Pakistan Cricket Sri Lanka
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A brilliant innings of 174 by man of the moment Abid Ali powered Pakistan to a commanding 395-2 on the third day of the second and final test on Saturday, a lead of 315 runs over Sri Lanka.
Captain Azhar Ali (57) and Babar Azam (22) were unbeaten at the close of play, but it was Abid and Shan Masood (135) who stole the show earlier with a huge opening stand of 278.
Abid, 32, playing in only his second test, became the first Pakistan batsman to score centuries in each of his first two matches. He smacked 21 fours and a six in a 281-ball knock that was ended when Lahiru Kumara trapped him lbw.
“I was disappointed to get out after playing such a good innings,” Abid said. "I could have scored a double hundred. That was the plan but unfortunately I got a good ball.
“Overall, I am happy though. This is a reward for all the domestic cricket I have played and the hard work I have been putting in.”
The opening stand was the second highest in Pakistan's history, after the partnership of 298 shared by Aamir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed against West Indies in Karachi in 1997.
Masood, 30, stuck seven fours and three sixes in a 198-ball stay. He went when he top-edged a short delivery from Kumara to Vishwa Fernando at deep square leg. It was the second century of his test career and came in his 19th appearance.
“We are in a commanding position and want to take full advantage," Masood said. “We are looking to set a target which can put the opponents under pressure, around 450 to 500 runs.”
With the wicket drying out and offering little to the bowlers, Sri Lanka spent an arduous day of toil in the field.
“If you call it a batting paradise I think you are taking away from the skills of the batsmen,” Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Ratnayake said. “I have to say that we didn’t stick to our plans as we should have but I think they batted extremely well.”
The first test in Rawalpindi ended in a draw.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports