Dubai, October 7: Mohammad Hafeez marked his Test recall with a dazzling hundred to help Pakistan seize control on the opening day of the series against Australia, despite losing three late wickets in Dubai.
Playing in his first Test since August 2016, Hafeez plundered 126 as he combined with fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq to put on a stand worth 205.
However, after waiting until the end of the 63rd over to finally make a breakthrough, Australia continued to fight back in the final session, pegging Pakistan back to 255-3 by the close of play.
After both opening batsmen departed, Azhar Ali's attempt to hit spinner Jon Holland over the top only provided a catch to Mitchell Starc at mid-off just 19 balls prior to stumps.
Still, Pakistan will be pleased to have capitalised on the chance to bat first on a placid pitch after captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss.
⭐️ of the day for Pakistan, @MHafeez22 put Pakistan on top with his century on the day one of Dubai Test!— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) October 7, 2018
126 (Runs) 208 (Balls) 15 (4s) 60.58 (SR)#AUSvPAK
More: https://t.co/qLbgL1oVmg pic.twitter.com/DRcTwXLC9m
Hafeez certainly made the most of his opportunity, rewarding the selectors' faith with a 10th Test ton, but his first since hitting 151 against England in Sharjah nearly three years ago.
The right-hander was given one reprieve prior to reaching the milestone, though, as Mitchell Marsh was unable to hang on in the deep off Holland's bowling.
Australia eventually struck through Nathan Lyon, the off-spinner getting Imam - who had played second fiddle in the first-wicket partnership - caught behind by wicketkeeper Tim Paine for a patient 76.
Peter Siddle then trapped Hafeez, who unsuccessfully reveiwed the decision, lbw to end the 37-year-old's 208-ball knock, leaving Pakistan on 222-2.
They were on course to suffer no further damage until Azhar's unexpected rush of blood led to his downfall for 18, forcing nigthwatchman Mohammad Abbas (1 not out) to keep Haris Sohail - who ended up unbeaten on 15 - company for the remaining deliveries in Sunday's play.