KARACHI: Seasoned batsman Younus Khan did not just make a mere comeback, he hit a masterful century upon his return to lift Pakistan against the West Indies on the opening day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
The middle-order batsman, who missed the opening Test as he was recovering from a dengue fever, made 128 before being dismissed by Kraigg Brathwaite as Pakistan made 304-4 before bad light forced early stumps.
Younus, who hit 10 boundaries and a six, made 87 runs with Asad Shafiq (68) and followed that up with a 175-run partnership with captain Misbahul Haq (90 not out) to put the hosts in a commanding position.
“It was a Herculean task to make such a comeback after recovering from an illness like dengue,” former Test cricketer Saleem Jaffar told The Express Tribune.
“It takes a lot of mental strength and incredible fitness to perform like that. Younus has once again proven he’s Pakistan’s number one Test batsman,” said the former pacer.
He further added, “Misbah also played a crucial role on the first day. Both [Misbah, Younus] are the fittest players in the team and are great examples for the youngsters.”
Misbah, who has now equalled Imran Khan’s record of most Test matches as Pakistan captain with 48, hit two sixes and four boundaries as he worked in tandem with Younus to build an imposing total.
He drove spinner Roston Chase for his eighth boundary to complete his hundred — his 31st score of over 100 without being dismissed in nineties — the most in Test cricket.
Younus and Shafiq led the early recovery after Pakistan lost openers Azhar Ali (naught) and Sami Aslam (six) in the first hour.
Shafiq batted well in the extended two-and-a-half hour first session due to Friday prayers, hitting seven boundaries before playing on to Gabriel.
Azhar, who scored a career best 302 not out in Dubai, played on to Gabriel in the fifth over before Aslam was bowled by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo attempting an ambitious drive.
Pakistan, who lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Dubai by 56 runs, brought in Younus, Zulfiqar Babar and Rahat Ali as they made three changes to their line-up.
Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir (both rested) and Babar Azam were the trio to make way.
And Jaffer hailed the decision, “Pakistan missed Babar in the first Test and his selection was inevitable. It’s a good sign that Pakistan have options as they can afford to drop key bowlers like Amir and Wahab,” he said.
The third and final Test starts in Sharjah from October 30.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2016.
The post Hosts in Khan-trol: Younus Pakistan’s best in Tests: Jaffer appeared first on The Express Tribune.