COLOMBO – Mohammad Hafeez overcame his lean start to the tour of Sri Lanka by carving out his fifth test century as Pakistan reached 217 for one wicket at tea on the first day of the second test on Saturday.
Hafeez (105 not out), who had started off on a cautious note in the morning scoring only 20 runs, shifted gears in the afternoon to score 80 off 86 balls to reach his century with 12 fours.
The opener had managed only 105 runs with a top score of 37 in his nine previous innings for the tourists, who trail 1-0 in the three-match series.
Sri Lanka thought they had dismissed Hafeez on 101 in the over before the tea break when the batsman gloved a short delivery from seamer Angelo Mathews to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene while attempting a pull shot.
But umpire Ian Gould ruled it as a no-ball after consulting with the TV umpire to add to the woes of the hosts.
Hafeez also survived a scare on 65 when he lofted off-spinner Suraj Randiv to long off where Nuwan Kulasekera ran back, got both hands to the ball but failed to hold onto the catch.
Azhar Ali (45 not out) kept Hafeez company at the break, the duo having added 139 runs for the unbroken second wicket after batting through the entire second session.
Earlier, opener Taufeeq Umar (65) hit an aggressive half-century and took the attack to the bowlers after Pakistan were put in to bat on a pitch which offered some help for the seamers.
The left-hander raced away to his half-century off 62 balls with the aid of eight fours and looked good for a hundred before he was out caught behind.
Umar attempted to cut Mathews but clipped a fine edge to wicketkeeper Jayawardene, who was standing up to the stumps. Reuters