LAHORE: Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas praised opener Azhar Ali after the right-hander became the first batsman from the country to score a double century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday.
Azhar scored an unbeaten 205 off 364 balls, plundering 20 boundaries to help Pakistan post an imposing first innings total of 443-9, which was followed by captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s decision to declare.
Zaheer believed Azhar’s knock came at just the right time when Pakistan needed their batsmen to take responsibility following defeat in the first Test in Brisbane and going down 1-0 in the series.
The former Pakistan captain believed Azhar successfully brushed off all criticism which raised question marks on his reliability as an opener.
The ‘Asian Bradman’ was not keen to draw comparisons between Azhar and David Warner, with the latter scoring a quickfire 144 off 143 balls to drive Australia to 278-2. The former, on the other hand, scored at a much slower strike rate of 56.31.
“Azhar’s knock was according to the situation as Pakistan were struggling earlier in the innings and this knock helped them post a big total,” he said.
Zaheer believed posting 300 plus runs in the first innings does not guarantee Pakistan a win in the match, as suggested by Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur earlier.
However, he said, observing the previous record of Australia, the ongoing series was a good chance for Pakistan to beat Australia on their home soil after a long time.
“Look, this is a young Australian team, which has lost series to India and South Africa in the recent past and our team is strong enough to beat them,” said the former ICC president.Zaheer, considering the batting-friendly nature of the Melbourne pitch, predicted the ongoing Test to end as a draw.