‘Legend’ Abid, Masood give Pakistan edge over Sri Lanka

The openers score centuries to hand Pakistan a sizeable lead after the end of the third day’s play.

Abid Ali (right) celebrates his century with Shan Masood. Abid became the first Pakistan batsman to score two centuries in his first two Tests.   -  AP

Abid Ali and Shan Masood became only the third opening pair for Pakistan to hit centuries in the same innings as Pakistan turned the tables on Sri Lanka in the second and final Test in Karachi on Saturday.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Abid, nicknamed “legend” in Pakistan’s dressing room, hit 174 for his second hundred in as many Tests — becoming the first Pakistani and ninth batsmen overall to score two centuries in his first two Tests. When the third day’s play ended, Pakistan was in a strong position at 395 for 2, having an overall lead of 315 after conceding an 80-run lead in the first innings.

Skipper Azhar Ali was unbeaten on 57 — his first fifty in 14 innings — and Babar Azam on 22 not out.

Making hay

It was a day of batsmen’s dominance as Pakistan added 338 runs after resuming at 57 for 0 on a National stadium pitch which dried up to help batting.

Masood blasted 135 for his second century in 19th Test as the duo put on 278 for the opening wicket, just 20 short of equalling the highest opening stand for Pakistan of 298. Amir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed had set that record against the West Indies at the same venue in 1997.

Masood batted for nearly five hours for his 135, which included three sixes and seven fours. Abid struck 21 boundaries and a six in his 398-minute knock.

Abid’s feat

Abid, 32, completed his century with a sweep off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya for two to follow his 109 in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi — his debut. The Rawalpindi century made Abid the first batsman ever to score hundreds in both Test and one-day debuts.

PAK vs SL | DAY TWO REPORT

He had scored 112 in his first ODI, against Australia in Dubai earlier this year.

It was pacer Lahiru Kumara (2 for 88) who broke the opening stand when he had Masood caught hooking just five minutes from tea before he trapped Abid with the second new ball.

In elite company

Abid’s successive hundred has put him in an elite company. India’s Mohammad Azharuddin scored three hundreds in his first three Tests after making his debut against England at home in December 1984. William Ponsford, Doug Walters and Greg Blewett of Australia, Sourav Ganguly and Rohit Sharma of India, Alvin Kallicharran of the West Indies and Jimmy Neesham of New Zealand are the others who hit two consecutive centuries in their first two Tests.

Before lunch, Abid survived a confident leg-before shout off paceman Kumara on 61 but Sri Lanka lost the referral with the replays showing the ball would have missed the stumps.

Masood, playing his 19th Test, completed 1,000 Test runs when he reached 46.

The current series — part of the ongoing World Test championship — is the first in Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 which suspended international cricket in the country.

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