KARACHI -- Openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali combined for a mammoth 278-run partnership to propel Pakistan to a 315-run lead by the end of third day's play in the second Test against Sri Lanka here at National Stadium.
Lahiru Kumara managed to get past both, but that wasn't before they had brought up their hundreds and registered Pakistan's second highest opening stand in Test cricket, 20 short of Aamer Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed's 298-run association against West Indies back in 1997 at the same venue.
The partnership is also the third highest for the first wicket in the third innings of a Test match, by some margin beating Pakistan's previous record of 219 set by Imran Nazir and Mohammad Wasim in 2000 at Bridgetown.
Resuming at their overnight score of 57/0, both batsmen gave Sri Lanka a run-around, adding 51 in the first twelve overs of the day. Abid hit two fours in three balls off Lasith Embuldeniya in the 22nd over of the innings, the second of which took Pakistan into the lead. Two balls later, the right-hander brought up his fifty with a couple into the off-side.
Masood was relatively watchful early on, but soon launched off-spinner Dilruwan Perera for a six down the ground and two overs later, passed 1000 Test runs with a brace. The dominance continued as Pakistan stood at 175/0 after the first session. Abid brought up his second consecutive Test ton in the fourth over post lunch, and Masood followed him four overs later, getting to his first in four years.
Kumara bounced out Masood in the last over before tea, with the batsman mistiming a pull to Oshada Fernando at deep mid-wicket when on 135. He could have had a second soon after, but Fernando dropped a sitter at short-leg to give Azhar Ali a reprieve on 14. Ali capitalised on the opportunity and joined Abid for a 77-run stand, before the latter was trapped leg-before by Kumara at 174. The opener's 281-ball stay included 21 fours as well as one maximum.
The skipper meanwhile went past fifty for the first time in 14 innings and remained unbeaten at 57 in the company of Babar Azam (22*) at the end of day's play. Pakistan were 395/2 at stumps, 315 ahead in their second innings.
With this ton, Abid became the ninth batsman and first Pakistani in the history of Test cricket to achieve the feat of consecutive hundreds in their first two Tests. India's Mohammad Azharuddin scored three hundreds in his first three Tests after making his debut against England at home in December 1984. William...