Younus Leads Strong Pakistan Recovery

Younus Khan celebrates a century in Galle
Younus Khan celebrates his 24th Test century which helped Pakistan close day one in Galle in a strong position
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan 261-4 (Younus Khan 133no) v Sri Lanka
First Test, Galle, day one


Younus Khan's 24th Test century and a half-century from Asad Shafiq helped Pakistan recover from a poor first session to close day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on 261 for four.

Team Line-Ups

Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (+), Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Talha, Junaid Khan

Sri Lanka: Kaushal Silva, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (c), Kithruwan Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella (+), Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga

After a delayed start due to a wet outfield, Pakistan limped to lunch at 59 for three before Younus' 133 not out, a doughty 31 from captain Misbah-ul-Haq and 55 not out from Asad Shafiq guided them to a much stronger position.

In the course of his 228-ball innings, Younus moved into joint second place in Pakistan's list of century-makers, alongside Mohammad Yousuf, and his century partnership with Misbah was the 50th such stand of his Test career.

Misbah himself has now shared in 10 of them and his 100-ball innings helped begin the recovery after Dhammika Prasad (2-54) and Rangana Herath (2-68) had given Sri Lanka a fine start in the morning after they lost the toss.

Despite not playing a Test match since January, when these two teams met in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan named an unchanged side.

As expected, Sri Lanka recalled the fit-again Shaminda Eranga as well as Prasad in place of Ajantha Mendis and the injured Suranga Lakmal.

And it was Prasad who delivered the telling blows in the early exchanges to remove openers Khurram Manzoor (3) and Ahmed Shehzad (4) cheaply.

The latter was bowled with just the ninth ball of the match as he tried to play at a ball he could well have left alone, edging onto his stumps before Manzoor followed in the sixth over when he was trapped in front.

That brought Azhar Ali (30) and Younus together and they almost made it to the lunch break unscathed, only for Herath to bowl Azhar as he played down the wrong line to one that kissed the off stump.

At this stage, the main positive for Pakistan was that they at least had, in Younus and Misbah, their most experienced and most battle-hardened batsmen at the crease and together they blunted Sri Lanka's attack.

Younus reached a 29th half-century, then before tea the pair completed a half-century partnership to take their side out of the mire, the former able to review two leg before decisions given against him off Dilruwan Perera and Prasad.

Most Test Centuries For Pakistan

25: Inzamam-ul-Haq

24: Mohammad Yousuf, Younus Khan

23: Javed Miandad

15: Salim Malik

12: Hanif Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Ijaz Ahmed

He took full advantage of this to reach a century after tea, with the 100-run partnership with Misbah also coming up shortly before Misbah was excellently caught by wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella off Herath.

The score was then 156 for four and Younus simply continued from where he and Misbah had left off, with Shafiq playing a much more attacking game, hitting six fours and a six in his fluent unbeaten 55 in 110 balls.

By stumps, they had advanced their unbroken fifth-wicket stand to 105, meaning that each partnership in the innings was larger than the previous one - a neat progression and a very healthy one for the tourists.

© Cricket World 2014