2nd Test: Babar Azam sinks in joy of maiden Test ton
Babar Azam struck his maiden Test century. (AFP Image)

Despite scoring eight centuries in ODIs, Pakistan batsman Babar Azam had to wait for 17 matches to score his first in Tests. Having missed it by eight runs in the first Test in Abu Dhabi, Babar registered his maiden three-figure score against New Zealand during Day 3 of the second Test in Dubai. His unbeaten 127 was the second century in Pakistan’s first-innings total of 418/5 declared, and one that he Babar will surely cherish in time to come.

“There was no pressure [of scoring a Test hundred]“, Babar said. “I’d be lying if I say that not scoring a Test century was a burden on me. The difference is that I did the job today. My previous best scores will be counted as half-centuries. I had heard that scoring a Test century is special and that’s exactly what I experienced today. I was out on 99 against Australia. It’s definitely a relief to get over the line. I have gained a lot of confidence in the wake of scoring this hundred.

“In the UAE, the wickets are on the slower side. You can’t play through the line, you need to take your time and be patient.”

For someone who has eight Test fifties and averages 68 in Tests, Babar’s maiden three figure-mark in was just a matter of time. The other century of the innings belonged to Haris Sohail as he and Babar added 186 runs for the fifth wicket to drive Pakistan into a strong position. On his partnership with Sohail, Babar explained his partner’s calming influence during the stand.

“Our plan was to build partnerships. We were trying to complement each other,” he said. “If I played a poor shot, Haris would come and counsel me and vice versa. Our plan was to dig in deep.

“The ball isn’t coming onto the bat; it’s really slow. The spinners are getting purchase off the wicket. Hopefully our bowlers will benefit from the conditions as well. We are confident we’ll get them out cheaply.”

New Zealand were 24 without loss after nine overs when at the end of Day 2.