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Gutsy Younis saves Pakistan with century
by AFP


Ground:Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:SC Ganguly, A Kumble, Shoaib Akhtar, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf
Event:Pakistan in India 2007/08

DateLine: 4th December 2007

 

Stand-in captain Younis Khan staved off a spin threat with a responsible century to help Pakistan draw the second Test against India here on Tuesday.

 

Younis scored an unbeaten 107 under pressure as Pakistan recovered from 78-4 to finish at 214-4 in their second innings chasing a stiff 345-run target off 81 overs on the fifth and final day.

 

Mohammad Yousuf played the supporting role and was unbeaten on 44 when the game was called off with four overs remaining.

 

Pakistan, trailing 1-0, now have a chance to square the three-Test series when they clash with India in the third match at Bangalore starting Sunday.

 

Younis, 29, reached his 15th Test century -- fifth against India -- in the closing session when he reverse-swept off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for a 13th four.

 

"The team needed someone to stay at the crease for a long period and I am happy that I scored runs when the side needed them most," said Younis.

 

"We were in trouble after the first two days because India had scored more than 600 runs in their first innings, but I'd praise century-makers Kamran Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq for their tremendous innings."

 

Indian spinners Anil Kumble (2-73) and Harbhajan made the batsmen struggle for runs on a slow turning track, keeping a tidy line and length with four men in catching positions close to the bat.

 

Pakistan were in trouble midway through the afternoon session when they lost four wickets for 78 in 40 overs, but Younis came to his team's rescue as he added 136 for the unfinished fifth-wicket stand with Yousuf.

 

Younis, leading the side in the absence of unfit Shoaib Malik, never allowed the Indian spinners to dominate him as he took no risks during his 182-ball knock, patiently waiting for the loose deliveries to punish.

 

The tourists batted to save the match, making no serious inroads to achieve the target. They scored 37 off 20 overs in the morning and 89 off 32 in the afternoon.

 

Pakistan needed to survive 41 overs when Yousuf joined Younis in the middle, with only one specialist batsman (Faisal Iqbal) in the dressing-room. They were fortunate to find the right pair at the right time to keep India at bay.

 

Leg-spinner Kumble, who shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan, raised visions of an Indian victory when he dismissed make-shift opener Kamran Akmal (14) and Salman Butt (11) before his side ran into a gutsy Younis.

 

"It was a pretty flat pitch and tough for bowlers. I think they did a fantastic job to help us dominate in this match," said India captain Kumble.

 

"We were in a good position on the third day and had there been more pace and bounce in this pitch, it'd have helped us more."

 

There was no stopping Younis, who applied himself remarkably well on a last-day pitch to pull his team out of trouble after Misbah-ul-Haq and Yasir Hameed had fallen cheaply.

 

Misbah, who helped his side avoid a follow-on with an unbeaten 161, offered a sharp chance off the first ball off Kumble, but Dinesh Karthik failed to latch on to it at short-leg.

 

Misbah (six) did not last long as he was bowled by paceman Munaf Patel off a delivery which came in after pitching into the roughs.

 

India struck in the seventh over when left-arm seamer Zaheer held a return catch to dismiss opener Hameed, who drove a fuller-length delivery after making 14 runs.

 

Resuming at 141-2, India earlier batted 6.4 overs before declaring their second innings closed at 184-4.

 

Former captain Sourav Ganguly, playing on his home ground, completed 6,000 runs in Test cricket during his 46 before being bowled by fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)



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