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Skipper Azhar Ali, Babar Azam score tons as Pakistan set huge target for Sri Lanka

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Skipper Azhar Ali and Babar Azam both completed hundreds Sunday before Pakistan declared to set Sri Lanka a mammoth 476 to win the second and final Test in Karachi.

Skipper Ali scored his 16th Test century, Azam reached 100 not out on the stroke of lunch for his fourth three-figure Test score as Pakistan stood at a mammoth 555-3 at the interval.

This was just the second time in Test cricket that the top four batsman had scored a century. India’s Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh karthik, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar all scored tons against Bangladesh in 2007.

Earlier, when Pakistan resumed at 395-2 Ali smashed three boundaries off pace bowler Vishwa Fernando and then took two runs to complete his first century in 12 months.

Azhar added 148 for the third wicket with Azam as Sri Lankan bowlers toiled on a National stadium pitch which has eased out for batting.

Azhar was finally stumped off spinner Lasith Embuldeniya after 11 boundaries in his 157-ball innings.

Earlier, openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali had scored centuries becoming only the third opening pair for Pakistan to hit centuries in the same innings.

Pakistan resumed their second innings at 395 for two wickets on day four of the second Test.

Abid, nicknamed “legend” in Pakistan’s dressing room, hit 174 for his second hundred in as many Tests — becoming the first Pakistani and ninth batsmen overall to score two centuries in his first two Tests.

When the third day’s play ended Pakistan were in a strong position with 395-2, having an overall lead of 315 after conceding an 80-run lead in the first innings.

It was a day for the batsmen as Pakistan added 338 runs after resuming at 57-0 on a National Stadium pitch which dried up to help batting.

Masood blasted 135 for his second century in his 19th Test as the duo put on 278 for the opening wicket, just 20 short of equalling the highest opening stand for Pakistan of 298.

Amir Sohail and Ijaz Ahmed had set that record against the West Indies at the same venue in 1997.

Masood batted for nearly five hours for his 135, which included three sixes and seven fours. Abid struck 21 boundaries and a six in his 398-minute stay at the crease.