Monday, February 23, 2009

SRILANKA VS PAKISTAN 1st TEST:Younis Ton keeps Pakistan alive

Skipper Younis Khan's defiant unbeaten 149 kept Pakistan alive as the hosts reached 296 for three in reply to Sri Lanka's massive first innings 644 for seven on third day of the first cricket Test here on Monday.Younis paired up with Shoaib Malik, whom he replaced as captain recently, and added 149 runs for the third wicket after Pakistan were reduced to 78 for two.Vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq was giving his skipper company on 20 when the stumps were drawn for the day.Younis negotiated the Lankan spin duo Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis by employing reverse sweeps with consummate ease on a number of occasions.The skipper, who got a life while on 92 when Tillakaratne Dilshan dropped a chance at short mid-wicket off Mendis, adorned his innings with 17 boundaries.He found a able ally in Malik who scored a resilient 56 before getting run out after tea through a direct hit from mid-off.Pakistan still require another 149 runs to avoid the follow-on.Earlier, resuming on overnight score of 44 for one, Pakistan suffered early jolt when opener K Manzoor was dismissed by Mendis' turning delivery for 27.The second wicket of the day fell just after tea when Malik was run out by a direct hit from Muralitharan while trying to steal a sharp single to mid-off. But that was after Malik had shared 149 runs with Younis for the third wicket and taken Pakistan to 227. The two senior batsmen played sensibly as the Lankan spinners tried to take advantage of the slow turn in the pitch.Malik faced 168 balls and hit seven fours in his innings.

Younis, who completed his hundred after facing 191 balls, then ensured in the company of his deputy Misbah-ul-Haq that no further damage was done to the home side.Visiting skipper Jayawardene even took the second new ball but his most experienced pair of bowlers, Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan failed to remove Younis.Mendis gave away 78 runs in exchange of his lone wicket while Muralitharan could not add any wicket today after claiming Salman Butt on the second day.

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