Younis equals another record as Pakistan strengthen position

ABU DHABI: Younis Khan became the first batsman in 90 years to hit three hundreds in consecutive innings against Australia as Pakistan took and early advantage in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The 36-year-old, who smashed twin hundreds in the first Test, notched 111 not out for his 27th century to help Pakistan close the opening day on a solid footing of 304-2 after they won the toss and elected to bat on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.

In the last over before stumps, Azhar Ali also completed his sixth Test hundred and was unbeaten on 101 on a day Australia used as many as eight bowlers and unusual fielding placings but failed to break the Ali-Younis third wicket stand which has so far yielded 208 runs.

Younis lofted spinner Glenn Maxwell to long-on boundary for his tenth four to complete his hundred before raising his bat to his team-mates and fans who gave him a standing ovation.

England´s Herbert Sutcliffe was the last man to score three hundreds in three consecutive Test innings against Australia way back in 1924-25.

Before Younis three Pakistani batsmen, Zaheer Abbas (v India in 1982) Mudassar Nazar (v India in 1982) and Mohammad Yousuf (v West Indies in 2006) had achieved three consecutive centuries.

So ruthless was Younis that even the second new ball, taken soon after it was due, couldn´t disturb him. He has so far hit ten fours and a six during his 155-ball knock.

Things went wrong for Michael Clarke right from the toss when he wrongly called tails.

He did everything, from using two short mid-wickets, a short mid-on and a man almost behind the umpire at the bowler´s end, but even that failed to get him any wickets, leaving him frustrated in his bids to avoid a first series defeat against Pakistan since 1994.

Pakistan won the first Test of the two-match series by 221 runs in Dubai. “It was a tough day,” said Clarke. “I tried everything, some unorthodox fields but we couldn´t take as many wickets as we would have wanted and that´s disappointing.”

Ali expressed admiration for Younis´s form. “I don´t have words to describe the way he batted,” said Ali. “We are in a good position but it´s a long way to go and we have to apply ourselves in every session in this match.”

Younis survived two leg-before reviews, off Maxwell when on 35 and off Steven Smith when on 68.

Ali, who hit six fours off 223 balls, also survived two sharp chances, on 34 and 46, epitomising an unrewarding day for Australia.

Openers Ahmed Shehzad (35) and Mohammad Hafeez (45) were out either side of lunch.

Hafeez fell to an edge behind the wicket off paceman Mitchell Johnson who toiled hard for his figures of one for 50.

Shehzad was shaping up well during his 64-ball knock, hitting three fours before he missed a delivery from spinner Lyon and was trapped leg-before.

Clarke juggled his pace bowlers before bringing Lyon on in the 14th over to get the needed breakthrough.

Pakistan kept the same XI while Australia brought in paceman Mitchell Starc and spinning all-rounder Maxwell for batsman Alex Doolan and left-arm spinner Steve O´Keefe, preferring a three-prong pace attack with one spinner in Lyon.