'Legend' Abid, Masood give Pakistan edge over Sri Lanka

Shahid HASHMI
Pakistan's Abid Ali (R) celebrates with teammate Shan Masood (AFP Photo/Asif HASSAN)

Karachi (AFP) - Abid Ali and Shan Masood became only the third opening pair for Pakistan to hit centuries in the same innings as Pakistan turned the tables on Sri Lanka in the second and final Test in Karachi on Saturday.

Abid, nicknamed "legend" in Pakistan's dressing room, hit 174 for his second hundred in as many Tests -- becoming the first Pakistani and ninth batsmen overall to score two centuries in his first two Tests.

When the third day's play ended Pakistan were in a strong position with 395-2, having an overall lead of 315 after conceding an 80-run lead in the first innings.

Skipper Azhar Ali was unbeaten on 57 -- his first fifty in 14 innings -- and Babar Azam on 22 not out.

It was a day for the batsmen as Pakistan added 338 runs after resuming at 57-0 on a National Stadium pitch which dried up to help batting.

Masood blasted 135 for his second century in his 19th Test as the duo put on 278 for the opening wicket, just 20 short of equalling the highest opening stand for Pakistan of 298.

Amir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed had set that record against the West Indies at the same venue in 1997.

Masood batted for nearly five hours for his 135, which included three sixes and seven fours. Abid struck 21 boundaries and a six in his 398-minute stay at the crease.

- Abid's feat -

Abid, 32, completed his century with a sweep off spinner Lasith Embuldeniya for two to follow his 109 in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi -- his debut.

The Rawalpindi century made Abid the first batsman ever to score hundreds in both Test and one-day debuts.

He had scored 112 in his first ODI, against Australia in Dubai earlier this year.

Abid said team management calling him "legend" adds to his responsibility.

"The management calls me legend, thanks to them," said Abid. "But it adds to my responsibility to perform well. This time we were under pressure because of the lead we conceded, but I am happy that we are now in a good position."

It was pacer Lahiru Kumara (2-88) who broke the opening stand when he had Masood caught hooking just five minutes from tea before he trapped Abid with the second new ball.

Abid's successive hundreds have put him in an elite company.

India's Mohammad Azharuddin scored three hundreds in his first three Test after making his debut against England at home in December 1984.

William Ponsford, Doug Walters and Greg Blewett of Australia, Sourav Ganguly and Rohit Sharma of India, Alvin Kallicharran of the West Indies and Jimmy Neesham of New Zealand are the others who hit two consecutive centuries in their first two Tests.

Before lunch, Abid survived a confident leg-before shout off paceman Kumara on 61 but the tourists lost the referral with the replays showing the ball would have missed the stumps.

Masood, playing his 19th Test, completed 1,000 Test runs when he reached 46.

The current series -- part of the ongoing World Test championship -- is the first in Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 which suspended international cricket in the country.