Yousuf's ton puts Pak in driver's seat

Mohammad Yousuf remains unbeaten on 107 after poor light forces Pakistan to end second day's play at 265 for 4. They now have a 59-run lead over WI.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2006 21:12 IST

Middle-order batsman Mohammad Yousuf hit a magnificent century to help Pakistan take command of the first Test against the West Indies at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Sunday.

Yousuf held his team's innings together with an unbeaten 107 as Pakistan recovered from a precarious 140 for 4 to reach 265 for 4 when bad light finished the day's play 21 overs before schedule.

With six wickets intact, the home team now has a lead of 59 runs over West Indies' first innings score of 206.

Thirty-two-year-old Yousuf, who hit a double hundred and two hundreds on Pakistan's tour of England earlier this year, added 125 runs for the fifth wicket with Shoaib Malik, who remained unbeaten on 61.

The pair erased Pakistan's previous fifth wicket partnership record of 115 against the West Indies set by Shahid Afridi and Asim Kamal at Barbados in 2005.

Yousuf, dropped at 43 by Daren Ganga off Jerome Taylor and then at 101 by Taylor off his own bowling, hit 14 fours during his five-hour stay at the crease.

Yousuf, who had already completed 1,000 runs in the calendar year, has now hit six hundreds in 2006 and this becomes his fourth hundred in the last five Tests.

"I am happy that I have scored a hundred when the team needed it," Yousuf said.

"The year has been superb for me and I thank the Almighty, my captain and the team for their support," said Yousuf, who sympathised with bowlers around the world.

"I have been playing cricket for eight to 10 years and most of the wickets are flat where bowlers toil hard. I think wickets should be supporting where both batsmen and bowlers should have equal chance."

Yousuf was among the nominees for ICC (International Cricket Council) Test player of the year, an award that went to Australian Ricky Ponting in Mumbai earlier this month.

Yousuf and Malik steadied Pakistan after West Indies staged a fight-back by dismissing opener Mohammad Hafeez (57) and Inzamam-ul-Haq for an eight-ball duck.

Inzamam - who returned after missing the Champions Trophy due to a four-match ban for bringing the game into disrepute in Pakistan's last Test at the Oval three months ago - missed a looping delivery from Mohammed, a dismissal which brought the tourists back into the game.

This became Inzamam's 15th duck in 114 Tests.

Pakistan, who resumed at 39 for 1, lost Younis Khan in the sixth over of the day. Younis pulled a short delivery from pacerFidel Edwards straight into the hands of Ramnaresh Sarwan at short mid-wicket after scoring 11.

Hafeez and Yousuf added 88 invaluable runs for the third wicket as West Indian bowlers failed to get any assistance from a slow wicket.

When Mohammad Yousuf reached 32, he overhauled Salim Malik's 5,768 Test runs to become third-highest run-getter for Pakistan, behind Javed Miandad (8,832) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (8,498).

West Indies finally dismissed Hafeez through fast bowler Taylor, who produced a vicious yorker to trap the batsman in front of the wicket.

Hafeez hit six boundaries in his third Test 50.

Yousuf, who also survived a close stumping appeal off Mohammed, glanced Taylor for his 13th boundary to complete his 20th Test century in his 71st Test.

Malik, who missed Pakistan's Test series in England due to an elbow injury, once again proved his all-round abilities, hitting eight boundaries and a six during his fifth Test half century.

West Indies had revived their chances in the first session but lost their way through some sloppy fielding and inaccurate bowling.

First Published: Nov 12, 2006 17:17 IST