Yunis, Azhar were just fabulous
That is not to ignore or overlook his earlier performances which includes a triple century, two double centuries, and almost a third one –199 against India. Anyone doubting his class, will only have to look at his shining record. The way he batted in the Third Test at Dubai on Saturday, holds promise for the future. Yunis has still lot of cricket left in him. The old saying that form is temporary but class is permanent, was proven by him once again. To score 20th Test hundred, is a marvelous achievement, but what is more important is the way he batted to rescue the side from a pathetic 28 for 2 to a position of considerable strength, which surely can raise expectations of his side succeeding in its aim of registering the first whitewash against England.
In young Azhar Ali, he found a dependable partner.If Yunis was unbeaten for his 115, which had 11 fours and a six, Azhar was equally enterprising for his heroic fight back. His was an innings of great character, no less important to his senior partner. If Yunis, was solid in his defence, and outstanding in aggression, so was Azhar. The two built the innings with tremendous grit and determination, wiping off the deficit, which though marginal, could have turned disastrous had yet another wicket fallen soon afterwards. That was the first and the foremost task before them. Once that was done, they slowly and steadily began to march ahead for putting England under pressure. Taufeeq Omar needs to correct his techniques, but the way Hafeez, an excellent stroke-maker otherwise, fell attempting a sweep, which was hardly required, after he had already sent Monty Panser twice to the fence in one over.
He should have exercised restraint, but the there was a definite rush of blood in him, which proved costly in the end. To top it all, he decided against a review, which could have declared him not out. The DRS showed the ball hitting his pad, but missing most part of his off stump. Under the rules, if the ball is more than 50 percent missing the wicket, the lbw decision is invariably reversed. Hafeez presented his wicket in a silver platter to Panesar who ended up with a solitary wicket for 84 runs in 33 overs.
The Yunis-Azhar combination deserves all the praise. The two displayed enormous amount of concentration and application, never allowing the ball to hit their pads, although both faced straight ones from rival bowlers. Yet they brought their bats in front of the pads with remarkable agility and accuracy. And when they got the loose ones, they sent it to ropes, or over it.
Azhar had barely 3 fours and a six in his patient knock of 75, facing 246 deliveries. He batted according to the situation, knowing that occupying the crease was the need of the hour. In doing so, he also perhaps drew lessons from the way Yunis, handled the situation. It did enormous amount of good to him, which goes to prove that Azhar does possess the talent, and the potential to be a genuine asset for Pakistan.
Yunis’ was the first century knock of the 3-contest series. His unbroken 194-run partnership with Azhar not only gave Pakistan a solid lead of 180 runs, but laid the foundation for those following them, to build on that an edifice for yet another victory against the world’s number one team.Misbah, Asad Shafiq, and Adnan Akmal too will have to apply themselves, and not throw their wickets away. England bowlers toiled throughout the second and third sessions of the day without result. The wicket never had the demon in it. It is a flat surface and the first day’s 16 wickets for a paltry total of 203 runs, were mainly due to reckless strokes by the Pakistanis, and total inability of the English to handle the spin attack of Rehman and Saeed Ajmal.
Saturday morning, the two quickly polished off the tail. Rehman piercing through the defence of Anderson in his very first over of the day. Pakistan captain had asked Saeed Ajmal on first day to bow his last over of the day to pin down Strauss at one end. The strategy worked, and Saturday morning, Anderson was totally clueless to Rehman’s magic.
The left-arm spinner ended for the second time with 5 wickets in an innings, and Saeed Ajmal earned the last two wickets to restrict England to a mere 42 run lead, not enough for a win, yet could have proved crucial in the end. Yunis and Azhar reduced the England attack to level of below mediocrity.On the third day, Pakistan must bat till tea and pile up as much score as possible, certainly over 350 to bring the opposition under pressure.