Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day August 6, 2014

Younis century leads Pakistan recovery


Younis Khan battled almost through the entire day © AFP

Pakistan 261 for 4 (Younis 133*, Shafiq 55*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

When Misbah-ul-Haq chose to bat, the skies were overcast and the pitch had been under covers following overnight rain. The ball moved around for a while, and Pakistan lost their openers inside six overs. Then came in Younis Khan and fought his way through to lunch. By stumps, Younis was batting on 133, had equalled Mohammad Yousuf for 24 Test centuries, the second-most by a Pakistani, and had gone past the latter's 7530 Test runs.

Younis and Azhar Ali started the resistance from 19 for 2. Younis then added 100 with his captain Misbah and piled on an unbroken 105 with Asad Shafiq. Rangana Herath persevered for 26 overs, and took out Azhar Ali and Misbah with rippers, but even he could not dislodge Younis, who just got better and better as the day progressed.

There was swing as well as seam in the morning, and the hustling pace of Dhammika Prasad made the combination hard to tackle. He moved the ball in consistently and took the odd one away, leaving Azhar, in particular, groping. Before that, Ahmed Shehzad failed to cover enough for an inswinger, and chopped on his third ball on to the middle stump. His opening partner, Khurram Manzoor, kept falling over in his stance and was caught in front with another incoming delivery.

Azhar, aside from his struggles, also played some lovely cover drives for fours. Those boundaries were a fitting reply to the pressure Prasad created, but after the burst from the fast bowler, Pakistan had to contend with relentless examination from Herath. Finding turn and occasional bounce early in the match, Herath pitched one on middle stump, drew Azhar forward, and spun it past the outside edge to strike the top of off.

Younis took his time as usual, gradually playing himself in. He hung back when he could, and also used the sweep regularly to counter the spinners. The frequency of the stroke only increased after lunch, and Younis swept and reverse-swept Dilruwan Perera off successive deliveries. It was Misbah's turn to try a paddle off the very next ball, and Perera switched to round the wicket thereafter.

It only allowed Younis to bat even more positively against the offspinner; the batsman collected 48 off the 43 balls he faced from Perera. Just before drinks in the second session, Younis swept, lofted and drove Perera for three consecutive fours. Younis also stepped out to hit Perera for six. Two balls later, he hit a reverse-sweep in the air, and Mahela Jayawardene, moving to his right from slip, got both hands to it but could not hold on. Younis was on 68.

He had already reviewed twice successfully, once on 20 after being given caught behind off Prasad, and on 59 after he was adjudged leg-before to Perera. On the first occasion, replays showed there was no bat involved, and on the second, the ball-tracker showed the delivery would have bounced just over the stumps.

Misbah had a review against him turned down when he was yet to get off the mark, with replays signalling umpire's call on the point of impact off Angelo Mathews. Misbah took his first run off his 17th delivery, and his second scoring shot was a hook off Prasad off his 40th. He was happy to stay right back or lunge right forward and defend initially as Younis went about the scoring business. Sweeps and nudges brought him the odd run. Misbah battled till his 100th delivery proved to be a Herath stunner that pitched middle and leg and jagged past the push to take a nick through to the keeper.

Shafiq joined Younis and was quite eager to punish the bad deliveries. He was particularly severe on the cut and the pull and even charged at Herath to hit him for a straight six. Pakistan rotated strike faster now and quickened up the scoring before the second new ball approached. Younis launched a series of powerful drives through the off side, the standout stroke being when he moved inside the line of a Herath ball to lift it over extra cover. With the surface having eased out considerably, the second new ball was much easier to handle than the first, and Pakistan closed the day having taken the last two sessions.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    honest player ... pure test cricketer

  • Android on August 7, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    good performance under pressure

  • Android on August 7, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    the whole cricketing nation is proud of u n love u, keep showing ur high class good luck

  • Malik on August 7, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Watching Younis Khan smiling always when he bats, fields or anywhere really makes the entire Pakistani nation proud. During this testing time due to various uncertain situation in Pakistan, this man has really stood up with his great smile to bring the nation alive. Keep going YK, we are really proud of you !! :)

  • Android on August 7, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    Younis Khan legendary player of the world.. Greatest man of the world... He laughs every time and situation bcoz its a cool man.. Today he will be make double century InShaAllah

  • umar on August 7, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    Well done pakistan ,well done younis khan

  • Malik on August 7, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Ramiz Raja during his commentary suggested Methwes to bring some changes in the field like putting a short leg, short cover, short mid-on or shot mid-off, leg gully etc. This will make the batsmen think differently. Come on Methwes, make this test an interesting one. So far in the first session of 2nd days play it has become one-sided affair.....

  • Dummy on August 7, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    @11_warrior: Fawad alam is one who has average above 40.

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    Sri Lanka is still struggling with lack of penetrating bowlers. This clearly shows by big scoring of front line batsmen of the opposite sides.No Srilankan seamer could deliver wicket to wicket balls, causing heavy damage to the score board. A big task in front of SL trainers and selectors before the next world cup if Sl is expecting something to do.

  • N on August 7, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    Well done Younis Khan! This guy is one of the most under-appreciated batsmen in the world. He has an average of over 50 and has consistently dielivered mostly when Pakistan needed him. Thanks for showing the "real" quality of Srilankan bowling even in conditions that favour Srilanka. Good luck from India.

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