Experienced batsman Younis Khan proved his class with a superb century to put Pakistan in a good position on the second day of their third and final Test against England played in Dubai yesterday.
The 34-year-old right-hander scored an unbeaten 115 to repair the Pakistan innings after early wobbles with youngster Azhar Ali (75 not out) through an unbroken third-wicket stand of 194 to take their team to 222-2 at close.
Pakistan, who conceded a 42-run lead in the first innings after England made 141, now lead by 180 runs with eight wickets intact.
So in command were the duo that England’s bowlers, who wrecked Pakistan for 99 in the first innings, looked helpless and it seemed as if the match was not played on the same pitch on which 16 wickets fell on the first day.
Younis, who had only 66 runs in the past four innings, notched his 20th Test century — the first from either side in the series — with a sweep shot off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar for two, reaching the milestone off 166-balls.
Younis has so far hit 11 boundaries and a six.
Ali, who often praised Younis’s support for youngsters, batted with caution during his 14th half-century. He has so far hit 11 boundaries and a six.
Before the two came together, Pakistan had lost openers Taufiq Umar (6) and Mohammad Hafeez (21) in another disastrous start, leaving them at 30-2 at lunch and in danger of another collapse.
However, after lunch, Younis opened up once England captain Andrew Strauss introduced Jonathan Trott, smashing the occasional bowler to square-leg boundary to bring up Pakistan’s 100.
He then heaved Graeme Swann for another boundary and in the next over hit Trott for his sixth boundary to complete a well deserved half-century, his 26th in all Tests.
They took Pakistan to 120-2 at tea and continued to dominate even after England took the second new ball at 216-2.
Earlier, Abdul Rehman took 5-40 — his second five-wicket haul after a career-best 6-25 in Pakistan’s 72-run win in the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets, also in Dubai.
Paceman James Anderson again gave England an early breakthrough, forcing an edge off Umar, which Strauss held in front of his knees in the slips.
Hafeez, who hit a six off Monty Panesar, fell LBW to the left-armer in his next over, leaving Pakistan in trouble at 28-2.
Captain Strauss top-scored with 56 for England before he was stumped by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off Rehman. Strauss hit five boundaries during his laborious 150-ball stay at the crease.
Resuming at 104-6, England lost nightwatchman Anderson in the first over of the day when he missed a sharp turning delivery from Rehman and was bowled.
Two overs later, Rehman’s spin partner Saeed Ajmal trapped Stuart Broad (4) and after Strauss’s fall wrapped up the innings when Swann (16) holed out in the deep.
Ajmal finished with 3-59.