Openers Azhar & Sami give Pakistan superb start in 279-1

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) " Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam decimated the West Indies with a double-century stand as their team cruised to 279-1 on the opening day of the second ever day-night cricket test on Thursday.

Azhar marked Pakistan's 400th test with an unbeaten 146, hitting 14 boundaries. Aslam made 90 with nine fours, missing out on his maiden hundred in his fifth test after captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bat.

Both batsmen shared a 215-run partnership in nearly five hours, until Aslam was bowled by offspinner Roston Chase for the West Indies' lone success.

All expectations of attracting a large crowd of expat Pakistanis after their day's work didn't eventuate, as witnessed by the very low turnout and empty stands at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Australia and New Zealand played the first day-night test at Adelaide Oval last November, and drew large crowds.

The inexperienced West Indies bowlers struggled with the pink ball, often appearing to go through the motions on a flat and very dry pitch. Azhar and Aslam batted resolutely and were hardly troubled.

The West Indies pace trio of Shannon Gabriel, captain Jason Holder, and Miguel Cummins were often guilty of either bowling too short of the length or too full.

Both Pakistan openers grew in confidence as they reached 81-0 at tea in the first session, and added another 91 runs in the second session.

Left-handed Aslam, who hit his first boundary off his 64th delivery, used his feet well against the spinners, and swept well before reaching his 50 when he cut Chase to the point boundary.

Azhar carried his form from the last ODI, when he scored a century, and completed his half-century off 115 balls with a cover-driven boundary off Cummins.

West Indies twice came close to separating the two, but on both lbw television referrals, replays showed the ball would have missed the stumps of Azhar and Aslam respectively.

Azhar became the first batsman to hit a century in a day-night test, off 184 balls with 10 fours, when he drove through mid off off Chase.

The batsmen raised Pakistan's fourth best ever opening stand before Aslam misread Chase and was bowled while attempting a sweep off the spinner.

West Indies' seamers struggled in the last 10 overs with the second new ball, as Azhar and a composed Asad Shafiq (33 not out) added 64 more runs in their unbroken second-wicket stand, enhancing Pakistan's hopes of a very healthy total.

Pakistan awarded debuts to Babar Azam, who scored three successive centuries in the preceding one-day international series, and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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