CRICKET / Their partnership puts Pakistan in control
Experienced batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq hit sparkling hundreds as Pakistan took command in the first Test against Sri Lanka here on Wednesday.
Younis hit 136 to notch up his 23rd hundred while Misbah (105 batting) scored his fifth, as Pakistan reached 327 for four at stumps on the second day in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 204.
Asad Shafiq was the other batsman at the crease with 12 as Pakistan dominated the day after Sri Lanka took two early wickets in the first session.
Pakistan now leads by a healthy 123 runs, courtesy Younis and Misbah’s partnership of 218 runs for the fourth wicket.
Younis hit spinner Rangana Herath for his 13th boundary to complete his hundred, taking just 47 balls for his second 50.
Younis equalled Javed Miandad’s record of 23 centuries, the third highest for Pakistan in the list topped by Inzamam-ul-Haq (25) and Mohammad Yousuf (24).
Younis was finally bowled by paceman Shaminda Eranga after his 198-ball knock which included 19 fours and a six.
Misbah had luck on his side as he was dropped by Mahela Jayawardene when on 69, as he tried to paddle sweep Herath and the fielder, moving to leg-slip, failed to hold an easy chance.
Misbah had also survived a close leg-before appeal on 48 off a luckless Herath as Sri Lanka's referral was wasted as TV umpire Ravi Sundaram adjudged the ball had hit the bat.
The Pakistani skipper reached his hundred with a single off spinner Sachitra Senanayake, which included 12 boundaries. He once again proved to be the mainstay for Pakistan.
Sri Lanka took the second new ball with Pakistan at 251 for three but it only bagged one wicket in the last two sessions. Eranga was the best bowler with two for 63.
Sri Lanka started the day by dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (11) and Ahmed Shehzad (38) after Pakistan resumed at 46 for one.
Hafeez started well, hitting two straight boundaries off Lakmal before miscuing a drive off the same bowler and was smartly caught at short cover by Kaushal Silva.
Silva, also a wicketkeeper but selected as opener in this Test, dived to his left and caught the ball inches from the ground. Shehzad miscued a hook and was caught at square-leg by Dimuth Karunaratne after hitting three boundaries.
But after the fall of those two wickets, Misbah and Younis led Pakistan’s recovery. — AFP