Pakistan v Australia: Imam-ul-Haq’s maiden Test ton puts hosts on top on historic day | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


Imam-ul-Haq (right) previously had a high score of 76 in Tests
Pakistan 245-1 Imam 132*, Azhar 64*
Australia Yet to bat
Pakistan lead by 245 runs
Scorecard

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq hit a sublime maiden Test century to put the hosts on top on day one of Australia’s first tour of the country for 24 years.

Imam remained unbeaten on 132, with Azhar Ali 64 not out, as Pakistan closed on 245-1 in Rawalpindi.

The left-hander roared and punched the air in delight after reaching his ton in his first Test appearance for over two years after being dropped.

“I cannot explain how I’m feeling right now,” he said.

“I had belief that if I got an opportunity I would make it count.”

Imam has scored seven one-day international centuries but had struggled to convert his talent to the longest format cricket in his previous 11 Tests.

His last Test was against Australia in Adelaide in November 2019, where he made two and a duck, leading to him being left out for the entirety of 2020 and an unused squad member against Bangladesh last year.

He made the most of his recall on a historic day for Pakistan cricket, scoring all around the ground on a flat pitch against Australia’s lauded bowling attack.

It is Australia’s first tour of Pakistan since 1998.

No international cricket was played in Pakistan for six years following an attack on the Sri Lanka team by gunmen in Lahore in 2009, with the majority of their home matches being held in the United Arab Emirates instead.

Touring teams began to return in 2015 and Pakistan hosted their first home men’s Test for 12 years when Sri Lanka travelled there in 2019.

“Coming to Pakistan to play Test cricket is the ultimate,” added Imam, who is playing a Test in his native country for the first time.

“I’m thankful to Australia that they’ve come.

“The crowd was outstanding – Pakistan needs that and I hope I contributed to that throughout the day.”

Imam put on an opening stand of 105 with fellow opener Abdullah Shafique, who fell to off-spinner Nathan Lyon for 44.

He then compiled an unbeaten stand of 140 with Azhar and the pair will look to continue Pakistan’s dominance on day two.

Despite keeping the run rate down, Australia’s fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Cameron Green all went wicketless.

Captain Cummins was forced to turn to the part-time spin of Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, with Australia perhaps already ruing their decision not to play a second frontline spinner.

The tourists wore black armbands in memory of former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died aged 74 on Friday, while there was also a minute’s silence before play.

It is Australia’s first away Test since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with their last overseas Test the final match of the 2019 Ashes in England.

It is also Australia’s first Test since their 4-0 Ashes win at home this winter, after which head coach Justin Langer resigned, with interim coach Andrew McDonald in charge in Pakistan.

After the three Tests, Australia face Pakistan in three ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 international.

New Zealand men’s team abandoned their planned tour of Pakistan last year following a government “security alert”.

England also withdrew their men’s and women’s teams from scheduled series in Pakistan.

England’s men will now play seven T20s in Pakistan in September before returning for three Tests in November and December after the next T20 World Cup in Australia.



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