After equaling Sir Vivian Richards' record for the fastest Test hundred in terms of deliveries, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said that he had played to capitalise on the strong situation the side was in and score as many runs as possible in quick time while giving No. 3 batsman Azhar Ali a chance to score his second century of the Test.
Pakistan were leading by 461, and Azhar Ali was batting on 66, when Misbah arrived at the crease after Younis Khan's wicket. The Pakistan captain was dropped off the second ball he faced and made Australia suffer by scoring 22 runs off a Steven Smith over and reaching his fifty off 21 balls, bettering Jacques Kallis' record. He soon reached his hundred off 56 deliveries. Misbah and Azhar's centuries helped Pakistan set Australia a mammoth 603-run target in Abu Dhabi and the visitors need another 460 runs with six wickets in hand going into the final day.
"I think it's [the hundred] the biggest honour for me because I am nowhere near him [Richards]. But scoring a hundred in similar deliveries I think that's something I am going to remember for my whole life," Misbah said. "Somebody [from the dressing room] just ran to me when I was on 80 off 45 balls and said the record is 56 balls. In either case, I was just trying to hit every ball. So it didn't make any difference.
"We were in a situation in which we had to get as many runs as we could in minimum time. Another thought was to help Azhar Ali score his second hundred and I wanted to try and score as many runs for the team so that there could be more pressure on the opposition and it would put them out of the game. This was a good chance and I don't get these chances easily. So just go and swing hard."
Misbah also heaped praise on Azhar for bringing in solidity and stability to the Pakistan line-up. The No. 3 batsman, who became the ninth player to score twin centuries in a Test, had faced questions over his strike rate and his ability to convert starts into big scores before the series but he made crucial runs for the side. Misbah said that Azhar's stability and determination made it easier on the rest of the batsmen.
"I rate him highly as a batsman and I give him the credit for our performances because since he has started playing at No. 3, the kind of partnerships he gives makes it easier for us to go and play," Misbah said.
"He plays with determination and takes the burden - in case Pakistan lose the openers early - and gets the team out from the crisis with bat. And then he fields all the day in the close catching positions, which is tough. So he does the efforts for the team and we exactly need such players in the side."
Misbah admitted the innings was an important one for him personally, after his struggle for form in the recent past. He sat out of the third ODI against Australia last month due to lack of runs and on Sunday, acknowledged that the runs and the team's performances had come at an important time for the side in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup.
"This is an important innings for me, given the situation before and right before the World Cup," he said. "It's an important time for our team and, at this time, to get into this kind of form, to score runs and specially the rest of the batsmen, the kind of performances they are giving, as a unit the way we are performing, in my opinion, we needed this badly. And there is no greater incentive at this time for me or the team because if we gain confidence like this before the World Cup, it will really help us.
"It's a question of belief and determination. Our performances in the last two-three series were disappointing. But everyone tried to come out of it, as individuals, and as a team, and this is a result of the fact that the whole team, the batsmen, the bowlers is in good form and are giving good performances. The team was hurt by their losses and they wanted to get out of it and prove that we are a good team and a good bunch of individuals who can perform at this level."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson