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Younis and Shafiq ensure calmness in the air

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'It's good to start the tour on a high' - Younis Khan (2:10)

Pakistan batsman Younis Khan talks after his unbeaten 99 on the first day of their tour match against Somerset at Taunton (2:10)

Pakistanis 324 for 5 (Younis 99*, Shafiq 80, Masood 62) v Somerset
Scorecard

There may be more impressive individual performances and more action-packed days in the next two or three months but, in the context of this Pakistan tour, this was an almost perfect start.

On a benign pitch, in front of a good natured crowd, Pakistan were able to ease their way into a tour that promises some tough moments on and perhaps off the pitch, with a low-key day - a wonderfully low key day from a Pakistan perspective - of gentle cricket.

It wasn't like this the last time they were here. The last time Pakistan were in Taunton, in September 2010, they were besieged. It was only days after the News of the World story had broken and, as helicopters hovered over their hotel and journalists waited in the car-park, the atmosphere inside the squad was anything but low key and gentle.

The Pakistan camp remain nervous, probably unnecessarily so, about the reception that awaits them on this tour. So to have started this trip with three weeks training out of the spotlight and then enjoy a relatively uneventful day during which nearly all of their top six enjoyed a decent amount of time in the middle represented an ideal start.

Not for the first time, Pakistan were grateful to the composure and class of Younis Khan. The 38-year-old, who missed the 2010 tour having fallen out of favour with the team management, finished the day unbeaten on 99 having added 179 for the fifth-wicket with Asad Shafiq.

It was not a flawless innings. Younis was reprieved on 20 (a tough chance wide to Marcus Trescothick's right at second slip) and again on 75 (when Alex Barrow was unable to cling on to an even tougher chance offered via the inside edge). But, in between times, he began to settle into the pace of pitch and the movement in the air and unveiled many of those familiar strokes - the devastating sweep, the flamboyant cut and the pleasing drives off front and back foot - that have already brought him more than 9,000 Test runs and 31 centuries.

"It's not easy for any team when they come to England," Younis said afterwards. "But we have come to the country very early and we are very well prepared. I think this may be the first time that Pakistan have batted well at the start of a tour. We nearly all had 50 or 60 balls in the middle.

"It would be fantastic for me if my performances helped the team do well. It would make me the happy man of the earth."

Shafiq was no less impressive. Joining Younis with the side on 132 for 4 and in just a little trouble, he survived an early run out chance but then was admirably compact and watchful in steering his side into a safer waters. While he may reflect he squandered an excellent opportunity to register a century - he sliced a somewhat wild drive off a wide one that turned a little - he will have taken confidence from this start.

The one man to miss out was the captain. Misbah-up-Haq felt for his second ball, a delivery some way outside off stump, without any foot movement and edged to slip.

Tougher challenges remain, of course. The days when county teams looked upon these matches as an opportunity to make a name for themselves are largely gone, especially for bowlers. So here Somerset, resting the Overton brothers and Lewis Gregory, fielded an attack that included three men with one Championship cap for the club between them including a first-class debut for 18-year-old off-spinner, Dominic Bess, who moved from Sidmouth to Exeter a couple of years ago to ensure him of more opportunity at club level.

They bowled tidily enough. Paul van Meekeren, a Dutch international who has been playing club cricket for Benwell Hill near Newcastle, has just signed until the end of the season and did himself no harm with a whole-hearted effort. After Mohammad Hafeez missed a straight one, van Meekeren produced a beauty that draw a stroke from Azhar Ali but left him to take the edge.

Tim Groenewald also finished with two wickets. Two balls before Misbah's departure he had seen Shan Masood fall across a straight one as he tried to whip the ball through the leg side.

But Josh Davey, the Scotland international, was less fortunate. After dropping a relatively simple caught and bowled chance offered by Masood on 17, he was also the unlucky bowler on both occasions that Younis was reprieved. On another day, he might also have won a leg before shout against Hafeez before the batsman had scored.

Masood, especially efficient off his legs, and Hafeez, who pulled successive sixes when the medium-paced Davey dropped short, may both feel they missed out on the chance to cash-in against this inexperienced attack. But, in terms of gaining time at the crease ahead of the serious business part of this tour, this was a pleasing start for Pakistan.