Abid Ali with his 174 in the second innings against Sri Lanka became the first Pakistan batsman to score centuries in each of his first two Tests after having scored 109 not out against the same opponent in Rawalpindi last week. There are two other Pakistan batsmen – Yasir Hameed and Wajahatullah Wasti – with two centuries in first two Tests but Yasir scored both on his debut against Bangladesh in Karachi in 2003 whereas Wasti scored both in his second Test against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1999. There are eight batsmen in the world who have scored centuries in each of their first two Tests, the most recent was New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham.
CENTURY FOR ABID ALI ????— Cricingif (@_cricingif) December 21, 2019
Another day, another record for the opener ??
He becomes the first Pakistan batsman and the ninth overall to score tons in first two matches of Test career ???
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details ? https://t.co/UJr7oI8Eo8#PAKvSL #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/J8HFLqJfJB
Abid has accumulated 321 runs in his short career, which is the highest tally for a Pakistan batsman in the first two Tests of his career. The previous record was 316 runs by Yasir Hameed. There are only three batsmen who have scored more than 321 in their first two Tests - Lawrence Rowe (337), Phil Hughes (350) and Tip Foster (355). Foster scored 287 runs in his career’s first-ever innings against Australia in Sydney in 1903 and holds the distinction of being the only player to captain England in both cricket and football.
Abid and Shan added 278 runs for the first wicket making it Pakistan’s second-highest opening partnership in Test cricket. The pair fell 21 short of breaking the record 298-run stand between Aamer Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed against West Indies, also in Karachi, in 1997. The previous second-highest opening stand was 249 between Abdul Kadir and Khalid Ibadulla against Australia in Karachi in 1964.
Pakistan’s opening stand (278) was more than what the entire team scored (191) in the first innings. It was only the second time in Pakistan’s Test history that the openers outscored the entire team’s total in the previous innings. The only other time it happened was when Hanif Mohammad and Imtiaz Ahmed stitched 152 runs together against West Indies in Barbados in 1958 after the team was bowled out for 106 in the first innings. Hanif went on to score 337 and batted for 970 minutes, the longest innings in Test history.
The left-hand opening batsman knocked his career-best (135) before becoming the first wicket to fall on the third day. Shan’s previous highest Test score was 125, which came in a record chase of 377 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in 2015. Since his comeback in the Test side in South Africa last year, he has scored 524 runs at an average of 40.30.
Shan Masood celebrates his hundred ©Getty Images
With both Abid and Shan registering centuries, it marked only the third instance of Pakistan openers scoring hundreds in the same Test innings. The previous instance was 18 years ago when Saeed Anwar and the debutant Taufeeq Umar scored centuries against Bangladesh in the Asian Test Championship match in Multan in 2001. Prior to that, Aamer Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed had also done the same against West Indies in Karachi in 1997.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali scored his first fifty in Tests in 14 innings. Since his 134 against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last year, he had gone 13 innings with the highest score of only 39, which came against Australia in Brisbane last month. He ended the day with 57 not out and seems to have regained his form. It is also only his second fifty in five Tests as captain. The first came in his first Test leading the side against New Zealand in Hamilton in 2016.