for the series, the first between the teams in Pakistan since 1998, the pitch rendered the historic occasion to an anti-climax with everyone involved hoping conditions in Karachi will be much more conducive for a result.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth