Younis Khan lifts Pakistan’s spirits

Younis Khan smashed a spectacular century as Pakistan secured a creditable draw against South Africa in the first Test at the Dubai International Cricket stadium on Tuesday.

By Adur Pradeep

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Published: Tue 16 Nov 2010, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:47 AM

Younis and captain Misbah-ul-Haq added an unbeaten 186 runs for the fourth wicket to lead a remarkable turnaround in the fate of the Test, titled in favour of South Afrcia after they set a daunting target of 451 in the second innings on Monday. But a spectacular fight back from Pakisan, led by Younis in the company of Misbhah and Azhar Ali, at one stage even threatened to take away the match from the Proteas.

Younis remained not out on 131 off 230 balls, while Misbah was unbeaten on 76 from 185 balls as both the sides settled for a draw when 14 overs were still left on the fifth and final day.

Pakistan were 343 for 3 off 117 overs in their second innings at the close of day five.

Younis, playing his first Test since July last year, smashed nine fours and four sixes on his way to a match-saving ton and offered enough for the holiday crowd to cheer.

Misbah, captaining the side for the first time, shrugged off the lone chance given by South Africa when he was batting on eight, and played a responsible knock, containing eight fours and one six.

After playing the waiting game for a while, Younis changed gears when Pakistan looked to up the tempo. With 167 runs requiring from 30 overs in the last session, Pakistan even had a remote chance for an upset victory. A Twenty20 approach was the need of the hour, but the team, without the likes of big hitters like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq, eventually preferred the safe option.

Still, it was a remarkable turnaround for a team, who had to fight with a lone pacer and two spinners in the Test after their seamer Wahab Riaz picked up an injury at the end of day one.

With a match-saving century in the second innings here, Younis had a total of three fourth-innings hundred against South Africa. The 32-year old right-hander, who has 17 Test centuries to his credit, crossed the three figure mark in style, smashing Botha for a huge six over mid-wicket. Mishbah, who had two Test centuries, completed his third half-century by hitting Botha for a big six.

Younis, dropped on 16 and 70, earlier had a crucial 82-run partnership with young Ali as the duo played out 27.5 overs.

Left-arm spinner Paul Harris provided the first breakthrough, as Ali, beaten by the turn, was clean bowled. The 25-year old Ali, who hit a patient half-century in the first innings, played one more responsible knock to boost his credentials as a reliable Test batsman.

Ali, playing in just his seventh Test and has four half-centuries, made 63 off 150 balls and hit seven fours.

South Africa’s hopes for a victory vanished when they dropped a couple of chances in the morning session. Resuming at 109-2, Pakistan had a lucky escape in the fourth over when wicketkeeper Mark Boucher dropped Younis, on 16, off the bowling of paceman Dale Steyn.

Younis then got a reprieve on 70 as Jacques Kallis grassed the opportunity at slips. Just before the lunch break, Misbah, batting on 8, was put down by Hashim Amla at short leg.

Botha bowled a long spell, taking one wicket for 138 off 38 overs, while Steyn operated 22 overs to end with figures of 1-82. First innings hero Morne Morkel went wicket-less, while Harris bagged one wicket for 57 from his 31 overs.

The second and final Test will be held at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi from November 20 to 24.

pradeep@khaleejtimes.com



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