Pakistan moved into the lead over Sri Lanka as Azhar Ali scored his maiden Test century on day two of the second match in Dubai.
Ali nervously made his way through the 90s to convert his eighth half-century into a triple-figure score but was out shortly before stumps for exactly 100, leaving Pakistan on 281 for four in reply to Sri Lanka's 239.
Azhar played fluently until he reached 90, where undoubtedly conscious of previous failures to get to a century, he slowed and was visibly frustrating when clean hits found fielders.
Eventually he played a lovely straight drive for four to advance to 97, a single to get to 98 and then swept finely to reach his century in 229 balls with nine fours.
His day was dampened when he was trapped in front by Tillakaratne Dilshan without adding to his score but Pakistan could be satisfied with their day's work.
However, Sri Lanka began the stronger with pace bowler Dammika Prasad removing openers Taufeeq Umar - caught by wicket-keeper Kaushal Silva for 27 - and Mohammad Hafeez - trapped in front for 33.
Azhar then added 117 with Younus Khan (55) for the third wicket, Younus his usual unflappable and solid self until the partnership was broken when Dilshan bowled Younus.
Misbah-ul-Haq then combined with Azhar to put on a partnership worth 94 for the fourth wicket, calming the obvious nerves of his junior partner and making an assured unbeaten 40 in 108 balls.
Nightwatchman Saeed Ajmal was unbeaten on five, hitting a late boundary that personified Pakistan's day - although Sri Lanka bowled well, Suranga Lakmal in particular, they were devoid of luck as a couple of catches went down.
© Cricket World 2011
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