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Azhar Ali during his innings at the MCG © Getty Images

Pakistan opener Azhar Ali completed a fine century in the Boxing Day Test, during the second day’s play against Australia at Melbourne on Tuesday. Resuming his innings at 66 not out, Azhar continued to bat positively and showed no signs of any troubles against the Australian bowlers, as he went on to notch up his 12th century in Test cricket. Azhar has been a pillar of strength for Pakistan as far as Test cricket is concerned, which was certified once again when he completed his 1,000 runs in the format in the calendar year 2016. Azhar is the sixth batsman overall and the only Pakistani this year to have scored 1,000 runs in Test cricket.

Azhar is behind Joe Root (1,477), Jonny Bairstow (1,470), Alastair Cook (1,270), Virat Kohli (1,215) and Moeen Ali (1,078) in the list of most run-scorers in Test cricket this year. In 11 Tests, Azhar averages a highly impressive 58 with two centuries and five half-centuries so far in the longest format. During the home series against the West Indies in UAE earlier this year, Azhar had also joined the exclusive club of those batsmen who have scored a triple century for Pakistan. Azhar scored 302 not out in that innings.

Live cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 2nd Test at Melbourne

So far in his ongoing innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground  (MCG), Azhar has once again given a strong impression of how good he is as an opener. While the others failed around him, Azhar remains the only batsman to have scored runs on this batting-friendly wicket at Melbourne, even though he has consumed 219 balls and struck only 7 boundaries to reach 102 not out. Pakistan were 199 for 4 after 75 overs.