Hafeez ton puts Pakistan in charge

Mohammad Hafeez steered the charge as Pakistan finished the opening day on 334-1 in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

    Hafeez ton puts Pakistan in charge
    Sri Lanka paid the price for their gamble of of putting Pakistan in to bat first as Azhar Ali, above left, and Hafeez, right, held firm [Reuters]

    Mohammad Hafeez scored a career-best 172 not out and shared a record 256-run partnership as Pakistan mauled Sri Lanka for 334-1 on the opening day Saturday of the second cricket Test.

    Hafeez batted through the day, facing 281 balls and hit 18 boundaries and a six. He and Azhar Ali, who was unbeaten on 92, surpassed the best ever second-wicket partnership against Sri Lanka by India's Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

    Earlier they went past a 30-year-old record for the best second-wicket stand between the two teams held by Sri Lankans Sidath Wettimuny and Roy Dias.

    Hafeez got a reprieve at 101 when he was caught by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene off Anjelo Mathews, but on review the delivery turned out to be a no ball. At 171 he also survived a confident appeal for a catch behind off spin bowler Rangana Herath.

    First day scorecard

    Pakistan 1st innings

    Mohammad Hafeez not out 172
    Taufeeq Umar c P. Jayawardene b Mathews 65
    Azhar Ali not out 92
    Extras: (lb3, nb2) 5
    Total (for one wicket, 90 overs) 334
    Fall of wicket: 1-78 (Taufeeq).

    Bowling: Kulasekara 20-4-60-0, Mathews 12-1-45-1 (nb1), Pradeep 13-3-52-0
    (nb1), Randiv 20-0-83-0, Herath 24-3-82-0, Dilshan 1-0-9-0.

    Ali recorded his 14th Test half-century and was approaching his third Test century in his 23rd match at stumps. He had faced 187 balls and hit six boundaries.

    Confident start

    Opener Taufeeq Umar gave Pakistan a confident start in the opening session, scoring 65 off 74 balls including 12 to the boundary.

    He was out caught by Jayawardene off seamer Mathews, who returned figures of 1-35.

    Confident after winning the first Test by 209 runs at Galle, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat first at Sinhalese Sports Club, which is traditionally batting friendly.

    True to its reputation, the pitch did not offer much assistance to the bowlers.

    Sri Lanka fielded the same team that won the first Test but Pakistan were dealt a blow when their strike seamer Umar Gul was left out because of injury. He was replaced by Aizaz Cheema.

    Regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq also returned to the team after serving a suspension in the first Test.

    SOURCE: AP


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