Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day October 19, 2011

Patient Taufeeq puts Pakistan in charge


Pakistan 259 for 1 (Taufeeq 109*, Hafeez 75, Azhar 60*) lead Sri Lanka 197 by 62 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The painstaking efforts of Pakistan's top order put their side in control against a helpless Sri Lankan attack which was remorselessly taken apart on an unresponsive surface, first by the positivity of Mohammad Hafeez and then by the self-denial and accumulation of Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali.

After Hafeez had batted with purpose in a productive morning session, Taufeeq and Azhar stonewalled at under two runs an over till tea before displaying some urgency in the final session to leave Sri Lanka deflated in the Abu Dhabi heat. Taufeeq played second fiddle to Hafeez, blocked half-volleys after lunch along with Azhar Ali and displayed refreshing freedom after tea to reach his second century in three Tests. Azhar, mostly bordering on the over-cautious, continued to display the solidity that has marked his short career with another half-century in a partnership which grew to 141 by the end of the day.

Nothing worked for Sri Lanka after their batsmen had collapsed yesterday. Mahela Jayawardene - one of the safest slip fielders around - failed to hold on to the only real chance that Pakistan gave during the day. Azhar, on 7, edged Rangana Herath towards slip but Jayawardene could not grasp the ball as it died in front of him. Towards the end of play, umpire Tony Hill failed to spot a clear inside edge off Taufeeq's bat into the wicketkeeper's gloves when he was on 102.

The tone for Pakistan's dominance was set by Hafeez in the first over of the day bowled by Chanaka Welegedara which went for 10. Sri Lanka would have wanted more from their seamers in the morning, but an in-form Hafeez proved hard to crack on the flat pitch. The heat also restricted the length and effectiveness of the seamers' spells; only Herath consistently troubled the batsmen with clever use of flight and variations, something not reflected in his returns of 33-9-53-1 for the day. Herath beat Hafeez with flight and turn off his third delivery and would have sneaked a carrom ball through him but for a late inside edge.

Hafeez targeted the seamers and eventually broke free against Herath to loft him for a straight six before being trapped in front with an arm ball. Pakistan stalled inexplicably after Hafeez's departure, defending everything and refusing to take charge of a second session they should have dominated. They should have taken the lead before tea but with Azhar remaining stuck on 7 for 43 deliveries at one stage as they scraped 59 runs in 30 overs in the second session.

They seemed to have woken up at the stroke of tea, though, with Azhar taking Suranga Lakmal for consecutive fours. Taufeeq, on 65 off 200 deliveries, came out a changed batsman after tea. He took 35 off his next 59 balls to reach his century with two boundaries and a tuck off Lakmal in the 86th over. The landmark reached, he shut shop for the rest of the day, scoring only nine off his final 37 deliveries. Pakistan still collected 85 off 31 overs after tea, finally attempting to rub in their advantage. The second new ball came and went, almost unnoticed.

At no stage during their partnership were they pretty to watch, but Taufeeq and Azhar will rightly point to the scoreboard, and to Pakistan's position, to show that it was worth the grind.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • viran on October 20, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Another batting collapse by sl. Another bad day for sanga and mahela. Is it time for the two to retire and let young guys take over. At least then we will loose games but will have a team or the future. Now loosing and nothing for the future. Young talent dinesh chandimal being wasted by not being played. Angelo Mathews in the form o his life coming to bat with tail Enders . Great captaincy dilshan.

  • Panduka on October 20, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    As a SL supperter it's heartbreaking to see the depths our team has sunk to in such a short period of time. Well played to the Pakistanis who applied themselves and got themselves into a dominant situation. Sri Lanka should discard this new found negative theory and play the positive brand of cricket that is familiar to us. Dilshan opening is important in this aspect. Disappointed with the standard of umpiring though. Cant understand why the DRS is used in the ODI's but not in the Tests. It should be the other way round.

  • Naveed on October 20, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Excellent performance by the bowlers to set up the second day and good work by the batsmen as well who played sensibly. Taufeeq finally getting a century though extremely lucky. I do feel for the Lankans as they really have had a very bad time with the umpiring decisions. The match could have been much more balanced had DRS been used. ICC needs to decide which is more important the longer format or the shorter format of the game, the DRS is available for the ODIs but not the tests which is really a joke as a wrong decision in a test match can have a much more significant effect on the match situation than an ODI. Hope Pakistan press on from here and take the win, they really ought to from here. Pakistan Zindabad !

  • Anver on October 20, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    Pak is in a commanding position & surely will get a good lead then put pressure on SL.. lately SL's very negative & slow batting approach is hurting the team badly, when they play their natural game which is positive, then always build a good score. 1st inning total is very crucial in a test match, so SL be positive & show the world that matches can be won not only by bowling but by some strong batting too.... This is cricket & still any thing can happen in this test !!!!!

  • Moeed on October 20, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    this team in no means need afridi in any format just give him one tribute match than force him to retire permanently misbah is doing excellent job

  • Saranga on October 20, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Now we see the complete opposite of the last performance by Sri Lanka in an away game with Pakistan. Thilan Samaraweera scored back to back double centuries and he's not even in the side this time around, given he's the master of flat wickets. Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Hafeez once again put up an excellent stand and it's gonna be tough couple of days at office for the Sri Lankans in the middle. HAPW Jayawardene needs to be replaced by Chandimal to strengthen the middle lower order and Chandimal needs more experience in the middle. Apparently the pitch is dying down and Sri Lanka might gain control when they walk into batting for the second time. But this has been a repeating pattern recently that Sri Lankan team collapse on the first test of a series.

  • Saif on October 20, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    Pakistan has done well so far and it seems they are going according to a plan, but are way too slow and if they think second SLanka innings will be a cake walk they might get a jolt...the pitch has nothing in it ....and the SL will bounce back. Therefore time is of essence and if Pak progress at the same pace as today...they might kill the test. SL problem seems to be its captain...I have nothing against Dilshan and I consider him a great batsman...but I am not fond of his captaincy. The SL needs a better captain irrespective of they save, win or lose this test!

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2011, 1:52 GMT

    need to score little fast....force lanka to bat on 3RD DAY...

  • Mike on October 20, 2011, 0:13 GMT

    I still believe that Pakistan has a big chance to lose this match as they are not consistent performers. The best result they can achieve would be a draw

  • I on October 19, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    Excellent day's cricket from Pakistan. I would have liked a few more runs on the board, seeing as the batsmen are set and the pitch is still true, but still good work all the same. Pakistan should aim for 90-100 per session tomorrow, and then put SL in to bat in what hopefully should be a slightly deteriorating wicket for a big win.

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