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August 6, 2006
While the third-wicket pair were in full cry after lunch England's attack was listless and Andrew Strauss was struggling to know where to turn on a surface doing less than expected. The second new ball had caused the occasional alarm but the scoring rate remained high and thoughts were turning to what could happen if Pakistan built an advantage of around 200. That scenario disappeared as England claimed seven for 91 either side of tea through a variety of dismissals, which ranged from a direct-hit run out to Inzamam-ul-Haq falling into his stumps in a moment that will be flashed around TV screens for years to come.
However, the collapse just brought the monumental efforts of Yousuf and Younis into sharper focus and followed their 319-run stand against India at Lahore earlier this year. When this partnership sailed to 323 they set a new record for any Pakistan wicket against England, beating Javed Miandad and Salim Malik who added 322 at Edgbaston in 1992. It was also the best third-wicket partnership against England, surpassing the 338 shared by Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell at Port-of-Spain in 1953-54.
Yousuf was the first to reach a personal landmark, wasting no time in adding the nine runs he needed to his overnight total, bringing up century No. 18 with a top-edged hook off Steve Harmison. It wasn't his most convincing shot but spoke volumes for Pakistan's intent. They had indicated on the second evening that they weren't going to be cowed into a corner by England's huge total.
But as Yousuf showed at Lord's he doesn't stop when he reaches a hundred - something the home team's batsmen can learn from. With a flurry of boundaries against the second new ball, which stymied England's major chance of forcing a match-winning position, Yousuf was well on the way to his third double in six innings against England. There was almost a gasp of amazement when he gloved Harmison down the leg side eight short.
Throughout his innings he had just one ally and Younis lost nothing in comparison. In fact, his 173 was a chanceless innings full of pure strokeplay. He threaded the offside with picture-perfect drives and then dispatched a Paul Collingwood long-hop to the fence as his century - a first against England - came off 171 balls. The knock was a continuation of the form he showed at Old Trafford, but the difference here was that he hadn't fought a lone battle.
Collingwood finally picked up a Test wicket, in his 64th over, when Faisal Iqbal was trapped first ball and England's smiles turned to laughter with Inzamam's wicket. He went to paddle Monty Panesar into the leg side but overbalanced and fell over his stumps, dislodging the bails with his stomach. Chris Read had to show some nimble footwork to avoid a collision and Inzamam was left lying on the ground and slightly embarrassed.
Moving away from the humour of the incident, it gave Panesar a much deserved first wicket after he'd been the only bowler to offer Strauss any semblance of control as the seamers produced another erratic display. Still managing to find some turn, Panesar kept all the batsmen honest and again gave Yousuf his main moments of unease. However the crowning moment of his day was a tumbling catch at long-leg off Umar Gul which brought the crowd to their feet.
If Pakistan had really wanted to lay down the challenge to England they could have declared and made the weary Strauss and Marcus Trescothick face more than two overs. However, having been so far behind in this match Inzamam wasn't about to get too clever and has the psychological edge of a lead. There is time left for either side to claim the honours but, with Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif returning to fitness, life is suddenly looking brighter for Pakistan.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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