Sunday, 21 October, 2018


Hafeez hits century on Test comeback as Pakistan (199/0) punish Australian bowlers

Tim Paine Paine marshalls an inexperienced group
Noah Ferguson | 08 October, 2018, 15:24

Pakistan got off to a strong start against Australia, reaching 89 for no loss at lunch on the first day of the series-opening Test match in Dubai on Sunday. The wicket did boost the visitors just before the Tea break but Pakistan will aim for the 500-run mark in the final session before giving Australia a few tricky overs to deal with before stumps.

Hafeez, a late inclusion in the squad after a double hundred in a domestic match, was unbeaten on 113 while fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq was 75 not out after Pakistan won the toss and made a decision to bat on a flat Dubai Stadium pitch.

Pakistan lost nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas in the fifth over of the day, bowled by fast bowler Peter Siddle for one in the fifth over of the day.

Hafeez's opening partner, the left-handed Imam-ul Haq (76, 188 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes), was also impressive in the fourth Test of his career, hitting two sixes off Holland.

Azhar Ali scored 18 before giving away his wicket to Holland, caught at mid-off by Starc.

But after Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle sent back the openers, Pakistan's scoring rate suffered.

Little may be expected of Paine's Australia in a series that will play out when home fans are sleeping, but the 33-year-old skipper is mindful that results, as well as culture, are key to restoring good will.

Australia named three debutants with batsmen Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne coming into the team for the visitors' first test since the ball-tampering incident. But the Pakistan openers handled the off-spinner well. The teams will play three Twenty20 internationals after the Test series. Pakistani opener and veteran Mohammad Hafeez is returning to the national team after almost two years.

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