Pakistan vs Australia – Butt leads Pakistan’s record bid
Salman Butt scored his second half-century of the match to lead a positive Pakistan response to being set a world record target of 440 by Australia.
Pakistan reached the close of day three on 114 for the loss of Imran Farhat, with Butt unbeaten on 58 and teenage debutant Azhar Ali 28 not out.
Ali is the 4/6 favourite to be next man out, while Butt is 11/10 to be given the finger before his compatriot.
The previous best fourth-innings run-chase was achieved by the West Indies, who scored 418 for seven to beat Australia at St Johns in 2003.
The overcast conditions that made batting so treacherous for most of the first three days lifted after tea and Pakistan made the most of a good wicket.
Friday’s forecast promises more of the same and Pakistan requiring another 326 to win – but Australia still remain in the box seat.
Only four times in the history of Test cricket has a team batting last scored over 400 to win.
Pakistan are 5/6 to get over 340.5 second innings runs.
Australia set Pakistan the imposing target after Simon Katich’s 83 and a maiden Test half-century from Ben Hilfenhaus helped them post a second inning total of 334.
Umar Gul claimed his 100th Test wicket when he bowled Johnson with a full toss before Katich and Marcus North were caught behind in the space of three deliveries.
Pakistan’s batters were up against it from the off but responded confidently with Butt, who scored 63 in the first innings, and Farhat building a 50 partnership before Steve Smith claimed his first Test wicket with a long hop.
Farhat got too cramped up and gave an easy catch to Shane Watson at mid-wicket but Ali came in and built a determined partnership with Butt, which had reached 64 by the close.
Although the odds remain in Australia’s favour – Pakistan were bowled out for 148 in the first innings – there is still work to be done. Odds of 5/6 are being offered on a Pakistan wicket to fall before they’ve reached 145.5 runs.