Millennium Post

Ton-up Malik leads Pak charge in first Test

Shoaib Malik hit a fighting hundred to cap an impressive return to Test cricket after five years as he led Pakistan’s charge in the first Test against England here on Tuesday.

Malik was unbeaten on 124 for his third Test hundred -- his first against England -- to guide Pakistan to 286-4 at close on the opening day at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Malik added an invaluable 168 for the second wicket with opener Mohammad Hafeez who missed his century by two runs after Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat on a flat pitch which is expected to take turn on the last two days.

Malik, who has been averaging 100 in one-day cricket this year -- <g data-gr-id="28">form</g> which earned him a recall in the longer format -- has so far hit 14 boundaries in his 230-ball patient knock.

Apart from Malik and Hafeez, the day was also memorable for senior batsman Younis Khan (38) who became Pakistan’s leading run scorer in Test cricket when he overhauled Javed Miandad’s tally of 8832 runs made in 124 Tests.

Younis, playing his 102nd Test, jumped out of his crease to hit spinner Moeen Ali for a big six at deep mid-wicket to reach 21, two more than his illustrious countryman Javed Miandad.

England’s pace-cum-spin attack struggled for wickets under hot conditions, bowling some loose deliveries coupled with two dropped catches by Ian Bell both off James Anderson.

It was Anderson who gave England an early breakthrough when he dismissed Shan Masood (two) in a <g data-gr-id="24">bizzare</g> manner, with the left-handed opener taking his eyes off a bouncer. The ball hit the grill of his helmet before crashing onto the stumps.

Hafeez and Malik steadied the innings and batted with resolve.

Hafeez hit 13 boundaries during his 170-ball knock before he tried to play on the leg-side in an attempt to reach his ninth Test hundred. He challenged Australian umpire Paul Rieffel’s decision but to no avail. 
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