Taufeeq ton drags Pakistan into the lead

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Taufeeq Umar laboured through a pedestrian century to carry Pakistan to 259 for one in 98 overs and a 62-run lead at the close of play on day two to the first Test against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

Taufeeq Umar laboured through a pedestrian century – the sixth of his career – to carry Pakistan to 259 for one in 98 overs and a 62-run lead at the close of play on day two to the first Test against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.

The left-hander batted at a snail's pace in reaching an unbeaten 109 from 296 balls, while Azhar Ali matched his team-mate's sluggish approach with a slow 60 not out from 176 deliveries during their unbroken 141-run alliance for the second wicket.

A Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch that proved less batsmen-friendly than anticipated on day one, when Sri Lanka crashed to 197 all out, flattened out on Wednesday as the centurion and sidekick tucked in.

The duo, however, were not without fault. Ali, on seven at the time, survived a sharp chance when Mahela Jayawardene grassed an edge at slips. Umar, shortly after reaching three figures, was given not out by Tony Hill despite a fat inside glance to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene. With no Decision Review System in play for the series, the umpire's blunder was left to stand, much to the dismay of bowler Chanaka Welegedera.

Umar and Ali's progress, albeit unhurried, came on the back of Mohammad Hafeez's survival through the opening session.

The in-form opener, with Umar along for the ride, rode a testing spell from spinners Tillakaratne Dilshan and Rangana Herath. A host of appeals for caught behind, plays-and-misses and generally tentative strokeplay truly examined Hafeez's mettle, which successfully weathered the storm through to the lunch break. Shortly thereafter, though, the opener was on his way back to the pavilion for 75 as Herath fetched the only wicket of the day with a straightforward lbw decision.

Thursday is likely to bring more of the sorry same for Sri Lanka as their opposition, keen to bat just once in the match, look toward a total of in excess of 600.

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