ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Younis Khan struck his third straight century and Azhar Ali also reached triple figures to put Pakistan in control at 304-2 after the first day of the second test against Australia Thursday.
Khan, who made 106 and 103 not out in the two inning in the Dubai test match that Pakistan won by 221 runs, was unbeaten on 111. Giving him company at stumps was Ali, who was not out on 101 and added 208 runs for the unbroken third wicket partnership with Khan.
It was Khan's 27th century and he became only the second batsmen in the history of test cricket to score three consecutive hundreds against Australia. The only player before him to do so was England's Herbert Sutcliffe in the 1924-25 series in Australia.
It was a different Khan on display Thursday. Unlike his usual dour self, Khan scored at a brisk pace, reaching his 100 in just 128 balls with a lofted boundary off Maxwell. It was his 10th boundary of the innings, along with a six.
Azhar reached his century off what turned out to be the penultimate ball of day, when he cover drove Mitchell Marsh for three runs. It was his sixth career century and fifth in the UAE.
Pakistan lost a wicket each in the first two sessions of the day, but despite Australia taking the second new ball as soon as it was due in the post-tea session, there was no luck for its bowlers.
Khan and Ali scored 146 runs in the 36 overs in the final session, with Ali contributing 74 of them. That was in complete contrast to the post-lunch session when he toiled for just 15 runs.
Captain Misbah-ul Haq won a crucial toss for Pakistan, and they were given a decent opening start of 57 runs by Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez, before offspinner Nathan Lyon trapped Shehzad lbw for 35. He had earlier escaped against the same bowler on 20 when wicket-keeper Haddin dropped a regulation catch.
Hafeez was the only man out in the second session, edging a good delivery shaping away from the batsman from Mitchell Johnson into the safe gloves of Brad Haddin behind the wickets when on 45.
Pakistan announced an unchanged team from the one that won the first test in Dubai, while Australia made two changes. Captain Michael Clarke bolstered the pace attack by bringing in Mitchell Starc in place of left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe, while allrounder Glenn Maxwell replaced specialist batsman Alex Doolan, who failed in both innings in Dubai.
A draw or a win would give Pakistan a rare series win over Australia. They have beaten them five times before at home, but their last series victory came 20 years ago in 1994.