Experienced batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq hit sparkling centuries as Pakistan took command of the first Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Younis hit 136 for his 23rd Test century while Misbah was 105 not out for his fifth as Pakistan reached 327-4 at the close on the second day in reply to Sri Lanka’s first-innings total of 204.
Asad Shafiq was the other not out batsman with 12 as Pakistan dominated the day after Sri Lanka took two early wickets in the first session.
Pakistan now lead by a healthy 123 runs, primarily because of Younis and Misbah sharing a 218-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Younis hit spinner Rangana Herath for his 13th boundary to complete his century, taking just 47 balls for his second 50. He also hit a six.
Younis equaled Javed Miandad’s record of 23 centuries, the third-highest for Pakistan on a list topped by Inzamam-ul-Haq (25) and Mohammad Yousuf (24).
Younis was finally bowled by paceman Shaminda Eranga after his 198-ball knock, which included 19 fours and a six.
Misbah had luck on his side as he was dropped by Mahela Jayawardene when on 69 as he tried to paddle-sweep Herath and the fielder, moving to leg-slip, failed to hold an easy chance.
Misbah had also survived a close leg before wicket appeal on 48 off a luckless Herath as Sri Lanka’s referral was wasted when TV umpire Ravi Sundaram adjudged the ball had hit the bat.
The Pakistan skipper reached his century with a single off spinner Sachitra Senanayake, taking 297 minutes for the ton, which included 12 boundaries.
He has so far hit 13 boundaries in his chancy innings and once again proved to be the mainstay for Pakistan.
Sri Lanka had taken the second new ball with Pakistan 251-3, but they only bagged one wicket in the final two sessions.
Eranga was the best bowler with 2 for 63.
Sri Lanka had started the day by dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (11) and Ahmed Shehzad (38) after Pakistan resumed on 46-1.
Hafeez had started well, hitting two straight boundaries off Lakmal before miscuing a drive off the same bowler and was smartly caught at short-cover by Kaushal Silva.
Silva, also a wicketkeeper but selected as opener in this Test, dived to his left and caught the ball centimeters from the ground.
Shehzad also miscued a hook shot and was caught at forward square-leg by Dimuth Karunaratne after hitting three boundaries.
However, after those two wickets Misbah and Younis led Pakistan’s recovery.