Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 5th day January 4, 2014

Hafeez helps Pakistan earn draw


Sri Lanka 204 (Mathews 91, Junaid 5-58) and 480 for 5 dec (Mathews 157*) drew with Pakistan 383 (Younis 136, Misbah 135) and 158 for 2 (Hafeez 80*, Shehzad 55)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mohammad Hafeez made the most of his good batting form, and a benign pitch, to score a fluent half-century that helped Pakistan earn a comfortable draw in Abu Dhabi after being set a target of 302 from 67 overs. His 101-run stand with Ahmed Shehzad, in 31 overs, effectively closed the door on Sri Lanka after Suranga Lakmal had provided an early breakthrough. Hafeez was unbeaten on 80 when the teams decided to shake hands, right at the start of the mandatory overs.

Hafeez may have missed out in the first innings after making a confident start, but he was in no mood to cede advantage to the bowlers here. His first boundary was a neat straight drive through mid-off off Lakmal. His second was even better - as Rangana Herath tempted him with a flighted delivery, he responded by stepping out and caressing it through covers. No violence, just placement.

That was also an early statement from the batsman against Sri Lanka's best bowler. Herath, afterall, had been instrumental in sparking a Pakistan collapse while chasing 168 in Galle in 2009. The pitch in Abu Dhabi, though, neutralised the Herath threat, with the grass keeping the soil bound and ensuring it was still a good surface for batting on the fifth day.

As the initial seam movement disappeared, Hafeez comfortably leaned into his drives, kept the strike rotating and ended his 12-innings long wait for a Test half-century with a couple of boundaries off Sachithra Senanayake. A century was there for the taking and that generated some academic interest with the possibilities of a result fading, but it was not to be.

Hafeez's positivity had an effect on Shehzad, the debutant, too. Shehzad had been circumspect in the first few overs, then dropped the anchor while Hafeez made all the moves, before opening up against Angelo Mathews with an on-the-up drive through the covers. He registered his first half-century off the last ball of the second session, but was trapped lbw by Herath early in the last session. There were no surprises thereafter as Younis Khan and Hafeez saw off the last few overs with ease.

Herath bowled 21 of the 52 overs by Sri Lanka but returned with just one wicket, highlighting the plight of bowlers on a strange pitch that refused to respond. His ineffectiveness mirrored Saeed Ajmal's, who had gone wicketless in 49 second-innings overs, as only three wickets went down in the last two days.

With the batsmen appearing in no trouble whatsoever, Sri Lanka would have wondered about the timing of their declaration. The focus on the fifth morning was on what approach Sri Lanka would take. They were leading by 241 at the start of the day and with five wickets in hand, were expected to ramp up the rate to give their bowlers enough time to bowl Pakistan out. However, Angelo Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene didn't show any urgency for runs and quietly nibbled away at time, scoring at a rate of less than three - only 60 came in 20.3 overs.

Pakistan, who have only once chased down more than 300, weren't in a rush either. The third new ball was available after 12 overs in the morning session but Misbah-ul-Haq chose to hold it back denying the batsmen a chance to go after the harder ball.

Prasanna Jayawardene marked his return to Test cricket after a year-long gap with his fifth Test half-century. He pulled the first ball he faced from Bilawal Bhatti - a gentle bouncer - to the fine-leg boundary, also registering the century of the partnership. That was his only four of the morning as he scored just 15 runs in 62 balls until the declaration.

Mathews' first scoring shot was a pull as well, an unconvincing one off Junaid Khan, and he was lucky that the top-edge landed short of the deep square leg fielder. But he followed it up with two boundaries with the same shot off Bhatti, his lesser pace not quite posing the same challenge as Junaid's. Mathews scored another brace of fours through fine leg in Junaid's last over of his spell, but then laboured to his 150, only managing to find the boundary two more times. Mathews, despite his reluctance to set the pace, did ensure a remarkable turnaround for Sri Lanka after they had conceded a 179-run first-innings lead.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faisal on January 6, 2014, 14:32 GMT

    SL got a well-earned draw in the end. Pakistan would have reason to feel disappointed as they were in a position to force the issue after the first innings. However, wrong team selection was once again the issue. Can't understand why we keep playing Rahat Ali when there are much better options available. The guy can bowl a good pace at a steady line and length. But is that enough to get wickets against quality batting sides in test matches? No way. Remember Mohammed Sami? You've got to learn a few tricks in swing and seam to get wickets in test matches. With all his experience, Umar Gul would have been a far better option in the absence of Irfan. And when are going to give Talha a chance: when he turns over 30?? To Indians: please worry about your own team. Even our second string bowlers are better than the likes of Ishant Sharma.

  • Android on January 5, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Pakistan should play fast bowler Talha.... i'm looking forward for next test match, and wish that Pakistan won that match, but Good Luck to both sides, SL fights very well, but i think we should win next match to take lead,

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    someones say that 302 run chase in 67 over is can be played like ODI ... but all of them should know the TEST bowl is so different than ODI bowl.. because test bowl can swing than odi ..because bowl is large than odi.. if they try to bat like odi..they shouod had to lose the match

  • Android on January 5, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    @codandchips: it is being shown on zee cricket(zee cinema) in UK

  • Dummy on January 5, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Junaid alone can not do magic from one end of wicket, you have one more quality pacer bowling from the other end to demolish the batting side. Weak bowling lineup lead to a draw.

  • Hey on January 5, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    People are so quick to judge, on bad performance, more like one good batting performance made Paks bowling look weak. This caused a whole bunch of Indians calling our attack overrated, the same users who called Steyn overrated after his first match show vs India, what exactly happened then? I agree with tommytuckersaffa, our pitches are too flat, too dull with no support to the bowlers. It would be nice to prepare green wickets(never gonna tho) or at least the wickets vs ENG in 2012. If we keep carry walking wickets like Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Khuram Manzoor or even Hafeez, we will not have the batting to help our bowling. Hafeez played one day mode which is why he got 80* but he's not test standards. Bring in Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail or Sohaib Maqsood, all batsmen who aren't subcontinent bullys or else our batting will continue to rely on younis and misbah + continue to be dismal.

  • Paulo on January 5, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    Ashame it's not being shown in UK. Would be an interesting series in my opinion, although this 1st match doesn't sound to exciting. Both teams are dangerous in the sub continent, but need to improve away from there in my opinion.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    best of luck for next test PAK

  • Mesith on January 5, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    To all Pak bros " SLslider is an indian. Just ignore him

  • Keeping on January 5, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    @SLslider. very well said mate.. u forgot SL lost ODI series with a margin, they lost it from India also, go n get som info frm SL past.. SL lost even at hom..

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