Pakistan’s top order, led by Mohammed Hafeez (172 batting), clicked for the first time on its tour of Sri Lanka here on Saturday.
It hit the bowling attack out of shape to score over 300 runs on day one of the second Test. At close of play, Pakistan had made 334 for the loss of just one wicket.
After wining the toss, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene — inexplicably — inserted Pakistan. Mahela said that he reckoned that there would be something in the Sinhalese Sports Ground pitch for his fast bowlers.
There was no better ally for Pakistan’s top order batsmen than the SSC pitch, the only one in Sri Lanka which is a batting paradise, to get back their individual forms.
Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar (65), an opening pair which has stayed together for 17 Tests, put on their first 50 plus partnership of the tour. Hafeez was unsure early on while the stylish left-hander Umar took the battle right into the Sri Lankan camp.
With the pressure to score off him, Hafeez rotated the strike and began building his innings. Soon enough, he got his first 50 since March.
Hafeez took on the responsibility to score at a steady pace after Umar departed. Now, it was Azhar Ali’s turn to bat himself in. The two have put up the first 250 plus partnership on this tour and look set for more.
Sri Lanka retained the side that won the first Test at Galle. Pakistan’s Umar Gul had to be replaced due to injury. Aizaz Cheema gets a look in.
Since Misbah-ul-Haq is back, Mohammed Ayub sits out the Test.
Keywords: Pakistan's tour of Sri Lanka