(Reuters) – Mohammad Hafeez marked his return to test cricket with a century as Pakistan reached 255-3 at stumps on the first day of the series-opening test match against Australia on Sunday.
Veteran all-rounder Hafeez, playing in his first test since 2016 and his 51st overall, frustrated Australia en route to his 10th century before being trapped in front of the wicket for 126 by pace bowler Peter Siddle in the final session.
His fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq was a lot more aggressive in his knock of 76, as the first-wicket pair added 205 runs after Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bat on a dry wicket at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Australia’s attack then tightened things up after the two openers were back in the dressing room. Haris Sohail was batting on 15 with night watchman Mohammad Abbas on one at the end of the day’s play.
Earlier, Australia captain Tim Paine brought on off-spinner Nathan Lyon after only eight overs and left-armer Jon Holland shortly afterwards.
Holland could have had Hafeez caught in the deep for 74 but Mitchell Marsh dropped a difficult chance in the 45th over. Barring that error, Hafeez looked in full control during his 208-ball knock which contained 15 hits to the fence.
Imam, meanwhile, used his feet well against the spinners and smashed seven boundaries and two sixes to notch up his second test fifty, before being caught behind by Paine off the tireless Lyon. The 30-year-old Lyon bowled 33 overs in the day.
Azhar Ali departed with a little over three overs remaining, caught at mid-off by Mitchell Starc for an 80-ball 18 while trying to hit Holland out of the ground.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Pritha Sarkar)