London - Asad Shafiq dedicated his
impressive century against England at The Oval on Friday to late Pakistan
batting great Hanif Mohammad.
"I would definitely like to dedicate
the hundred to great Hanif Mohammad. He was a great batsman in our history and
it is an honour to dedicate this hundred to him," Shafiq told reporters
after making 109.
Mohammad died aged 81 in a Karachi hospital
on Thursday following a prolonged illness.
Short in stature, Mohammad hit 337 in a
marathon and still unsurpassed 970-minute stay at the crease against the West
Indies in Barbados in 1958.
That record earned Mohammad the nickname of
the "Little Master".
Flags above The Oval pavilion flew at
half-mast on Friday as a tribute to Mohammad, who once said the equally
diminutive Shafiq had the technique that came closest to his own batting style.
Shafiq, despite making two noughts in
Pakistan's 141-run defeat by England at Edgbaston last week, was promoted up
the order for the fourth test at The Oval.
He responded to his elevation with a
composed innings of 109 and together with the experienced Younis Khan (101 not
out) put on exactly 150 for the fourth wicket.
By stumps, Pakistan were 340 for six in
reply to England's first innings 328, a lead of 12 runs, as the tourists tried
to end the four-match series all square at 2-2.
Asked about Mohammad likening Shafiq's
technique to his own style, the 30-year-old said: "It is a great honour
for me to know this and will be a great source of encouragement to do better
"He was a great batsman, and I am not
at all close to him, but if he had said that then I am honoured," added
This was Shafiq's ninth century in 45 tests
but just his second outside Asia following his 111 against South Africa in Cape
Town three years ago.
"Yes, it's great to score a hundred
outside Asia. When I was coming on this tour everyone was saying that that it
will be tough so it's great to score a hundred here (in England).
"Test cricket is always challenging
and we have to be up for that challenge.
"I will be the happiest man if we win
after my hundred," he added.
Shafiq was one of three Pakistan batsmen who benefited from dropped catches before lunch and England assistant coach Paul Farbrace said: "Missed chances have been an issue for us.
"If we're serious about being number
one in the world, we have to catch our catches."
But England fought back late in the day
with three wickets to dismiss Shafiq, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and test
debutant Iftikhar Ahmed.
"Until the last half-hour, it was a
tough day," said Farbrace.
"Those last two wickets have given us
a bit of encouragement.
"Days two and three are generally the
best times to bat and Pakistan, by bowling us out, have earned the right.
"They've batted well but we've battled back well."