Pakistan’s one-day skipper Azhar Ali joined a list of elite cricketers after he cracked a magnificent unbeaten 139 on the second day of the second test against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Tuesday.
Azhar, who is having an excellent time with the bat in 2016 scored his 12th hundred of the career to put Pakistan in a strong position against with scoreboard showing 310-6. The 3rd century against the Aussies has pushed his scoring average against them to over 70.
He previously scored back-to-back hundreds in the Abu Dhabi test in 2014 to help Pakistan blank Australia 2-0 in the series.
During the course of disciplined knock, Azhar became the fifth Pakistani player to score over 1000 test runs in a calendar year after Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Mohsin Khan. Interestingly, Younis is the only Pakistan batsmen to have achieved this fate twice.
The gritty 31-year-old is also within striking range of former captain Majid Khan´s 158, the highest score by a Pakistan at the same ground.
Pakistan started the day two of the Melbourne test at 142 for four with both Azhar Ali (139*) and Asad Shafiq (50) looking solid. The pair, however, had their share of chances when Shafiq survived a review appeal from Australia off Jackson Bird’s bowling, while Azhar also survived a run-out chance as well as a caught-behind appeal.
At the MCG, the day one was very frustrating for the man of all surfaces as he consumed 90 balls to hit the first boundary.
However, on day two he opened his shoulders against the ageing ball and sent a string of straight drives thundering past Australia´s hapless seamers
Rain gods halted the match for 15 minutes, but when proceedings resumed, Azhar completed yet another century and Pakistan crossed the 200-run mark.
Meanwhile, Shafiq also completed his 18th fifty in tests, but only a few deliveries later, had to walk back after being caught at first slip to give Bird his third wicket in the innings.
The duo only took 195 deliveries to complete their 100-run partnership.
Pakistan lost another wicket in Sarfraz Ahmed (10), but Mohammad Amir’s (28 not out) whirlwind innings helped green caps reach a competitive total (310/6) for six before rain stopped play once again, with no chance of resumption.