Australia v Pakistan Tests
Shafiq knocks Sobers out of record books
Asad Shafiq's fighting effort in Brisbane lands him a place in the record books
Adam Burnett at the Gabba
18 December 2016, 11:50 PM AEST
It's not every day you can say you knocked Sir Garfield Sobers out of the record books.
After a wonderful, back-to-the-wall hundred in Brisbane on day four of the first Commonwealth Bank Test, Pakistan's Asad Shafiq can take that particular honour and treasure it forever.
And after defying a desperate Australia in his very first Test in the country, it's no less than he deserves.
Quick single: Younis slammed for 'ridiculous' dismissal
While the match remains very much Australia's to lose – Pakistan still require 108 to win with two wickets in hand – this has been, by any measure, a special innings.
Shafiq, a 51-Test veteran who has now made centuries in Australia, England, South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as three on his home patch, is now the proud owner of the most Test hundreds batting at number six, with nine of his 10 coming from that position.
Sobers' legendary Test career ended in 1974, meaning the Pakistani has broken a 42-year-old record.
In some senses, it's a bittersweet title to own for an out-and-out batsman; Sobers held the mark previously having dominated at fourth drop for the West Indies as an allrounder, while others on the list such as Ricky Ponting and Shivnarine Chanderpaul each made seven in the position before pushing higher up the order.
Shafiq, 30, has aspirations of shifting higher up the order, having done so previously on 13 occasions, however his now peerless record at six is a hindrance to that desire.
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In the build-up to this Test, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur labelled the right-hander "a very, very good player – technically outstanding."
Arthur was right.
Australia bowling coach revealed after play on day four that the home side was confident they could get him out driving, with the slips coming into play.
The Pakistani did oblige twice, edging on 58 and 72, with Usman Khawaja putting down an extremely difficult chance and then Steve Smith spilling a much simpler offering.
But he made the most of his fortune and pressed on, accelerating his scoring as the Australians wilted in the late evening and eventually bringing up a truly stirring hundred with a three cut behind point.
Quick single: Day four in a nutshell
Upon reaching the milestone, he was vigorously embraced by Wahab Riaz, who, along with Mohammad Amir, had benefited from the cool head of a man well accustomed to batting with lower-order partners.
"He's always batted brilliantly with the tail," said Azhar Ali after play. "He'd obviously love to bat up the order but he performs for us at No.6. Scoring that many centuries at No.6 is not easy.
"It's a very special achievement and he's averaging 40-plus there (at number six) … he's a special player.
"We've always rated him as a very fine player because batting at number six is never easy.
"Obviously he's a brilliant player who can bat at any number, (but) he bats at number six better than any of us."
And if centuries is your measure, better than anyone in Test history.
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