DUBAI - David Warner took the cue from the brisk brilliance of Sarfraz Ahmad to give Australians something to cheer at the end of an otherwise tiring day in the field on second day of first Test between Pakistan and Australia Thursday. Australia closed day two of the first Test against Pakistan on 113 without loss in response to Pakistan’s 454.

Both Warner and Sarfraz tamed the bowlers with aggression and things seem to be very easy on otherwise a pitch where batsmen struggled to find runs on day one. Sarfraz hit fourth fastest Test hundred for Pakistan to help his team doubled the day one’s total in just two sessions. Warner hit a run-a-ball fifty and was unbeaten at 75 off 77 balls and Chris Rogers was not out on 31 off 110 at the close of the play.

Warner played with authority as he did not let the inexperienced Pkistan bowling attack to settle down. Rogers was given a lifeline in the 14th over when he edged a delivery off left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar in the slips but Younus Khan failed to bring his fingers under the ball in time.

The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, Sarfraz, scored in a whirlwind fashion to make Australians regret their decision to go into the match with two specialist spinners as Nathan Lyan and Steeve O Keefe returned combined figures of 4 for 255 from 67 overs.

Sarfraz, who scored his first hundred in Sri Lanka two months ago, fell in the last over before tea, stumped off spinner Nathan Lyon for 109 off 105 balls. He completed his ton in just 80 balls was also the second fastest century for a wicketkeeper batsman after Adam Gilchrist. Majid Khan holds the record for the fastest Test hundred by a Pakistani with 74 balls while Shahid Afridi hit hundreds off 78 balls on two occasions. It was also fifth consecutive time that Sarfraz crosses the 50-run mark's in Test innings and is now second behind Zimbabwe’s Andy Flower in the list of consecutive half-century makers.

As the day’s proceedings started, Lyon just provided a very early breakthrough in just second ball only for Allan Doolan to drop the catch off Asad Shafiq. From there on, Pakistan batsmen did not look behind and play some positive cricket in search of quick runs to counter Australian threat. Misbah, who was 34 overnight, reached his first half-century in nine innings with a push for a single and then launched an attack, hitting Lyon for a six over long-on. He also hit Smith for a six but fell on his next try h off part time leg-spinner.

After their openers fell cheaply on Wednesday, the subsequent five Pakistan batsmen helped themselves to three fifties and two centuries against a lacklustre Australian attack. Shafiq had been the dominant Pakistani batsman for most of the morning, but as play resumed he reverted to a role in support of Sarfraz, who offered a starburst of strokes all-round the ground. Both batsmen appeared destined for centuries, but just 11 runs shot of the century Shafiq perished when he unwisely tried to slog sweep O'Keefe, the top edge landing in the hands of his fellow debutant Marsh behind square leg. O'Keefe also removed Yasir Shah caught at point at 7-442.

With a hard fought 89 and a 124-run sixth wicket stand with Sarfraz, Shafiq would’ve surely soothed the nerves in the Pakistan team as being the successful on number six slot. Of the 29 Tests he has played, Shafiq has spent 27 of his matches at No 6. The numbers show that Shafiq is well on his way to be Pakistan’s most successful batsman at No 6. He is a mere 229 runs short of the record. Shafiq would be happy to notch up this record soon.

Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar, facing the bowling of Mitchell Johnson, has suffered a nasty finger injury on his right hand and retired hurt at tea on seven. The final wicket of Rahat Ali fell two balls after the break to off-spinner Lyon who claimed 2-148 off 37 overs, while left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe (2-107) also took two wickets. Left-arm quick Johnson continued his economical style from day one and finished with 3-39 from 31 overs.

Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmad Thursday attributed his innings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium against Australia the best one so far.

The 27-year-old wicket-keeper batsman, who smashed fourth fastest Test hundred by a Pakistani, said he did not know about the record of but was happy to know about that. He said his game plan was simple and that was to play his natural game. “While I was sitting in the dressing room, I noticed a spinner who was not bowling good enough and was easy to hit. Fortunately, I got that spinner as soon as came into the crease and attacked him.”

Evidently it was part-time spinner Steve Smith, who gave the first breakthrough of the day to Australia with Misbah-ul-Haq’s wicket, but Sarfraz went against him to score 14 runs off first five balls he faced. He said coach Waar Younis had spoken to him before his innings started and asked him to play his natural game. “Coach asked me to attack the spinners and play shot against Mitchell Johnson only when you feel comfortable against his pace.”

He said he paid special focus on his batting after yet another comeback and was treating it as his last chance. “I was never certain about my place in the team and was always under my last pressure. Now the management and coaches have backed me and given me the confidence which has brought positive impact on my batting. I am just trying to play like I used to play in the domestic cricket and applying the same style.”

Sarfraz said the coaches and manager had played a major role to instill the confidence in the team and hopefully soon the results would be evident of this fact.

Sarfraz said he had very good understanding with Asad Shafiq as they both had played for the same club and department in the domestic which was useful in building a partnership.

About his trademark slog sweep shot Sarfraz said he had been benefitted for that from Moin Khan as he always followed Moin as role model and he also had helped him a lot to improve his game.

He said Pakistan played at a brisk run rate as on the first day they were under pressure and could not run freely. “The coach has set target of runs for each session and the batsmen followed that target.”

After scoring consecutive five half centuries including two tons, Sarfraz said it was difficult for him to play longer innings. “I come for batting at number seven. Mostly at this number you have to play with the tail-enders. If I got some batsman on the crease with me, hopefully I may prolong my innings further in the future too.” He said Pakistan had a n inexperience bowling attack but hoped that the spinners would be able to give Pakistan a healthy lead on third day of the Test.



(OVERNIGHT 219-4):

Ahmed Shehzad b Siddle    3

M Hafeez lbw b Johnson    0

Azhar Ali c Doolan b Johnson    53

Younus Khan lbw b Johnson    106

Misbah-ul Haq c Johnson b Smith    69

Asad Shafiq c Marsh b O'Keefe    89

Sarfraz Ahmed st Haddin b Lyon    109

Yasir Shah c Rogers b O'Keefe    2

Zulfiqar Babar retired out    7

Rahat Ali c Rogers b Lyon    0

Imran Khan not out    0

EXTRAS: (b2, lb14)    16

TOTAL: (all out; 145 overs) 454

FOW: 1-1, 2-7, 3-115, 4-198, 5-291, 6-415, 7-442, 8-454, 9-454

BOWLING: Johnson 31-18-39-3, Siddle 24-11-50-1, O'Keefe 30-3-107-2, Marsh 17-4-44-0, Lyon 37-4-148-2, Smith 6-0-50-1


C Rogers not out    31

D Warner not out    75

EXTRAS: (b4, lb2, nb1)    7

TOTAL: (without loss; 31 overs)    113

BOWLING: Rahat 7-0-22-0, Hafeez 10-3-18-0, Khan 6-1-23-0, Babar 5-0-25-0, Shah 3-0-19-0 (1nb)

TOSS: Pakistan

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

and Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV UMPIRE: Nigel Llong (ENG)

MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)