Captain Misbah-ul-Haq hit a third successive century and Younis Khan smashed his fourth hundred in five innings as Pakistan made record progress to declare at 566-3 against New Zealand on the second day of the first test on Monday.
Misbah, dropped twice early in his innings, was not out on 102 while Younis scored another superb 100 as both batsmen put on 193 runs for the fourth wicket.
Pakistan also set a record as its top five batsmen all scored more than 80 runs, the first time such a feat has been achieved in test cricket, on a day when opener Ahmed Shehzad cracked his skull.
New Zealand’s openers survived the last half hour to reach 15-0 at stumps with captain Brendon McCullum not out on nine and Tom Latham unbeaten on five.
Resuming overnight at 269-1, Pakistan lost Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali, but not before they had shared 169 runs for the second wicket. Shehzad scored a career-best 176 before he was out hit wicket after being struck on the right side of his head by Corey Anderson (2-68). Ali was bowled by Ish Sodhi for 87.
Team manager Moin Khan said scans showed Shehzad had a minor skull fracture and that “the specialist surgeon has advised 48 hours of close monitoring.’’ Moin added that if the pain did not subside, “the surgeon may opt for decompression.’’
Misbah, dropped on 17 and 20, went on completed his century off 162 balls with nine fours and a six. The Pakistan captain had scored centuries in each innings at the same venue during his team’s 356-run victory against Australia last week for a 2-0 series victory.
Younis also continued his fine form in a flawless century off 141 balls, with 10 fours, to add to his centuries in both innings of the first test against Australia at Dubai last month and a double century at the same Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Misbah and Younis accelerated the scoring rate once Ali departed in the second session and were unruffled by the bowling. The New Zealand attack toiled on a slow wicket and had little help from their fielders, Mark Craig and James Neesham both dropping the Pakistan captain off leg spinner Sodhi (1-162).
Ali, who also scored centuries in each innings against Australia in the last test here in Abu Dhabi, was the only player out in the second session which yielded Pakistan 124 runs. He played to the wrong line of Sodhi’s sharp turning delivery which pitched outside leg stump and knocked back the off stump. Ali hit four boundaries in his 215-ball knock.
Shehzad’s career-best eight-hour innings off 371 balls ended violently, just before lunch, after he had hit 17 fours and a six. He also became the youngest Pakistani opening batsman to score more than 150 runs at the age of 22 years and 352 days when he drove Southee through the covers for three before he was dismissed. His innings improved on his previous test-best of 147 made against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in January.
Brief scores: Pakistan 1st innings (Overnight: 269/1) 566/3 decl in 170.5 overs (M Hafeez 96, A Shehzad 176, A Ali 87, Younis Khan 100*, Misbah-ul-Haq 102*); New Zealand 1st innings 15/0 in 7 overs (B McCullum 9*, T Latham 5*).
Ajmal in provisional list
Karachi: Suspended off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been included in Pakistan’s provisional World Cup squad of 30 players but it is subject to him clearing the informal biomechanics test in the United Kingdom. Ajmal who is already in the UK is scheduled to undergo the informal test on Monday with former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq accompanying him.
Ajmal on Monday reiterated his confidence that his corrected bowling action would be cleared in the tests as he was now straightening his arm within the 15 degrees allowed by the ICC. “I have worked very hard on removing chinks in my action and once this stage is cleared I am sure I will resume playing international cricket again soon,” he said.
But the national selection committee headed by Moin Khan apparently is not so confident as while sending a provisional list to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for submission to the ICC, it has included Ajmal’s name subject to his clearing the informal test.
Ajmal’s bowling action was initially reported by the match officials during the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle in August. Later he failed a biomechanics test ordered by the ICC and was suspended from international cricket.