Shehzad's maiden ton boosts Habib Bank
Khan Research Laboratories pinched a 36-run lead over Lahore Shalimar at the Lahore Country Club. Their decision to field first paid rich dividends, what with the new-pair combo of Jaffar Nazir and Junaid Khan slicing through the top and middle orders. Nazir, in his 12th season of first-class cricket, had the most success with 4 for 44 and Junaid took 3 for 50. Their own start with the bat didn't start well, but Saeed Anwar jnr's 65 smoothed over the loss of two early wickets. However, Lahore came back well to take four wickets for 38 runs before stumps. Mohammad Naved took 4 for 65.
Another day of medium-pace domination in Sargodha, where Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited bowled out Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited for 156. Mohammad Khalil, the fast bowler who represented Pakistan five times in 2004-05, wrecked the top and middle orders with his Azhar Attari, after which Junaid Nadir took 4 for 29. The innings was over in 59.4 overs. Samiullah Khan then cleaned up Inam-ul-Haq for 0, and the ZTBL top order played out the evening to take the score to 35 for 1.
To prove that not all of Karachi was succumbing to medium-pace, there were four half-centuries in National Bank of Pakistan's 339 for 6 against Karachi Whites at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium. Nasir Jamshed (62), Naumanullah (66), the captain Fawad Alam (87) and Qaiser Abbas (98) all contributed, but Karachi did well to deny each of them centuries. New-ball bowler Fahad Khan took 3 for 87.
Ahmed Shehzad's maiden first-class hundred helped Habib Bank Limited to 247 for 2 against Sui Southern Gas Corporation on day one at Karachi's Quaid-e-Azam Park. Shehzad's top-order performances for Pakistan Under-19 had already caught the eye, and he made it a memorable day with an unbeaten 122, scored from 245 balls and with ten boundaries. He featured in an opening stand of 80 with Rafatullah Mohmand (45) and an unbeaten 139 with Khaqan Arsal (59 not out).
Rameez Aziz, 18, hit his first century in his fourth match for Pakistan Customs, against Pakistan International Airlines at the NBP Sports Complex. He lost his fellow opener Imran Qadir for 0, but that didn't prove a deterrent. Aziz had an experience partner along the way in his captain Zahoor Elahi, the former Pakistan batsman, who scored a rapid 52 a stand of 89. Yasir Hussain contributed an unbeaten 21 as Customs took stumps on 236 for 5, with Aziz still batting on 113 from 248 deliveries.
Twenty wickets fell on a frenetic opening day at the Diamond Club Ground. Islamabad won the toss and chose to field and blew away Multan for 118, only to stumble to 159 themselves. For the hosts, the right-arm fast-medium pacer Shehzad Azam took 5 for 45 and was ably supported by new-ball collaborators Rauf Akbar and Saad Altaf. Multan's best was 31 from Kashif Naved and they lasted just 33.5 overs. In reply, Abdur Rauf, with his third five-wicket bag of the season, and Ansar Javed and Mohammad Irshad ran through Islamabad in 33 overs. Four players made it past 20, and their strike-rates suggested they didn't intend to stick along too long. In two deliveries before stumps, Multan's openers managed to stay together.
Sialkot took firm control over Quetta at the Jinnah Stadium, rolling them over for just 92 and then gaining a 61-run lead by the close. Nadeed Javed snapped up 5 for 18 to extend his season tally to 17 wickets, and new-ball bowler Naved Arif helped himself to 4 for 45. Sialkot had far less trouble batting on the same pitch just 36 overs into the day. The openers Kamran Younis (50 from 78 balls) and Naeemuddin (53) put on four more in their stand than Quetta's entire side managed, and after they fell Bilal Hussain and the captain Mohammad Ayub carried on to stumps.
Rizwan Akbar continued his good form with a four-wicket haul and, along with some tidy back-up from Mohammad Rameez, helped Rawalpindi dismiss Faisalabad for 252 at the Mirpur Stadium. Rawalpindi, who chose to field first, had struck early to leave Faisalabad 2 for 3, and then took two more to make it 86 for 4. Usman Arshad stemmed the rot with 47, but his wicket was followed by another double blow. Then Mohammad Salman, the wicketkeeper, stood firm with 65 from 107 balls and found some assistance from the lower order, but Faisalabad were bowled out in 74.5 overs.
The honours were shared between Karachi Blues and Peshawar at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex in Karachi. Peshawar batted first and made 261 for 5, without entirely dominating. The most aggressive innings came from the 18-year-old debutant opener Israrullah, who showed no signs of nervousness in hitting a 77-ball 88, with 13 fours and a six, in a stand of 112. His fellow opener Adil Amin, in his third match, was far more circumspect with 27 from 86 balls, and Sajjad Ahmed (62 not out) and Mahrooz Sabri (42) were similarly conservative.