Younis, Malik play rescue act for Pakistan
Skipper Younis Khan led from the front with a stubborn unbeaten
century as Pakistan fought back well to reach a healthy 296 for 3 in
their first innings on the third day of the opening cricket Test match
against Sri Lanka continued at the National Stadium in Karachi
The 31 year old right hander from Peshawar leading the side for the
first time gave the Lankans the taste of their own medicine by hammering
an unbeaten 149 while occupying the crease throughout the day.
This means that Pakistan have batted themselves in to a position of
safety as they are trailing by 348 runs and only 148 runs required to
avert the follow on. This was a tremendous effort from the Pakistan
captain considering the amount of pressure and the opposition he was up
The conditions of course still favour the batsmen but still it needed
some real courage and determination to overcome this tough situation
against two quality spinners. Younis Khan was prepared to take up the
challenge as he toiled hard under hot conditions to put his team in a
Younis Khan batted with a great amount of confidence and busy out in
the middle where he collected his runs from all areas of the wicket. He
executed three elegant cover drives off Chaminda Vaas and another square
drive against Dilhara Fernando during the opening session.
However Younis Khan was very cautious against the spinners although
he did make certain that the loose deliveries are put away to the
boundary with a minimum effort. His third wicket partnership with former
captain Shoaib Malik certainly brought them back into the game and
provided hopes of forcing a draw.
Khan reached his 16th Test hundred from 191 deliveries with the help
of eleven boundaries. He was of course earlier dropped by Tillekeratne
Dilshan from the bowling of Ajantha Mendis.
Even then Pakistan decided to progress slowly as they had to chase a
mountain of runs although the Sri Lankan bowlers flourished under lack
of pressure during the first session which saw only 79 runs been scored
for the loss of one wicket.
In fact Pakistan were crawling at the beginning as 22 runs came in
the initial 10 overs and another 26 runs in the second 10 overs. However
Younis Khan increased the momentum after the break to ensure that the
day did not entirely belong to the visitors.
The Lankans of course maintained a tight line and length with some
disciplined and crafty bowling on a flat track.
Muttiah Muralitharan tried his off breaks and doosras at different
speeds while creating panic among the Pakistani batsmen.
Mendis too put aside his dismal record in the recent home one day
international series against India to harass the batsmen and created
several anxious moments to the home side.
In fact he came very close of removing Younis Khan with an off break
but the confident appeal was turned down.
Mendis also should have captured the wicket of Shoaib Malik on 15 but
wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardena could not hold on to a tough chance
behind the stumps. Malik was eventually run out for a well compiled 56
which was studded with seven boundaries.
Mendis and Jayawardena had earlier combined quite successfully to
remove the debutant Khurram Manzoor in a similar manner.
Manzoor of course did not read the spinners well at all and continued
to struggle before he departed after a stubborn 27 having occupied the
crease for 145 minutes stroking three boundaries.
SRI LANKA 1st innings 644-7 declared
(M. Jayawardene 240, T. Samaraweera 231)
PAKISTAN 1st innings (overnight 44-1)
Khurram Manzoor c P. Jayawardene b Mendis 27
Salman Butt c M. Jayawardene b Muralitharan 23
Younus Khan not out 149
Shoaib Malik run out 56
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 20
EXTRAS: (b4, lb2, nb14, w1) 21
TOTAL: (for three wkts) 296
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-44 (Butt), 2-78 (Manzoor), 3-227 (Malik).
BOWLING: Vaas 20-4-41-0 (5nb), Fernando 22-1-75-0 (6nb, 1w), Mendis 35-9-78-1 (3nb), Muralitharan 34-7-92-1, Dilshan 1-0-4-0.