Dubai, October 24, 2014 (PPI-OT): Wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed hit an aggressive hundred to guide Pakistan to a big 454 run total before Australia raced to 113/0 without loss at stumps on the second day of the first Test in Dubai on Thursday.
Sarfraz’s 80-ball century lifted Pakistan’s innings after they were put on a sound footing by Younis Khan’s 106, Misbah-ul Haq’s 69 and Asad Shafiq’s 89 helped them get past the 400-mark for the second time in the last three Tests.
However, Australia too were sound in reply as opener David Warner smashed a quickfire 75 and Chris Rogers (31) to take Australia to 113 without loss at close of play on the second day. They were trailing by 341 runs with all ten wickets standing.
Warner hit seven fours and a six in his eighth Test half-century, his sixth in succession, as Australia matched Pakistan’s batting. Pakistan could have removed Rogers on 13 in left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar’s first over but Younis Khan failed to hold a straightforward catch in the slips.
Warner reverse-swept debutant leg-spinner Yasir Shah for his fifth boundary to reach his run-a-ball 50. Earlier, Pakistan’s total had been lifted by Ahmed. Ahmed, who scored his first hundred in Sri Lanka two months ago, fell in the last over before tea, stumped off spinner Nathan Lyon for 109. He batted for 148 minutes and hit 14 boundaries in all.
He completed his hundred off just 80 balls, hitting paceman Mitchell Marsh over the slips for the fourth fastest century by a Pakistani. Majid Khan holds the record for the fastest Test hundred by a Pakistani in terms of deliveries faced, on 74 balls, while Shahid Afridi hit hundreds off 78 balls on two occasions.
Ahmed said he will be happy if his innings helps his team win. “I played my natural game,” said Ahmed. “If this century helps the team win, it would make me happier. We will come back tomorrow through our bowlers and if we manage a good lead, it would go a long way. Our spinners are not very experienced but they are still capable of getting them out,” said Sarfraz Ahmed.
Pakistan added 235 runs after resuming play from their overnight score of 219/4 with Ahmed, Misbah-ul Haq and Asad Shafiq all coming good on a flat pitch, which had little for the bowlers. Ahmed added an important 124 runs for the sixth wicket with Asad Shafiq (89) to build the innings after Shafiq added 93 with skipper Misbah, who made 69.
Misbah, under pressure to score after managing just 67 in the 2-0 Test defeat in Sri Lanka two months ago, hit two fours and two sixes during his 255-minute stay at the crease. Lyon was unlucky not to have dismissed Shafiq off the first ball of the day’s second over when Alex Doolan failed to catch a bat-pad push at forward short-leg.
Misbah, who was 34 overnight, reached his first half-century in nine innings with a push for a single and then launched an attack, hitting Lyon for a six over long-on. He also hit Smith for a six but played one shot too many, holing out much to the delight of the Australians.
Shafiq fell short of his hundred by 11 runs as he holed out to Steve O’Keefe, the left-armer’s first Test wicket, after hitting five fours and two sixes during his 151-ball stay. Johnson (3-39) led a hapless Australian attack with left-arm spinner O’Keefe struggling to take 2-107 while Lyon toiled hard for 1-148 in 36.4 overs.
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