Opener Mohammad Hafeez hits an impressive century as Pakistan dominated the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Dubai on Sunday.
Pakistan were 255-3 at the close of play, with Haris Sohail unbeaten on 15 runs and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas one not out.
Hafeez, a late inclusion in the Pakistan Test squad after a double hundred in a domestic match, led the run-feast with a knock of 126 runs his 10th Test hundred — during a 278-minute stay at the crease and put on 205 runs for the opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq, who made a career best 76 runs.
Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and decided to bat. Openers Hafeez and Imam ul Haq laid the platform for a big first innings as Australia´s pace-cum-spin attack was held wicketless before tea.
Hafeez, whose last of 50 Test appearances came in England two years ago, brought up his hundred by pushing spinner Jon Holland for two after hitting a pair of boundaries off Mitchell Starc the previous over.
He was given a life on 74 when Mitchell Marsh could not hold on to a tough chance on the boundary off the bowling of Holland having covered some 20 yards in the outfield.
Hafeez, whose innings included 15 boundaries, was finally trapped leg before wicket by Peter Siddle by a ball which beat him on the front push.
Mohammad Hafeez was thrilled to be able to aid the team on his comeback
“I am really happy to score this hundred and helping the team,” said Hafeez. “We back ourselves to score 250 more runs and then put pressure on Australia.”
Hafeez admitted the last few months were very tough on him, having missed out on selection for the Asia Cup held in the UAE last month and then initially in the Test team.
“There were too many problems and I came to a stage where I was ready to take a drastic step of retirement but my wife and Shoaib Akhtar stopped me. I would have been doing something else had I not been stopped.”
It was only after tea that Australia were able to take wickets, with off-spinner Nathan Lyon getting Imam caught behind in the 63rd over of the day.
Azhar Ali scored 18 runs before giving away his wicket to Holland, caught at mid-off by Starc.
Lyon, Holland and Siddle finished a challenging opening day with a wicket apiece.
Australia handed Test caps to Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne while Pakistan included off-spinner Bilal Asif for his first Test at the age of 33.
The second Test starts in Abu Dhabi on October 16.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz
Australia: Tim Paine (captain), Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG) and Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
TV umpire: Sundaram Ravi (IND)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)