KARACHI – Pakistan have set a record in its Test history after four of its top-order batsmen struck back-to-back centuries in the second and final test against Sri Lanka in Karachi before declaring their second innings at 555 runs for the loss of three wickets.
On Sunday, Skipper Azhar Ali struck his 16th Test hundred, but fell at 118 runs from 157 balls with 13 impressive boundaries until Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella made a successful stump-out off spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.
Azam reached 100 not out on the stroke of lunch for his fourth three-figure Test score as Pakistan stood at a mammoth 555-3 at the interval.
Meanwhile, Babar Azam also scored a century for his fourth three-figure Test score. Azam struck 7 fours and a six to achieve 100 runs from 131 balls.
Azam took a sharp single in the last over before lunch to complete his hundred in 164 minutes, his third in the last four Tests. He has so far hit seven boundaries and a six.
It was only the second time in a Test innings that the top four in the order had all scored centuries after openers Abid Ali (174) and Shan Masood (135) on Saturday. India against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2007 was the only previous occasion.
Yesterday, Pakistan openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood smashed hundreds and forged a 278-run stand to flatten Sri Lanka.
Bundled out for a paltry 191 in the first innings, Pakistan finished day three on 395-2, with a commanding lead of 315 runs, after a vastly improved batting display at Karachi’s National Stadium.
Abid, followed his century on debut in the drawn Rawalpindi test with a career-best 174, which included 21 boundaries and a six.
Shan’s 135 was also his highest test score, studded with three sixes and seven boundaries.
On a pitch offering little to the bowlers, Abid and Shan batted fluently to deny the Sri Lankans in the morning session when they scored at a four-and-half per over rate.
Abid took two off left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya to bring up his century and it did not take long before Shan completed his hundred.
The last time both Pakistan openers smashed centuries in the same innings was in 2001 when Saeed Anwar and Taufeeq Umar got hundreds in a Multan test against Bangladesh.
Lahiru Kumara finally separated the duo when Shan attempted a pull shot and the top-edge found Oshada Fernando at deep square leg.
It was the end of Pakistan’s highest second-innings stand for any wicket.
Abid was looking good for a double century but he perished lbw trying to flick Kumara.
The two-match series, part of the World Test Championship, marks Pakistan’s first tests on home soil since the 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore.