Hafeez marks Test return with century against Australia


Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez marked his return to Test cricket by striking a century on the opening of the day of the first Test against Australia in Dubai.

The 37-year-old Hafeez, who’s last game in the longest format was against England in August 2016, scored 126 as Pakistan took control of proceedings on the first day, reaching stumps with the total on 255/3.

Hafeez and fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq blunted Australia’s attack for the majority of the day as the tourists went wicketless for the first two sessions.

The pair took their partnership to 205, the second highest by a Pakistan opening duo against the Aussies, but it was off-spinner Nathan Lyon (1-63 in 33 overs) who made breakthrough after the tea interval when he had Imam edge to keeper Tim Paine for 76.

Just six overs later, veteran seamer Peter Siddle (1-23 in 15 overs) celebrated his on comeback to international cricket when he trapped Hafeez in front.

The 33-year-old Siddle, who played his last Test in November 2016, got Hafeez to play across the line to a straight one with hawk-eye showing the ball to be clipping the leg stump.

Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail tried to play out the last 20 overs the day woth utmost care with the scoring-rate dropping significantly in the final hour of the day.

However, Azhar gave his wicket away just three overs before the close with a reckless shot as he attempted to hit left-arm spinner Jon Holland (1-72 in 18 overs) over mid-off.

Haris (15 not out) and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas (1 not out) survived a few nervy moments but took Pakistan to stumps on an interesting first day of the two-match series.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had earlier won the toss chose to bat first on a hot and humid day.

Australia gave Test debuts to Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne while Pakistan also gave a first Test cap to 33-year-old spinner Bilal Asif.