ICC Live

CT 2017 - Buy Tickets - 300x250


What are your thoughts on this article?

Younus’s double ton pushes Zimbabwe back

Zimbabwe set 342-run target; Ajmal sends Mawoyo back before close of play

Younus’s double ton pushes Zimbabwe back - Cricket News
Adnan Akmal congratulates Younis Khan on his century.
A brilliant double century from Younus Khan finally allowed Pakistan to stamp its authority on the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Friday (September 6) after playing second fiddle to its hosts for much of the first three days.

Younus’s unbeaten 200 allowed the tourists to declare late on the fourth day on 419 for 9, setting Zimbabwe a highly unlikely target of 342. Tino Mawoyo and Vusi Sibanda, the openers, faced a tricky eight overs before the close and survived – almost – to reach 13 for 1 by the end of the day’s play.

Sibanda (5) will resume on the fifth morning but Mawoyo (2) was snared lbw by Ajmal with three deliveries of the day remaining. 

It was Younus’s fourth double century in Tests and completely transformed the complexion of a contest in which the doughty Zimbabweans have punched above their weight. Younus, the 35-year-old, was made to battle hard for his runs until the final 20 minutes when he was able to cut loose with the game safe.

He faced 404 deliveries, the last of which he launched over wide long-on to move from 194 to 200, after which Misbah-ul-Haq called the batsmen back. Misbah, the Pakistan captain, had clearly signalled from the pavilion balcony that Younus could have two more overs to chase the milestone when he was on 186 but relented and gave him one more when he reached 194 in those two overs.

Younus wouldn’t have come close to a double had it not been for a remarkable unbroken tenth-wicket stand of 88 in which Rahat Ali contributed a brazen 35 from 40 balls with a trio of fours and sixes. Having looked eye-wateringly inept at the start of his innings, Pakistan’s last man grew in confidence and comfort remarkably quickly.

Younus, in fact, was a run shy of 150 when Rahat came to the crease and the lead was a less-than convincing 253. Although Pakistan had become the favourite at that stage, Zimbabwe was, theoretically, still in the game.

Zimbabwe started the day in spectacular style when Tendai Chatara bowled Asad Shafiq (15) with just a single added to the overnight 168 for 4 leaving Pakistan effectively at 91 for 5. But Adnan Akmal played with a freedom conventionally unsuitable for such a tense situation and his approach paid rich dividends as a sixth-wicket partnership of 118 once again dug Pakistan out of trouble. There cannot be many more convincing reverse-sweepers of a cricket ball than Pakistan’s latest Akmal ’keeper.

Younus, meanwhile, kept his head down and, eventually, broke the patience of every Zimbabwean bowler except Tinashe Panyangara, whose relentless accuracy earned him an analysis of 30-14-42-2. Younus’s only blemish came with the careless run out of Akmal, who had reason to feel aggrieved at his partner’s reluctance to take an easy second run – but may regret displaying it quite so publicly.

Only the bravest (or most foolish) of local optimists will believe that a Zimbabwean batting line-up without Brendan Taylor will be able to survive a full day against a rampant Ajmal. Of more interest, perhaps, will be how many of the remaining nine wickets Ajmal will be able to add to the eight he has already captured in the Test.

Similar Articles