Pakistan batsmen warm-up well

Eager forget last year’s array of internal spats, drugs controversies and ball-tampering shenanigans, Pakistan’s top order opened up the new year with a professional batting display on the opening day of their tour match against the Rest of South Africa in Kimberley.

Pakistan’s opening problems of recent years have been well documented, but perhaps in Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez they have now found a consistent pair. Both enjoyed solid performances at home against the West Indies towards the end of 2006, with the selectors for once keeping faith in the same combination for the entire series. Here both lashed centuries in an opening stand of 182 in just 39 overs before Hafeez retired out, having brought up his hundred from 105 balls, with fifteen fours and a six; his second fifty taking just 32 deliveries.

Farhat’s innings ended in similar circumstances when he was also retired by Inzamam-ul-Haq soon after completing his century. However, there was to be no respite for the South African bowlers, as the deluge of runs continued through Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan, who piled on a further 108 runs. Eventually Hameed, eyeing a hundred for himself, holed out to Ghulam Bodi off the bowling off left-arm seamer Yusuf Abdullah for a 99-ball 79 to give the Rest of South Africa their only genuine wicket of the day.

Khan guided the Pakistanis to 401-3 at the close, unbeaten himself on 74 and aided by Faisal Iqbal, who finished with a watchful 23 not out. The Rest of South Africa attack came in for some harsh punishment: their two Test spinners, Paul Adams and Johan Botha, suffered the most as both were hoisted for three sixes apiece.

Pakistanis 401-3 (90 overs)
Mohammad Hafeez 108, Imran Farhat 106, Yasir Hameed 79, Younis Khan 74*, Faisal Iqbal 23*

v Rest of South Africa

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