Younis ton takes Pakistan to safer shores (Lead)

February 23rd, 2009 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 23 (IANS) Newly appointed captain Younis Khan hit his 16th Test ton to shepherd Pakistan towards safer shores on the third day of their first Test against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium here Monday.
Younis was unbeaten on a gritty 149 with Misbah-ul-Haq (20) the other not out batsman, as Pakistan ended the third day at 296 for the loss of three wickets.

Chasing a mammoth Sri Lankan first innings total (644-7 declared), Pakistan still need 149 more runs to avoid a follow-on. They are trailing the visitors by 348 runs.

But things could have been worse for the home side, had Younis failed to hold fort. He lost debutant opener Khurram Manzoor (27) in the first session but then shared a resolute 149-partnership with Shoaib Malik - the man whom he replaced as Pakistan captain last month.

Once Malik was run out by Muttiah Muralitharan for a patient 56, Younis teamed up with Misbah to ensure that Pakistan finished the day with hopes of saving the series-opening Test.

Younis, who resumed his innings Monday at nought, batted the whole day to reach his 149 off 282 balls with 17 fours.

Malik’s was also a crucial knock as it came at a time when Pakistan were reeling at 78-2 when Manzoor fell in the first session. Malik scored his 56 off 168 balls with seven boundaries. Malik fell when he drove Mendis and then rushed for a quick single but failed to beat Murali’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

Misbah then faced 68 balls for his 20 and took Pakistan towards relative safety with his captain. Murali and Mendis did the bulk of the bowling. Murali finished with 1-92 while Mendis had figures of 1-78 at close of play.

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