Azhar Ali says he relishes the challenge of facing top quality bowlers after scoring an unbeaten century against a Sussex attack led in fine style by England’s Ollie Robinson.
The Pakistan star batted throughout the final day for a superb 103 not out spanning more than six hours to earn Worcestershire a draw in the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter.
Robinson finished the game with 14 wickets and was a constant threat in both innings.
But he was unable to find a way through Azhar’s defences and, with support from Adam Hose, Brett D’Oliveira and, at the conclusion of the game, Josh Tongue, secured a share of the spoils for Worcestershire.
His patience and concentration was rewarded when he turned Steve Smith to third man for his 11th boundary to reach three figures immediately before the two teams shook hands.
Azhar Ali said: “It’s quite pleasing to get that first hundred of the season because I felt like I was in good touch, especially in the first two games at Derby and Durham.
“I got in and got out, had a fifty and a couple of thirtys, and, when you are playing well, you want to make big scores.
“It was good to do it today when it was needed, and it augurs well. It was hard work out there, especially with the way Ollie Robinson was bowling on it.
“We knew it was going to be hard work and we thought if someone played a big innings it would make it easier and it was my day today.
“There were a lot of good contributions, especially Adam (Hose) and everyone played their part and at the end, the way Josh (Tongue) batted gave me a lot of confidence that we could do it.”
Azhar added: “Do I enjoy a battle of attrition? You always cherish when especially a Test bowler, or quality bowler getting some help out of the wicket, is up against you.
“When you score runs in that situation, it makes you feel much better and I enjoyed that challenge. It was quite tough.
“When the ball was hard, it started to talk again, but everyone tried hard, it’s all about partnerships, and everyone should be proud of themselves.”