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Masterful Younis 218 puts England on the ropes



Younis Khan - 218

LONDON: At the age of 38, and in the final Test of a tour in which most sage judges feared that his imperious talents were beginning to fade, Younis Khan rolled back the years in stunning fashion on the third afternoon at the Kia Oval, crushing England's hopes of a slender first-innings deficit with a brilliant 218.

By tea, at the approximate halfway mark of the fourth and final Test, Younis's efforts had carried Pakistan to a formidable lead of 214, a remarkable improvement of their overnight advantage of 12, and testament to how expertly he had coaxed the best out of a previously brittle Pakistan tail.

Until James Anderson finally crowbarred an lbw decision from Marais Erasmus with ten minutes of the session remaining, England had looked bereft of ideas on a pitch that still appears to be offering more life than the scoreline would suggest.

Having played second fiddle to a typically pugnacious cameo of 44 from 78 balls from Sarfraz Ahmed in the morning session, Younis took command of both the scoring and the strike as the afternoon wore on, adding 37 in 11.3 overs with Wahab Riaz, who made 4 from 32 balls, then 97 in 20.3 with the steadfast Mohammad Amir, who waited 23 balls to get off the mark as he helped his senior partner power through to his sixth double-hundred, before joining the celebrations three balls later by lashing Moeen Ali over deep midwicket for six.

When Pakistan's last man, Sohail Khan, holed out to mid-on on the stroke of tea, Amir was the last man standing, unbeaten on a career-best 39 not out from 70 balls, his initial caution having given way to a florid range of strokes that ramped England's frustrations up to boiling point.

Scores:

England 328 and 43-1

Pakistan 340-6 contd 542 (Younis Khan 218, Sarfraz Ahmed 44, Mohammad Amir 39 n.o., S Finn 3/110, C Woakes 3/82, M Ali 2/128)

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