Partnerships were key - Taufeeq
Taufeeq Umar was satisfied with his marathon effort in Abu Dhabi, where he ground Sri Lanka patiently through the second day to complete his sixth Test hundred. Taufeeq's effort, aided by half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali, put Pakistan in an impregnable position with three days to play.
"I am happy that I fulfilled team requirements, which were to stay at the pitch and put up a good total," Taufeeq said of his effort. "We had to spend time at the wicket and the key was the partnerships that you need in Tests. [Mohammad] Hafeez and me, first with a 100-plus partnership, and then another with Azhar [Ali]; We are in the driving seat right now through that. We will keep going like this tomorrow as well."
After starting the second day on eight, Taufeeq blunted the Sri Lanka attack to add a further 101 runs by the close of play. In all, he faced 296 balls and struck only eight fours, but left Pakistan ahead by 62 runs with nine wickets remaining. It was Taufeeq's sixth ton in 33 Tests, and the second since his return to the side in 2010 after a four-year hiatus.
"I am more focussed now with the help of coaches Waqar Younis and Mohsin Khan, and captain Misbah-ul Haq," Taufeeq said. "I have performed well and can hopefully carry on the good work. It is satisfying to be one of the best. I want to perform in every match and try to convert 50s to 100s, and I've been successful with that as well."
Barring a miraculous turnaround on the third day, Sri Lanka are facing a difficult task in the second innings. Their threadbare bowling unit could not generate too many chances, and when they did, the fielders let them down. Mahela Jayawardene dropped Azhar when he was on seven, and the batsman went on to reach 60 by stumps. The only other time Sri Lanka came close to getting a wicket was when Taufeeq edged Chanaka Welegedara behind, but umpire Tony Hill failed to spot the nick.
"We have to bat ourselves out of this disappointing situation," Marvan Atapattu, the Sri Lanka batting coach, said. "We missed a good chance in the first innings and had luck been with us we would have got more than one wicket [today]."