Taufiq Umar hit his sixth Test century and fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez scored 75 as Pakistan took a firm grip on the first Test against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi stadium here on Wednesday.
The left-hander made an undefeated 109 and added 118 for the opening wicket with Hafeez and another unbroken 141 for the third wicket with Azhar Ali (60 not out) as Pakistan reached 259-1 by stumps, a lead of 62 with eight wickets intact.
If it was Pakistani bowlers’ day, with Junaid Khan taking five wickets, on Tuesday it was batsmen’s turn on Wednesday who further blunted an ordinary looking Sri Lankan bowling attack. Umar, Hafeez and Azhar batted without any trouble on an unresponsive pitch to frustrate the Sri Lankans who remained in a search for an elusive wicket in the first and third session.
Azhar, who completed his tenth fifty in his 14th Test, ably supporting Umar. It was Umar who edged Herath towards third man for a couple to take Pakistan past Sri Lanka’s first-innings total of 197. The ease with which Pakistani batsmen were coping, Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan immediately took the second new ball in the 81st over as their only chance to stage a fight back.
But even that did not bring any luck for the Islanders as Umar hit three boundaries, two off Suranga Lukmal and then glaneced the same bowler for a single to bring up his hundred off 259 balls. Sri Lanka spurned a chance to get Azhar out, when experienced Mahela Jayawardene dropped a catch in the slips off Herath when the right-hander was only seven.
Earlier it was Hafeez who anchored Pakistan’s innings after they resumed at 27-0. Hafeez hit eight boundaries and a six during his confident knock.