New Pakistan captain Younis Khan hit a patient century to lead his team's chase of Sri Lanka's massive total on the third day of the first cricket Test on Monday. Khan kept the Sri Lanka spinners at bay in the first two sessions as he amassed an unbeaten on 101 off 195 balls to guide Pakistan to 213-2 at tea.
Shoaib Malik, from who was dropped as Pakistan captain ahead of the Sri Lanka series, gave him good support on a flat batting wicket and was not out on 46 at the break.
The home team was not out of danger and still needed 232 runs to avoid the follow on after Sri Lanka declared its first innings at an imposing 644-7.
Sri Lanka could have got the breakthrough when Khan was on 92, but Tillakaratne Dilshan was unable to hold onto a difficult diving catch to his left at mid-wicket.
Khan completed his century when he pushed a ball from paceman Dilhara Fernando to third man and ran for two runs in the last over of before tea. Khan hit 11 fours during his patient knock over four hours, nine minutes.
In the first session, Khan survived an lbw decision while on 23 when Australian umpire Simon Taufel turned down a confident appeal by Ajantha Mendis.
Khan negated the spin threat of Muttiah Muralitharan and Mendis as he waited for the lose deliveries patiently to play his attacking shots.
Mendis (1-55) brought the lone success for the visitors inside the first hour of the day when he had rookie batsman Khurram Manzoor (27) caught behind off a straight delivery that induced a big outside edge.
Khan and Manzoor had negotiated the first hour with some cautious batting and took the score to 78-1 after Pakistan resumed at the overnight total of 44-1.
Experienced offspinner Muralitharan (1-56), who claimed the wicket of Salman Butt late on the second day, had already bowled 20 overs in the two sessions and even switched bowling ends without success.
Both Khan and Malik looked at ease when facing cricket's highest test wicket-taker on a pitch which still looks good for batting. Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena and Thilan Samaraweera both scored double centuries on Sunday and combined for a record-breaking 437-run partnership for the fourth wicket in the visitors' highest ever total in an innings against Pakistan.