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January 6, 2007
Pakistanis 401 for 3 (Hafeez 108 retd, Farhat 106 retd, Hameed 79, Younis 74*) v Rest of South Africa
To give Hafeez and Farhat their due they have been more successful as opening batsmen than many Pakistan have tried in recent years. Against West Indies they each enjoyed a reasonable series - averaging 39 and 46 respectively - although rarely fired as a combination. Back at The Oval in September, which will always been remember for other events, Hafeez hit 95 and Farhat 91 after they'd been brought together following the failings of Taufeeq Umar and Salman Butt.
The conditions they faced on their first competitive day in South Africa will not have borne many direct comparisons to what awaits in the Test matches. The three seamers employed - Garnett Kruger, Yusuf Abdullah and Albie Morkel - are not necessarily South Africa's second best as the likes of Morne Morkel have been allowed to play provincial matches this week. However, with just one match before the first Test at Centurion Park the opportunity couldn't been wasted.
Hafeez and Farhat certainly cashed in, racing along at more than four-an-over once Inzamam-ul-Haq had won an important toss. After negotiating the opening bursts of the seamers the pair cut loose against the spin pairing of Paul Adams and Johan Botha, with Adams' first over costing 13. Hafeez's ton took 105 balls and Farhat's arrived from 138 deliveries before both retired to allow the middle order a chance.
Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan also tucked in, adding 108 for the third wicket, until Hameed became the first success for the fielding side as Adbullah struck. Faisal Iqbal joined Younis through to the close on an opening day which couldn't have gone any better for Pakistan. At some point tomorrow it'll be the turn of the bowlers to find their match form but they'll know that sterner tests await from Pollock, Ntini and Steyn in a few days time.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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