Taufeeq shines in Pakistan’s bright start


Taufeeq Umar hit a fluent half-century as Pakistan made a steady start in the second Test against Sri Lanka, reaching 94 for one by lunch on the opening day on Saturday.
Pakistan, who lost the first Test in Galle by 209 runs, took advantage of Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene’s surprise decision to field first on a good batting track at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Left-handed Taufeeq led the charge with 65, which included 12 hits to the fence, during an opening stand of 78 with Mohammad Hafeez.
Hafeez batted for two hours to make a dour unbeaten 20. Azhar Ali was the other batsman at the crease on eight.
Hafeez had made only 12 when Taufeeq raced to his 14th Test half-century in the 18th over with two successive boundaries off seamer Angelo Mathews.
Taufeeq fell just when he had mastered the Sri Lankan attack, edging an intended cut off Angelo Mathews to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.
Misbah-ul Haq returned to lead Pakistan after missing the Galle Test due to a one-match ban for slow over-rates. Middle-order batsman Mohammad Ayub was dropped to accommodate the skipper.
But the tourists were without frontline seamer Umar Gul, who was ruled out with an ankle injury. He was replaced by fast bowler Aizaz Cheema.
Sri Lanka retained the same side that won the first Test to lead the three-match series.