Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Test, Harare, 5th day September 7, 2013

Wanted Younis to reach 200 - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff

Misbah-ul-Haq wanted Younis Khan to reach his double-century before calling an end to Pakistan's second innings but said the senior batsman would have been fine even if the declaration had come before the individual landmark.

Misbah declared late on day four as soon as Younis hit Prosper Utseya for six to move from 194 to 200, having lifted Pakistan from 169 for 5 to an imposing 419 for 9 to set Zimbabwe a target of 342. The hosts were dismissed for 120 on the final morning, with Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman taking four wickets each.

"I wanted Younis to get to 200 because he really deserved that," Misbah said. "I told him how many overs I was going to give him. He was (on) 188 at the time and said, 'no problem, you can declare as soon as you want'. He is a team man and he would not have said anything if I declared before he got to 200 but I wanted him to get it."

Younis was helped by No 7 Adnan Akmal and last man Rahat Ali in building Pakistan's position, and he acknowledged their roles. "When you've played a lot of Test cricket, you know when to block and when to score runs," Younis said. "I knew that if I batted for most of the day, I could take the lead to almost 300. I had a good partnership with Rahat Ali at the end. He helped me get to 200.

"I think he (Adnan) is a much improved player. I just kept saying to him 'play straight because even though their bowlers are doing well, soon you will get some runs.' Quickly, he had 20 or 30 and when you have that you can go on and get more. That's how Test cricket is."

Younis' unbeaten 200 came after he fell for 3 in the first innings, in his first match for Pakistan in more than five months. He said it was a difficult proposition playing low-ranked teams such as Zimbabwe. "It's very hard because if you do well everybody expects you to do well and if you don't do well, people ask you why you didn't do well," Younis said. "At the end of the day, it is Test cricket and they are playing it because they are good. Look at it, for the first three-and-half days, Zimbabwe won every session and then we just won one or two sessions at the end and we won the match."

Despite taking a 78-run first-innings lead, Zimbabwe were unable to press their advantage and collapsed inside 40 overs on the final day. Younis held the home side's inexperience responsible for their capitulation. "Teams like Zimbabwe need more Test cricket," Younis said. "They need to get more experience because that is the only way they'll know how to go on and win matches. That's the same for everyone. That's how you learn, when you play more Test cricket."

Misbah said he knew Zimbabwe would compete but was confident in Pakistan's ability to recover lost ground. "I expected a fight but I must say they really gave us a tough time," Misbah said. "They were in control for much of the match but I knew my team is capable of fighting back. I thought as long as we had 100 to 105 overs, we could bowl them out."

As it turned out, Pakistan needed just 46.4 overs to run through Zimbabwe, with Ajmal taking his match tally to 11 wickets. "He is a world-class bowler," Misbah said. "Without him, I'd say we couldn't even think of playing. He is a big advantage for us."

With Ajmal in such form and Rehman contributing in the second innings as well, Pakistan did not require the offspin of Mohammad Hafeez. "He is definitely fit for bowling," Misbah said of the Pakistan Twenty20 captain. "He passed a fitness test before this match. But we wanted to use our frontline spinners and that's why I didn't use him."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • raheel on September 8, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Well done to Pakistan and Younis Khan for diggings us out of big trouble. I'm really disappointed with the openers they got us in to real trouble twice. We need to drop them both and bring in Shezad and Nasir. This is the best opportunity to get these to openers to get some experience. If Hafeez and Manzoor can't handle Zimbabwe's attach what chances do they have against world class bowling attack. They are an embarrassment to Pakistan cricket. Hafeez has not done enough to warrant a place in test side and is only getting older. I'm at a loss with this selection policy somehow they never fail to surprise me. Rahat Ali maybe hard working but in test arena it's about taking wickets especially if are bowling with they new ball.

  • Vinod on September 8, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    Great stuff from Younus. We cant say against a weak team this time since they were dominating the proceedings which had put Pakistan under pressure for sometime during the second innings. What a come back from the veteran!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 8, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Of Course the result of test match was in pakistan's favour but Zimbabwe won more number of session where as Pak only two sessions. This is some thing to worry about

  • Aram on September 8, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    YK applied himself very well.He was Passionate in his innings. Azhar Ali at a times become very slow. the strike rate of 37 against Zimbabwe isn't encouraging sign. Asad should get his act together now. Junaid is awesome prospect for the future. well done Younis Khan. You led from the front. well deserved 200*. Hats Off

  • Masood on September 7, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    Great game, both teams should take something from this. Pakistan as the recovery kings and Zim for having Pakistan under the cosh for so long.

    Pakistan rarely fightback when they are in a losing position unlike the other major cricketing nations who dont give up till the last ball has been bowled. I have seen Pakistan lay down and give up way too often and this was inspiring.

    Zimbabwe had us on the run for most of the match and were unlucky Younis scored as much as he did. I feel the outcome would have been different if his score was removed from the equation. The thing to remember is a double century is a rare thing from anyone. They should go into the next match with enthusiasm and fire and have as good a chance of getting a result as Pakistan do.

  • Syed on September 7, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    I think Misbah and Younis are one of the few nicest guys in the Pakistan team. They get the most criticism but without such players, although Pakistan's bowling is amazing, their batsmen would just fail. Nevertheless their batting can actually be one of the strongest if they click.

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Hafeez should be dropped from test matches.we dont need him in test matches.We need Nasir jamshed in tests.Also we dont need Rahat ali, wahab riaz is better than him.

  • Umar on September 7, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Only change I would like to see is Khurram out and either of Faisal Iqbal or Shan Masood in. Rahat Ali is hard working bowler.

  • Dummy4 on September 7, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Just shows the class of YK. He was ok with Misbah declaring with him on 188!!! I hope everybody remembers this, so if he has 1 bad series (like RSA), people dont freak out. The man averages 50+