Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Test, Harare, 4th day September 6, 2013

Experienced Younis wears Zimbabwe bowling down


Zimbabwe will look to Younis Khan for inspiration as they set out to save the first Test against Pakistan in Harare. Set a massive 342 for victory, Zimbabwe will hope to bat out the day with the same patience and poise Younis displayed during his 10-and-a-half hour period at the crease, during which he brought up a second undefeated 200.

Younis batted from the eighth over, when Pakistan were 21 for 2, until the end of the innings by which time he had put them in a commanding position. He saw off an extended period during which run-scoring was scant and shared in two century-stands and an 88-run last-wicket partnership to give Pakistan a healthy lead and show the value of an old-hand.

"It was a fantastic innings," Dav Whatmore said. "It really helped us out from the position we were in. When the captain was out, Younis really showed what he was capable of. He just continued and he showed a lot of faith in the younger players."

One of the two hundred partnerships Younis was involved in was with Adnan Akmal to make good on his intention, which he stated on Thursday evening, to help the next generation of Pakistan batsmen.

Through trying periods, during which Zimbabwe's bowlers rarely erred from a tight offstump line, Younis shepherded Adnan, who may have become frustrated were it not for the example Younis set.

"He is the experience in the team and he showed it. He batted, even when his strike rate went down, it didn't matter. Other players might have got out through fatigue but he kept going," Whatmore said.

Flower admitted Younis eventually "wore down our bowlers" and even though it likely batted Zimbabwe out of the match, it taught their batsmen how to apply themselves. "They can learn from his skills, his patience and how much he wanted it," Flower said. "He built an innings and showed why he is still one of the best Test batsmen in the world."

So impressive was the timing of Younis' knock - it started slowly, swelled gradually and accelerated the way he plays a late glance, at just the last moment - that Whamore called it "one of the finest innings I've seen." He also said it was a testament to Younis' commitment. "After the first innings, where he failed, he went back to the nets, he worked hard and it showed."

Whatmore now expects the same from his bowlers, who already made an inroad into Zimbabwe's line-up late on the fourth evening and have a full day to take the remaining nine wickets. "We think we've got enough time. More than 90 overs should be enough and we're hopeful spin can do the trick for us."

Pakistan are confident of taking a 1-0 lead in the series, which they are also using as preparation for what is expected to be a much sterner challenge against South Africa in the UAE next month. "This is ideal preparation. When we played South Africa in February, we had had a lot of stuff in coloured clothing but now this has worked out very well," Whatmore said.

His only outstanding wish was that Pakistan could have played at a different facility in addition to the one being used for this match. "It's not easy being at one venue. It's a pity we can't have a different scenery," he said. Their entire tour of two Twenty20s, three ODIs and two Tests has been Harare-based after ZC moved the second Test from Bulawayo to the capital as well.

Although a trip to the more spinner-friendly Queens Club would have suited Pakistan just fine, Whatmore said they are not complaining. "We understand the challenges and we are keen to play as much Test cricket as we can, just like Zimbabwe, so we'll take this for sure."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    from a pakistani fan's point of view, it is turning out to be an interesting test match.. pakistan was down and out in the first 3 and half day, but ended the fourth day game with having a commanding position in the game, thanx to outstanding double hundred from younis khan... i can expect more twist and turn on the final day

  • Amyn on September 7, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Pakistan has produced only 3 Test batsmen with more than 7,000 runs and average of more than 50. Younis is fast approaching to become the fourth. He has now 6949 runs and average of above 50. The other three are Javed, Inzi and Yousuf. Though, it was Younis's first century against Zimbabwe, but probably one of the most valuable in terms of not only saving Pakistan team of real embarrassment of losing a Test match against Zimbabwe, but producing a winning situation.

  • Muhammad on September 7, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Younis Khan deserve to be appointed as Test captain at least because if Pakistan have different captains for T20 and ODI then why not for Test. His performance and support for younger shows that he is 100% capable to handle this team for test matches and in his previous captaincy he wins many matches for Pakistan specially World T20 as captain. If we look throughout his career he remain calm in every difficult situation and produce magnificent innings . His batting avg. is more than 50 in test and he can still play a lot for Pakistan cricket even in ODI if the selectors bring him in the squad specially in the coming SA series in U.A.E where the pitch is ideally suited for Batsmen like Younis Khan a magician to play calm and produce Tons. Keep it up Younis Khan you are the truly experienced cricketer of recent Pakistan team.

  • Android on September 7, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Pakistan should win this test

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    Well done younis nice job. experience sounds mote than anything

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Younis khan needs to be capatain , he's got the experience , international exposure and the confidence that we had when we were a fighting / performing unit with inzamam , yousuf, razzaq etc . Afridi is still there but he is not a master of his craft he is occasional. Younis is a master. Misbah lacks the confidence of a winner , hes just not exposed enough.

  • Qaasim on September 6, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    Younis Khan is a very passionate cricketer ... The thing that really proved his love for the game and his country today was when Pakistan declared the innings and came out after the short break to take the field, Younis was out straight away. Usually when a player scores big he stays in longer to get rest and a massage but Younis proved he is in his own class. The way he batted with Adnan and tried to help the youngster throughout the innings was fantastic.

    What a gentlemen and humble cricketer.

  • Farrukh on September 6, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Younis have always been a player to be admired. I remember watching him on his debut when Saeed Anwar brought him in the team against SL after more than 1100 runs in a season at average may be over 100 if I remember correctly.He scored 45 odd runs batting at 5 or 6. From the moment he faced his first ball I had belief that that this guy is tough but sensible and will go down as one of the greats. He has got temperament like old style Pakistani bowlers aggressive and hostile (which is never mind) but the way he upgrades himself for test batting in tough situations specially in batting second is unbelievable. Even today's performance many people may forget in near future, but it's the same commitment and desire that he had shown for many years whether it be in India in Inzi's era where he got a pair and then scored double hundred, recently in SA, that ODI century of class against England, and 313 vs NZ etc. Class Act. Hope to see some more years of test cricket from you Younis

  • Babar on September 6, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    Great knock by YK.

    In all of this please also give a nod to the hard work and discipline the inexpereinced Zimbabwe team has shown throughout the series.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    The recent form of Younis hasn't been anything but a conundrum for the fans and the selectors. He barely managed to put bat on ball in 5 out of 6 innings on the SA tour and was highly out of form. Yet in that first innings in Capetown when his team was 33/4, he produced a magical hundred against the likes of Steyn, Philander and Morkel. For me that innings still goes right at the top. Even in this match, after the failure in the first innings it looked that Younis is on the wrong side of his age and should leave with dignity but today he left every critic of him totally bamboozled by producing another match saving (potentially winning) innings. He also showed the importance of converting fifties into dady hundreds- something you need to do consistently if you want to excel at the test level. I hope he can be consistent with such performances.

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