Younus hits triple century as Pak-SL Test heads for draw

February 25, 2009

AFP, Karachi
Younus Khan broke several records on his way to a pugnacious maiden triple hundred as the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka headed for a draw here on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Pakistan captain foiled all Sri Lanka’s attempts to take his wicket, finishing with an unbeaten 306 as Pakistan closed the fourth day on 574-5, trailing the tourists’ first-innings score of 644-7 declared by 70 runs.
On 299, Younus reverse-swept Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan towards third man to cross the 300-mark, becoming only the third Pakistani behind Hanif Mohammad and Inzamam-ul-Haq to achieve the feat in Tests.
The unflappable way in which Younus batted suggests that, on a dull fifth and final day, he may get past Mohammad’s highest Test score for Pakistan (337) and take on West Indian Brian Lara’s highest score of 400.
The Pakistan captain has so far batted for 12 hours and 11 minutes, hitting 27 boundaries and four sixes off 545 balls faced.
Lara posted Test cricket’s highest score against England at Antigua in 2004.
Younus’s previous best of 267 came against India in the Bangalore Tests four years ago.
Younus was involved in two resolute stands of 130 for the fourth wicket with Misbah-ul-Haq (42) and another 174 for the next with Faisal Iqbal (57) as Sri Lankan bowlers toiled on a flat National Stadium pitch.
When Younus reached 184, he completed 5,000 runs in his 59th Test, becoming the sixth Pakistani batsmen to achieve the tally.
The list is headed by Javed Miandad (8,832 in 124 Tests) and followed by Inzamam- ul-Haq (8,829 in 119), Mohammad Yousuf (6,770 in 79), Salim Malik (5,768 in 103) and Zaheer Abbas (5,062 in 78).
Younus also matched Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene who scored 240 in Sri Lanka’s mammoth total — the first time in Test cricket’s 132-year history that rival captains have scored double hundreds in the same match.
Younus reached his double hundred before tea, when he drove paceman Dilhara Fernando towards covers for three. It took him 528 minutes and 385 balls to reach the mark.
The stylish batsman from northwestern city of Mardan reached 250 soon after tea and then at 254 drove debutant Tharanga Paranavitana for a boundary to post the highest Test score by a Pakistan captain.
Wasim Akram held the previous record of 257, made against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996.
As Younus blocked one end, Sri Lanka managed only one wicket in the first session when Fernando trapped Misbah-ul-Haq in the penultimate over before lunch for 42.
Pakistan were in a tight corner when they resumed at 296-3 but Younus and Haq gave no chances to the Sri Lankan attack, adding 61 runs before being parted.
Younus, 149 overnight, moved to 150 in the second over with a single and remained as calm as he did when he arrived at the crease in the penultimate over on Sunday.
Iqbal also batted with caution until Jayawardene, in a spell with the ball, trapped him leg-before on 57.
Veteran Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who got his only wicket on Sunday, and new sensation Mendis, who took his solitary wicket on Monday, failed to create any problems for the batsmen.
Muralitharan managed 1-165 off a marathon 60 overs, while Mendis finished with 1- 135 in 55.
The second Test will start in Lahore on Sunday.

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