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Century is a relief for Pakistan's Azhar

Pakistan's fast-rising one-drop batsman Azhar Ali showed great delight and relief over scoring his maiden hundred in the second Test against Sri Lanka, a landmark that had eluded him for 14 matches.

The 26-year-old right-hander from Lahore notched exactly 100 to help Pakistan to 281-4 -- a lead of 42 over Sri Lankan first innings total of 239 - on the second day of the match at Dubai Cricket Stadium.


Azhar Ali raises his bat after reaching his ton yesterday. PIC/AFP

Ali, the find of Pakistan's fixing-marred tour of England last year, had failed to turn any of his previous ten half-centuries but this time lady luck finally smiled on him. "It's a matter of great delight and a sense of huge relief," said Ali, whose previous best of 92 not out came against England at The Oval last year.

"I am sure I am destined to make more hundreds after this first one," he added. Ali added 117 for the third wicket with Younis Khan (55) and another 94 for the fourth with skipper Misbah-ul Haq (40 not out) after Pakistan lost Taufiq Umar (27) and Mohammad Hafeez (33) early in the day. He punched paceman Suranga Lakmal for his ninth boundary before taking a lucky couple off spinner Rangana Herath to reach the three-figure mark after 309-minute stay at the crease.

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