Day of mixed fortunes for Pakistan veterans

Pakistan's Younis Khan (right) gets a pat on the back from teammate Yasir Shah after Khan was 136 not out at the end of the day's play.
Pakistan's Younis Khan (right) gets a pat on the back from teammate Yasir Shah after Khan was 136 not out at the end of the day's play. Rick Rycroft

CRICKET: Two Pakistan veterans came to the SCG with their future at the crossroads yesterday.

One cemented his place as an all-time great with his first century on Australian soil, while the other had critics calling for his immediate retirement.

Younis Khan, 39, carved his name into cricket history after becoming the first player to score a century in all 11 Test-playing nations with a brilliant hundred on the third day of the third Test against Australia.

But Misbah-ul-Haq, 42, was dismissed in a manner that could only be described as selfish or clueless, for the second straight match.

With his side showing resilience after a brutal Australian summer, the Pakistan captain came to the crease needing a fighting knock to provide any hope of avoiding a sixth straight loss.

Instead, like a thirsty No.11 pub cricketer, his eyes lit up at the sight of a Nathan Lyon delivery that he tried to blast over the fence.

He came up short, instead finding Jackson Bird, who comfortably took the catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary, leaving his series average at just 7.60.

The Pakistani skipper declared prior to the Sydney Test that he wasn't sure of the right time to retire. The time, Misbah, is now.

Despite Younis's heroics, Pakistan was in a perilous position at stumps yesterday.

Australia claimed five wickets after tea, with Misbah (18), Asad Shafiq (4), Sarfraz Ahmed (18), Mohammad Amir (4) and Wahab Riaz (8) all falling before stumps, leaving the tourists at 8-271, with Younis not out on 136 opposite Yasir Shah (5).

Nathan Lyon accounted for Misbah, Amir and Wahab, while Mitchell Starc dismissed Sarfraz and Steve O'Keefe had Shafiq caught spectacularly at first slip by Steve Smith.

The Australian skipper took a low diving catch via a ricochet off the pads of wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb while he was still appealing for the lbw.

Handscomb took up the gloves after Matthew Wade left the field of play with a stomach bug.

Earlier, a poor piece of running handed Australia its first breakthrough of the day, with Azhar Ali run out for 71 after being left stranded by Younis.

Play did not begin on Thursday until just after 1.30pm (AEST) due to rain.

Pakistan was still 67 runs short of avoiding the follow on after Australia declared its first innings at 8-538.


Topics:  pakistan cricket scg test cricket

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