Pakistan's Fawad Alam continues record-breaking run in Test cricket with fifth ton

Left-hander becomes fastest Asian batsman to five Test centuries

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Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam is making the most of the opportunity he has received late in his career, sending yet another message to previous selectors who overlooked his record for nearly a decade.

Alam continued his excellent form in the five-day format as he cracked his fifth century during the second Test against the West Indies in Jamaica, remaining unbeaten on 124 in the rain-affected contest as Pakistan declared their first innings on 302-9 on day three.

The 35-year-old became the fastest Asian batsman to score five Test centuries, reaching the landmark in his 22nd innings and breaking the record of India's Cheteshwar Pujara who did so in his 24th. Among Pakistan batsmen, Younis Khan was the previous quickest to five Test tons, doing so in 28 innings.

The sizzling form of Fawad since his return has only added to the criticism towards pervious selectors and captains who did not pick the left-handed batsman despite him averaging over 55 for many years in domestic cricket. He made his debut in 2009 and got a second shot at Tests only in 2020 even though Pakistan did not have reliable middle-order batsmen after the retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in 2017.

Fawad was batting on 76 on Friday when he was forced to retire hurt with cramps in his left leg. Bad light affected the first day’s play and then rain washed out the entire second day and the first session of the third day. By then, Fawad had recovered and went on to complete his century.

“It wasn’t easy,” Fawad said. “The conditions were challenging. On day one it was hot and we were 3-2. We needed to come back in this Test match, we had to build partnerships as me and Babar [Azam, who made 75] did on the first day.

"You always feel proud when you score a century for your country so I am very happy right now. My dad has always been my motivation. He told me to keep on trying and my time will come and now it has and I am trying to make the most of it."

While talking to ESPNcricinfo earlier about his decade-long absence, Fawad refused to blame anyone.

"I've never blamed anyone," he said. "I have always been saying that fate had this for me. That if it was in my destiny, then nobody could have taken it away from me. I was only focusing on doing well in whatever opportunities I get to the fullest, even if it's domestic cricket."

Updated: August 23, 2021, 12:40 PM