Centurions Abid and Masood put Pakistan in command

By Sports Desk December 21, 2019

Abid Ali and Shan Masood struck centuries on day three to put Pakistan in charge of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium in Karachi.

Pakistan were on the back foot with a first-innings deficit of 80 but are in control on 395-2 with a lead of 315 in their second Test on home soil for a decade after Abid and Masood put on 278 for the first wicket.

Abid struck a debut century in the drawn match in Rawalpindi last week and made a sublime 174 on Saturday, becoming the first Pakistan batsman to score hundreds in his first two Tests.

Masood (135) crafted his second Test hundred, with Lahiru Kumara taking the only wickets of a gruelling day for Sri Lanka by removing both openers before Azhar Ali made an unbeaten 57.

The opening stand was just 20 short of the Pakistan record achieved by Aamer Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed against West Indies in 1997 and made Azhar's side firm favourites to secure a 1-0 series win.

Pakistan resumed with work to do on 57 without loss, but Abid and Masood gave them the upper hand in a wicketless opening session.

Abid slog-swept Lasith Embuldeniya for six and was seven short of three figures at lunch, while Masood was also untroubled as the Sri Lanka bowlers toiled without reward on a flat pitch.

The runs continued to flow in the afternoon session, Abid bringing up his hundred by working Embuldeniya for two and Masood also raised his bat after steering Dhananjaya de Silva for a single.

Masood came down the track to loft Embuldeniya for his third six, but he departed to a standing ovation after top-edging Kumara to Oshada Fernando at deep square leg.

Pakistan were 202 in front on 282-1 at tea and Abid continued to torment the tourists, hitting Fernando for three boundaries in an over after passing 150, with Azhar ticking along nicely at the other end.

Abid continued to find the gaps and looked to be heading for a double-century until he was struck in front by Kumara, bringing an end to a magnificent knock that included 21 fours and a six.

Skipper Azhar, out for a second-ball duck in the first innings, coasted to a half-century and Babar Azam was 17 not out at the end of a dream day's play for Pakistan.

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