Carrying on from their overnight score of 255-3, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men added 227 runs more on Monday as Australia’s bowlers were put through the wringer in the wilting heat of Dubai.
Haris Sohail was the standout batsman for Pakistan on day two with the left-hander registering his maiden Test ton before being dismissed. Here, we take a closer look at the 29-year-old’s first international hundred for his country.
RUNS SCORED: 110
BALLS FACED: 240
Sohail arrived at the crease late on day one after openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq had put a solid foundation for Pakistan with a 205-run stand. Carrying on the good work done by the openers, the left-hander saw Mohammad Abbas depart early on day two before forging a mammoth 150-run stand for the fifth wicket along with Asad Shafiq. The southpaw was circumspect in the early part of his innings and took 149 deliveries to get to his half-century. He stepped up a gear following that milestone and brought up a maiden Test hundred off 223 balls. He ultimately fell for 110 after feathering an edge to Tim Paine while attempting to cut a Nathan Lyon delivery.
Perseverance and concentration. Sohail was a picture of concentration at the crease throughout his stay and was determined not to throw his wicket away on a pitch which favoured batsmen a great deal. He took his time to get settled in the innings and survived a couple of shaky moments including a lbw review by Lyon which was deemed not out by the third umpire. However, once set, he thrived against the Aussie attack, especially the spinners Lyon and Jon Holland. He accelerated in the second half of his innings to take the attack to Australia.
Well played Haris Sohail! Played the spinners particularly well #PakVAus— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) October 8, 2018
While he was generally unflappable at the crease, there were a few lapses in concentration in his 240-ball stay. Early on day two, he edged a Peter Siddle delivery that luckily flew in the gap between slips and gully. Later, he advanced down the pitch to Lyon before deciding to not offer a shot. Sohail was struck on the pads with ball-tracking showing that the ball would crash onto his stumps. However, Australia’s review was turned down by the umpire as the ‘three-metre’ rule came to the aid of the Pakistan batsman.
VERDICT – 8/10
Sohail has always been a gifted batsman and big things were expected from him when made his limited-overs debut for Pakistan in 2013. However, a serious knee-injury and loss of form robbed him of a consistent run out in international cricket with his Test debut coming as late as 2017. A career which promised much was looking like fading into oblivion but just like Hafeez’s ton on Sunday, Sohail’s maiden Test hundred could not have come at a better time for the top-order batsman.
It is a maiden international ton which has taken a long time coming but it is one which should do Sohail’s confidence a world of good and help him stake a permanent claim to a berth in Pakistan’s Test setup. A conventional batsman with orthodox technique, Sohail’s game has always been more suited to red-ball cricket and him finding form could solve a lot of Pakistan’s batting puzzles in the Test arena.
His career has been plagued by injuries and at one point it looked like he may have to retire due to a knee problem. He's worked so hard to regain fitness & it's great to see Haris Sohail finally score a century in international cricket #PAKvAUS— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) October 8, 2018
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