Dubai: Azhar Ali joined Chetan Chauhan, Ken "Slasher" Mackay and Mike Brearley among others as specialist batsmen with 1000 Test runs and no centuries, but spent only 37.1 overs in their company, reaching a maiden Test hundred in his 11th foray past 50. In the process he helped Pakistan recover from the loss of their openers early on the second day and, with support from Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, laid the platform for a substantial first-innings lead.
The Sri Lanka bowlers toiled honestly for the best part of the day, but all they could manage was to slow down Pakistan's march towards the lead. Pakistan's run-rate might have been similar to their attempt in the first Test, which played a role in the eventual draw, but this was completely different from that go-slow. For starters the intent was obvious on the first evening, when the openers raced to 42 in nine overs. Then Suranga Lakmal's outswing early and the quick loss of the openers to Dhammika Prasad made them put their heads down.