Fawad Alam gave further evidence of his considerable patience with a grafting century that helped Pakistan take a useful first-inning lead over South Africa on the second day of the first Test in Karachi on Wednesday. The 35-year-old left-hander, who returned to the squad last August after a decade in the international wilderness, scored 109 in nearly six hours to anchor Pakistan’s 308-8 at the National Stadium, lifting the team from an uncertain overnight stay . from 33-4. Azhar Ali and Faheem Ashraf also weighed in by half centuries as Pakistan closed with an 88 lead after South Africa bowling for 220 on day one.
Only four wickets fell on the second day, which was in stark contrast to the opening day when 14 wickets tumbled onto the grassless field. It would have been different if South Africa hadn’t dropped four catches.
Fawad enjoyed his first test at home, adding 102 runs for the seventh wicket with Faheem cracking a relatively quick 64 of 84 balls.
Striking out at five and with Pakistan in serious trouble, Fawad led the recovery with an invaluable 94-point draw for the fifth wicket with Azhar playing three hours and 40 minutes to himself for 51.
Fawad had a life at 35 when Dean Elgar failed to cling to a sharp edge from Keshav Maharaj in the slip, but he and Azhar, surviving a tight leg before screaming and reviewing from left arm spinner George Linde, slapped all morning. to bring Pakistan to 104-4 at lunch time.
Fawad added another 55 for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Rizwan counterattacking before sending Lungi Ngidi to Faf du Plessis on the first slip.
Third Test Century
Shortly after tea, Fawad opened his shoulders to catch an episode of spinner Keshav Maharaj for a six-over-long-on, kicking off his third Test century in just his eighth Test.
“My dream was to score a hundred at home and what better time to do that than when the team was in a difficult situation,” said Fawad, who now has 38 hundreds in first class cricket.
“Azhar and I have decided we have to hit long and take the total as close to South Africa as possible and I am glad we did that close by.”
He was eventually caught in the middle of Ngidi’s wicket after hitting under six hours for six minutes and hitting nine bounds and two sixes.
Fawad’s barrel was another remarkable milestone in his return to international cricket.
After making a debut hundred in Sri Lanka in 2009, Fawad only played twice that year before being dropped – for 10 years and 259 days.
Despite scoring heavily in Pakistan’s domestic matches, he was constantly overlooked, mainly due to his peculiar stance – facing the bowler head-on before turning sideways when playing the ball.
He was recalled for Pakistan’s tour of England in August last year, but his first innings ended back with a four-ball duck at Southampton.
But he followed with another brave century in New Zealand’s first Test defeat at Mount Maunganui in December.
Ashraf’s amusing 64, which spanned nine borders, ended in an unorthodox fashion when he got stuck on an Anrich Nortje yorker to watch the ball spin back into his stumps.
The series of two matches marks South Africa’s first trip to Pakistan in 14 years, after a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 halted visits from foreign parties.
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