Babar, Rizwan offer Pakistan 2nd Test hope

Murray Wenzel
Pakistan batsman Babar Azam celebrates his Test century against Australia at the Gabba

An attractive Babar Azam century and a historic knock from Muhammad Rizwan have provided some joy for Pakistan as Australia going in for the kill at the Gabba.

Frustrated by his cheap first-innings dismissal, Babar knuckled down to notch his second Test hundred off 160 balls on Sunday before edging a Nathan Lyon delivery behind for 104.

And wicketkeeper Muhammad flayed a short ball to deep third man on 95 to miss a century in just his second Test.

It was still the highest score by a Pakistan wicketkeeper in Australia, while Babar's fluent innings showed he might finally transfer his short-format success into the Test arena.

The pair combined for a 132-run stand and enjoyed plucky legspinner Yasir Shah's (42) company, as Pakistan edged closer to making Australia bat again.

They fell five runs short, but it was a well-celebrated milestone and Babar rated it his best Test innings that gave them some momentum for the second and final Test from Friday in Adelaide.

"Yes, you can say that; scoring runs in Australia is very difficult," Babar said when asked if it was his best Test knock.

"They play very well and bowl really well in their home conditions. To perform against them, you get extra confidence, which I've got from scoring this hundred."

Babar averages more than 50 in Twenty20 and 50-over cricket. He entered this series with a Test average of only 35.28 from 21 matches.

He made 99 against the touring Australians last year in the UAE but went one better at the Gabba on Sunday when he drove Pat Cummins superbly through cover for his 13th boundary.

That knock was one of 11 half-centuries to go with his solitary ton before Sunday, Babar admitting he had worked hard to improve his conversion rate.

"Test cricket teaches you all this; when I was failing to convert, I sat and analysed why I am flopping," he said.

"I just changed my mindset and have given 200 per cent on my concentration."