Pakistan emphatically confirmed their first series success over Australia in 20 years with a 356-run win in the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
The margin was Pakistan’s largest-ever triumph in terms of runs against Australia and followed a similarly wide-margin success in the opening match in Dubai.
Australia had looked like they might save the game after only Mitchell Marsh departed before lunch on the final day, only to lose their final five wickets for eight runs in seven overs straight after the break to be bowled out for 246.
Yet again it was the Pakistan spinners who did the damage and, just like in Dubai, Zulfiqar Babar completed the job, and a five-wicket haul, when Nathan Lyon was caught close in by Azhar Ali.
Pakistan’s celebrations were further sweetened as the 2-0 series win catapulted them up to third place in the International Cricket Council Test rankings, dropping England to fourth.
Pakistan began the day knowing their long-awaited series win over Australia would be confirmed, following a fallow period that had at one stage seen them lose 13 consecutive Tests to the Antipodeans.
After a series of torment, highlighted by Misbah-ul-Haq’s record-equalling fastest century yesterday, Pakistan began the day needing six more wickets to complete a sweep of the short series and ensure Australia did not go home with any consolation.
The tourists responded, however, with arguably their best session with the bat as Steven Smith progressed to 97 with only the exit of his overnight partner Marsh to a superb reflex catch from Asad Shafiq.
The young all-rounder flicked Mohammad Hafeez away down the leg side only for Shafiq to show his excellent reactions.
Smith and Brad Haddin steered Australia through to lunch at 238 for five before Pakistan swept to victory in a clatter of wickets.
Smith failed to add to his lunchtime score, misreading the second delivery of the session, as Yasir Shah slid one into his pad.
Zulfiqar bowled Haddin in the next over, after an inside edge rolled onto his stumps, and from the first ball of the next Shah beat Mitchell Johnson’s defences.
Shah, who took 3-44, then turned one past a Mitchell Starc swipe before Zulfiqar wrapped up his second five-wicket haul of the series and match figures of 7-214.
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