Younis Khan © AFP
Younis Khan © AFP

 

Younis Khan smashed his 24th ton during the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Galle. Younis did manage to impress everyone by thwarting the likes of Rangana Herath on a spinning track to reach a well-deserved century. Amit Banerjee analyses his innings and how crucial it could be for the rest of the match.

 

Pakistan are no strangers to facing Sri Lanka — given the fact that this happens to be the sixth time the two sides face each other in as many years. The main focus of this series was the spin-battle between Rangana Herath and Saeed Ajmal the host and visitor camps respectively. However, Herath and company are up against Younis Khan, the crafty No 4 from Pakistan who has just smashed a ton on Day One of the first Test at Galle.

 

Younis, considered one of the best players of spin in the current Pakistani side, responded aptly as he took on the spinners.  He is now tied with Mohammad Yousuf in the list of most number of international Test centuries among Pakistani batsmen, which is currently headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has 25 tons to his credit.

 

Younis, who came in to bat at the dismissal of Khurram Manzoor when Pakistan were reeling at 19 for two, managed to bind the innings together and rescue Pakistan from an imminent batting collapse. He managed to put up a 100-run stand with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and is now expected to bat for the rest of the day and guide his side to a respectable total in order to be in the driver’s seat on Day 2.

 

The feared Lankan spinners were thwarted repeatedly by Younis, six of whose boundaries and the solitary six came of them. The innings was reminiscent of Hashim Amla’s fighting century against the same opposition in the first innings of the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Like Amla, Younis is now carrying the burden to steering his side through.

 

This century is bound to have an impact on the hosts, who will face the music of not being able to stifle the partnership when they needed to. Who knows they may live to regret letting him loose.

 

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)