Pakistan’s skipper Misbah-ul-Haq smashed a record-equalling 56-ball century as he twisted the knife into Australia’s bleeding torso on day four of the second Test on Sunday.
Pakistan declared at 3-293 in their second innings, setting Australia a target of 603 to win.
Australia were 2-36 in their second innings at tea.
In the unrelenting Abu Dhabi heat, Pakistan’s spinners are going in for the kill.
Left-arm spinner Zulfiquar Babar has dismissed Chris Rogers (two) and Glenn Maxwell (four).
David Warner was 24 not out and Michael Clarke was two not out.
And two of Australia’s remaining batsmen, Brad Haddin (shoulder) and Mitchell Johnson (hip), are battling injuries.
Leading the two-Test series one-nil, Pakistan will be more than happy with a draw which would enable Misbah to claim Pakistan’s first Test series win over Australia since 1994.
The 40-year-old Misbah also hit the fastest half-century in Test history, off 21 balls.
Misbah proceeded to reach his hundred off 56 balls, equalling the mark of the great West Indies “Master Blaster” Viv Richards set in 1986.
Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, who hit a 57-ball hundred against England in 2006, tweeted his best wishes to Misbah.
“Congrats to Misbah on joining the original Master Blaster, Sir Viv with 56 ball Test Century,” Gilchrist said on Twitter.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan praised Misbah’s “incredible” achievement.
“And against the Aussies…..Marvellous,” Vaughan said.
Misbah struck 11 fours and five sixes in his 57-ball knock of 101 not out, his seventh hundred in 50 Tests and second in this match.
Azhar Ali was unbeaten on 100 off 174 deliveries. Azhar and Younis Khan (46), who finished the series with a record tally of 468 runs, added 131 for the third wicket.
No side has successfully chased a target of over 418 to win a Test match.
Australia will be hoping they can somehow survive another four sessions of play and hold on for a draw on a pitch that is playing low and slow and offering some turn.
FASTEST TEST CENTURIES
* Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq 56 balls v Australia, Abu Dhabi, 2014
* West Indies’ Viv Richards 56 balls v England, St John’s, 1986
* Australia’s Adam Gilchrist 57 balls v England, Perth 2006
MOST RUNS IN A TWO-TEST SERIES AGAINST AUSTRALIA
* 468 by Pakistan’s Younis Khan (average of 156) in UAE in 2014
* 403 by India’s Sachin Tendulkar (av 134.33) in India in 2010.