Azhar Ali continued to have a magnificent time in 2016 as he smashed his 12th century to put Pakistan in a strong position against Australia in the Melbourne Test. This was Azhar’s third century against Australia and his unbeaten 139 has pushed his average against them to over 70. (SCORECARD)
During the course of his knock, Azhar joined an elite list of players. He became the fifth Pakistan batsman to go past 1000 runs in a calendar year in Tests. Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Mohsin Khan are the other players to have achieved this feat. Remarkably, Younis is the only Pakistan batsmen to score over 1000 runs in a calendar year twice.
Mohammad Yousuf leads the list with a staggering 1788 runs at an average of 99.33, which he achieved in 206. Yousuf’s mark is also the highest number of runs ever accumulated in a year in Tests, beating the previous mark of 1710 set by Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies in 1976. Yousuf’s mark of nine centuries in a year is also the most in Test history, beating the mark of seven jointly held by Richards, Aravinda de Silva, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. (COMMENTARY)
Apart from Yousuf, Younis has scored the most hundreds in a calendar year with five, which he achieved in 2014. In the series against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, Younis had scores of 106, 103*, 213 and 100 in the space of three Tests as Pakistan enjoyed their most successful year.
Golden 2016 for Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali has also enjoyed a magnificent 2016 as he became the sixth batsmen to go past 1000 runs in Tests in 2016. Joe Root of England leads the table with 1477 runs. Azhar has scored a total of 1089* runs at an average of 60.5 in just 11 Tests. In terms of average, he is only behind India’s Virat Kohli, who smashed 1215 runs at an average of 75.
Azhar’s golden 2016 witnessed a triple century. He smashed 302* in the Pink Ball Test against West Indies in Dubai in October. During the course of his knock, Azhar became the first batsman to score a century, double century and a triple century in a Day-Night Test. He became only the fourth Pakistan player to score a triple century in Tests, after Hanif Mohammad’s 337 against West Indies in Barbados in 1958, Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 329 against New Zealand in Karachi 2002 and Younis Khan’s 313 versus Sri Lanka in Karachi 2009.
His knock of 139 has also put him in an elite list of Pakistan batsmen in Australia. His knock of 139* is the third-highest knock by a Pakistan opener in Tests versus Australia. Mohsin Khan holds the two highest scores in Australia as an opener, scoring 152 in Melbourne in 1983 and 149 in Adelaide in the same series. In terms of highest individual scores by Pakistan batsmen in Australia, Azhar Ali stands in fifth position. Majid Khan holds the record for the highest individual score by a Pakistan player in Australia with 158 during the Melbourne Test in 1972.
Melbourne has been a lucky venue when it comes to Pakistan’s batsmen. They have smashed a total of seven centuries at this venue, the joint-most along with the Adelaide Oval. Pakistan’s two highest individual scores have come in Melbourne and the most 150-plus scores have also come at the MCG.
Azhar Ali’s knock has put Pakistan in a solid position and he is poised to break more records on day 3.