Galle, Sri Lanka – Younis Khan hit an unbeaten half-century in the company of skipper Misbah-ul Haq to help Pakistan recover in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
The pair batted through the afternoon session of the opening day to put on an unbroken stand of 84 for the fourth wicket and steer the tourists from a shaky 56-3 to 140-3 by tea.
Khan, playing his 90th Test, returned unbeaten on 77 with five boundaries and a six. Misbah was on a typically dour 22 off 87 balls.
Khan was reprieved by the Decision Review System (DRS) when he was on 59 after umpire Bruce Oxenford had declared him leg-before to off-spinner Dilruwan Perera.
Television replays showed the ball passing over the stumps.
The partnership between Pakistan’s two elder statesmen came after the morning session belonged to Sri Lanka with three quick wickets in the bag.
Seamer Dhammika Prasad removed both openers cheaply to make it 19-2 by the sixth over before a partial recovery helped the tourists move to 59-3 by lunch.
Prasad, working up a tidy pace on a pitch that afforded bounce and movement, bowled Ahmed Shehzad off the inside edge with his third delivery after being hit for a boundary off the first.
The seamer then trapped Khurram Manzoor leg-before in his third over, but Azhar Ali and Khan settled in to put on 37 as the wicket eased out under the mild sun.
Ali, who hit five boundaries in his fluent 30, failed to last till lunch as he fell to a good delivery from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, which turned and clipped the off-stump.
Misbah won the toss and elected to bat in overcast conditions after the start was delayed by 30 minutes due to a wet outfield caused by overnight rain. Bad weather has been forecast on all five days of the Test.
Both teams went in with two spinners Ä Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman for Pakistan, and Herath and Perera for the hosts Ä hoping the grassless pitch provides some turn later in the match.
Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is retiring from the longer format after the two-Test series, walked out to field amid bursting firecrackers as school children gave him a guard of honour with raised bats.
Giant posters of the batsman, who is sixth in the all-time scorers’ list with 11,671 runs in 147 Tests, adorned the Galle International Stadium where some 2,000 home fans were present. – Sapa-AFP