Mohammad Hafeez overcame his lean start to the tour of Sri Lanka by carving out a career best 172 not out as Pakistan reached an impressive 334 for one wicket at close of play on the first day of the second Test today.
Hafeez, who started off cautiously with only 20 runs in the morning, shifted gears in the afternoon to score 80 off 86 balls and reach his century with 12 fours. By the close, he had hit 18 fours and one six in his 281-balls innings.
The opener had managed only 105 runs, with a top score of 37, in his nine previous innings for Pakistan, who trail the three-match series 0-1.
Azhar Ali (92 not out) kept Hafeez company and the duo batted through the final two sessions, adding 256 runs for the unbroken second wicket.
Sri Lanka thought they had dismissed Hafeez on 101 in the over before tea, when the batsman gloved a short delivery from seamer Angelo Mathews to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene while attempting a pull shot. But umpire Ian Gould ruled it as a no ball after consulting with the TV umpire.
Hafeez had earlier survived a scare on 65, when he lofted off-spinner Suraj Randiv to long off, where Nuwan Kulasekera ran back, got both hands to the ball, but failed to hold on to the catch.
Hafeez again rode his luck when, at 171, he edged a catch to Prasanna Jayawardene off Herath. Umpire Simon Taufel overruled the appeal although television replays showed an edge.
Earlier, opener Taufeeq Umar (65) hit an aggressive half century and took the attack to the bowlers, after Pakistan were put in to bat on a pitch that offered some help for the seamers.
The left-hander raced away to his 50 off 62 balls with the aid of eight fours and looked good for a century before he was out, caught behind. Umar attempted to cut Mathews, but clipped a fine edge to wicketkeeper Jayawardene, who was standing up to the stumps.