Tons for Shafiq, Younis put Pak on top
Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq shared a double-century partnership to rebuild Pakistan's first innings and guide them to 253 for five at stumps on the opening day of the second test against South Africa, in Cape Town, on Thursday.
Day 1 Updates
“We had lots of meetings on how to fix the things we did wrong in the first test,” said Younis after scoring his 21st test century.
“It was tough this morning, but luckily we had a chance to come back --it's all about the partnerships and fighting for your country.”
He said the wicket was good for batting and his game plan was to hang around and wait for the bowlers to offer him the odd ball to hit.
Younis and Shafiq added 220-runs for the fifth-wicket, off 429 balls --Pakistan's highest partnership for any wicket against South Africa --after they came together when Pakistan was reeling at 33 for four.
It was the third time the pair had shared a century stand in test cricket and it was also the highest partnership of any visiting team against South Africa since Stephen Fleming and James Franklin put on 256 together in April 2006.
“Shafiq was fantastic and if the youngster can perform like that against the top team in the world, it's a good sign for us and he has a good future for Pakistan,” Younis said.
“He's improving all the time and sometimes, when youngsters play with senior batsmen, they are scared but I just told Shafiq to take the singles and if there is a ball to hit, he must play his shot.”
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Younis was the first to reap the rewards of their hard work, reaching his century off 192-balls. He built his innings perfectly – leaving well and defending well -- and played some beautiful strokes, mainly through the leg side.
He made 111, including seven fours and three sixes, until he was eventually caught behind, off Vernon Philander, just before stumps.
Shafiq took 201 deliveries for his third test century, smashing 13 fours and a six to achieve his highest test score.
At the close of play, Shafiq was unbeaten on 111 and Sarfraz Ahmed had still to get off the mark.
As the afternoon progressed, the bowlers showed their frustration as they were unable to break the partnership.
“I've played against Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel many times and they are top lads so when they were talking (chirping), I was just smiling,” said Younis.
“A couple of times I was lucky as I played a shot and missed the ball, because they bowled very well.”
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Philander praised Younis for his defiant innings and also defended his captain's decision to bowl first in the overcast conditions. He said 350 would be a good first innings score.
“It was the right choice as we knocked four over pretty quickly, but then we got two guys who got stuck in and batted really well,” Philander said.
“I'm not too concerned as the wicket was good and we bowled well. Tomorrow is another chance to get stuck in and Newlands always offers something in the morning. The ball is only 10-overs old so hopefully we'll knock them over early.”
At the start of the day, the pace attack looked unplayable with Steyn finding some movement off the first delivery.
It was Philander who made the initial breakthrough when he had Nasir Jamshed (3) caught behind by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Mohammad Hafeez followed shortly afterwards after he was forced into a defensive shot and got a thick outside edge to Steyn, which went low to Graeme Smith at first-slip.
Morkel then got into the action, striking twice in one over. Azhar Ali (4) got an outside edge straight into De Villiers' gloves and four balls' later, captain Misbah-ul-Haq, was back in the dressing room for a duck. Misbah was unable to get his bat out of the way in time and gloved one to Dean Elgar at short-leg.
Newlands Cricket Ground achieved a landmark of its own, becoming the first venue in South Africa to host 50 tests and only the 12th in the world to do so.
SOUTH AFRICA: GC Smith (capt), AN Petersen, HM Amla, JH Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), F du Plessis, D Elgar, VD Philander, RJ Peterson, DW Steyn, M Morkel
PAKISTAN: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Irfan