Younis’ triple ton takes Pakistan closer to draw


Karachi : Younis Khan celebrated his ascent to Pakistan captaincy with a brilliant triple century to take his team close to a draw in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium here Tuesday.

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At stumps on the fourth day, Pakistan were comfortably placed at 574 for five, with Younis hitting an unbeaten 306 to almost single-handedly take his team out of trouble. Kamran Akmal was the other unbeaten batsman at 27.

During the course of play, Pakistan avoided the follow-on and are now just 70 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 644-7 declared.

Younis, 31, reverse swept Muttiah Muralitharan for three runs to complete his first triple century. Before him two Pakistanis – Hanif Mohammad and Inzamam-ul-Haq have scored triple tons.

It is the first time that a triple century has been scored against Sri Lanka as Younis surpassed Martin Crowe’s 299 against the islanders.

Younis, playing his 59th Test, also completed his 5000 runs in Test cricket. He reached his 300 after 11 hours and 21 minutes, facing 510 balls, hitting 27 fours and four sixes in his resolute knock that seems to have saved Pakistan in the match. With his 300, Younis took Pakistan to 550-5 in the fourth day’s last session, still 94 behind Sri Lanka’s 644-7 declared in the first innings.

Earlier in the second session, another record tumbled during the session when Younis completed his double ton, making it for the first time in Test history that both captains have scored a double century in the same Test. Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene scored 240 in the first innings.

Younis’ second double hundred came when he drove Dilhara Fernando at cover to pick up two runs. When he reached 241, Younis broke the record for the highest individual total achieved in an innings at the National Stadium, surpassing Jayawardene’s 240 posted in the same Test.

Pakistan, who began the day at 296-3, still needed 149 more runs to avoid the follow-on. During the course of the day, they scored 278 more runs for the loss of just two wickets – that of Misbah-ul-Haq and Faisal Iqbal.

Misbah’s wicket was the only setback Pakistan suffered in the morning session. It was a good length delivery from Dilhara Fernando that nipped back in from the off stump and trapped Misbah LBW.

Misbah’s patient 42 came after almost a four-and-a-half hours stay at the wicket in which he faced 153 balls. He hit three fours and a six.

Fernando’s wicket was the first strike by a pacer since the first session when Pakistan medium fast bowlers Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat picked up the Sri Lankan openers.

Together with Misbah, Younis put on 138 runs for the fourth wicket. Younis added 178 for the fifth wicket with Faisal Iqbal, who made a composed 57 off 141 balls in 174 minutes. It was Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene, who scalped Faisal with a delivery that kept low and the batsman missed it while going for a pull shot and was trapped LBW.