I was just looking for an opportunity to prove myself: Ali

Opener scored a century on debut against Australia in Dubai during fourth ODI

I was just looking for an opportunity to prove myself: Ali PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan opener Abid Ali was satisfied on making the most of his one-day international (ODI) debut, after scoring a magnificent hundred during the fourth match of the series against Australia in Dubai.

Ali, only drafted into the side two hours before the start after Imamul Haq went down with fever, grabbed his opportunity, completing his hundred off 111 balls.

He was lucky to survive a leg-before appeal on 98 off Zampa as the review went on umpire's call. He took two singles to reach the three-figures mark.

Ali is the 15th batsman to score a hundred on ODI debut. Salim Elahi (102 not out v Sri Lanka at Gujranwala in 1995) and Imam (100 v Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi 2017) were the other two Pakistani batsmen to score debut ODI tons.

While speaking in the post-match press conference, Ali said that a positive attitude was one of the keys to his success.

“I was just looking for an opportunity to prove myself which I did,” said Ali. “I found about my debut in the morning, as Imam had fever. When I did find out, I was very happy and positive also as I had been doing well in the current season and scoring well.”

He added: “I would like to dedicate this century to my daughter, and to my family. I just needed a door to open for me, in terms of an opportunity to play for Pakistan, and the Almighty opened that path for me. I will continue to work hard and I would like to thank all the coaches in NCA for their help.”

While chasing a target of 278 runs, Pakistan got off to a bad start with opener Shan Masood departing for a duck on the fifth ball of the innings.

Talking about dealing with the early pressure, Ali said that middle-order batsman Haris Sohail helped him in retaining composure in the middle.

“We were a little disappointed when Shan Masood was out but then Haris Sohail came and said to me that I needed to play positively with confidence,” he said. “Of course there was pressure at the start but I cooled myself down. I just tried to be positive and to play good shots on merit."

The right-handed batsman also stressed on the importance of improving his fitness by stating: “I am also working on my fitness with the trainers here to try and improve myself as much as I can.”

Ali and Rizwan had put Pakistan on course for victory with a 144-run third-wicket stand but once Ali departed off leg-spinner Adam Zampa in the 42nd over, the innings wilted under the pressure of 60 runs in the last 8.5 overs.

"I feel that my getting out was the turning point. Our plan was to finish the game 1-2 overs early,” he said. “Rizwan said that if I get a chance, I should go for it but I got a top edge and got out which was disappointing."

The 31-year-old was disappointed on not taking his team over the line, despite his century effort.

“Obviously, I would have been much happier if the team had won the game,” he said. “When Umar Akmal and Saad Ali lost their wicket, that is when things got a little difficult as this was a time when we needed a run a ball. We were playing big shots but it’s a little disappointing that we did not finish the job.”

The win gives Australia a 4-0 lead with the last match also in Dubai on Sunday.