Azhar Ali’s triple ton earns Pakistan massive advantage against West Indies

Azhar Ali’s triple ton earns Pakistan massive advantage against West Indies

Azhar Ali's unbeaten 302 from the opening slot put Pakistan at a comfortable 579/3 declared in the first innings against West Indies.

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Azhar Ali led Pakistan from the start in the first Test in Dubai. (Source: Reuters file photo)

Opening batsman Azhar Ali razed the West Indies bowling with a triple century in Pakistan’s mammoth first innings score of 579-3 declared on the second day of the day-night Test on Friday.

Azhar reached 302 off 469 balls after dinner with his 23rd boundary when captain Misbah-ul-Haq declared and ended a below-par 11-hour effort by the West Indies in the field.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah removed Leon Johsnon in his second over as West Indies went to stumps at 69-1 and still trail Pakistan by 510 runs.

Azhar admirably adjusted to the pink ball – used in a Test match for only the second time – and faltered once when he was dropped on 190 late in the first session.


Resuming at overnight 279-1, Azhar swelled Pakistan total by featuring in two century stands with debutant Babar Azam (69) and Asad Shafiq (67).

Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (2-125) dismissed both Azam and Shafiq, but was also guilty of bowling too many short deliveries on a flat wicket.

Captain Jason Holder missed an opportunity in the very first over of the day when he didn’t go for a lbw referral against Shafiq, as replays showed Shannon Gabriel’s inswinger would have hit the top of middle stump.

Shafiq went on to contribute 137 runs with Azhar for the second wicket, until Bishoo held onto a sharp catch off his own bowling to dismiss Shafiq.

Azam carried his brilliant run of form from the preceding one-day series in which he scored three successive centuries against the West Indies and was hardly unruffled by either the seamers or spinners.

Azhar raised his double century with successive boundaries off Gabriel in the first over after tea and then celebrated the feat in his 50th Test with nine press-ups before bowing down and kissing the turf.

Together with Azhar, Azam contributed further 165 runs with an impressive run-rate of 4.8 against a ragged West Indies bowling before Azam was caught in the covers.

But Azhar continued to dominate the West Indies bowling and showed brilliant fitness with his running between the wickets in sapping humid conditions.

Misbah (29 not out) then showed the intent of declaration with a quickfire half century-stand before Azhar carressed the part-time spinner Blackwood through the off side for a boundary and became only the fourth Pakistani batsman to score a triple century in Test matches.

Late Hanif Mohammad, current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan are the other Pakistanis who have scored triple centuries in Test matches.