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Mohammad Yousuf keeps Pakistan in the Driver’s Seat

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The second day’s play of the fourth and final Test Match at The Oval has totally gone Pakistan’s way. The visitors have been helped to a healthy lead of 152 runs thanks to Mohammad Yousuf’s third century in this series. Pakistan still have 7 wickets in hand and at stumps on a truncated day due to rain and bad light, they are standing pretty at 336 for 3 with Mohammad Yousuf batting on 115 and with him is the skipper Inzamam on 2.

Yousuf had got good support from Imran Farhat to begin with and then Mohamad Hafeez as his two partnerships with these batsmen had kept England at bay all day. Both Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez were dismissed in their nineties by Matthew Hoggard. Infact England could just get the wickets of these two batsmen in the entire day’s work out. Pakistan added up 240 runs in the 60 overs that were possible on a day full of interruptions.

The start of play was delayed for quite some time due to a wet outfield, but once play resumed with Pakistan at 96 for 1, the pair of Imran Farhat and Mohammad Yousuf continued from where they had left on the other day. Imran Farhat got out for 91 in the 32nd over after driving Hoggard into the slips. It was an entertaining innings from Imran Farhat as he had taken just 112 deliveries to score those 91 runs which also included 12 boundaries and a six. The 2nd wicket partnership was worth 78 runs and after Farhat’s fall, Mohammad Hafeez walked in. The right hander who had opened the batting yesterday had to retire hurt following a tendon problem in his leg while batting on 8. Today, Hafeez batted with some discomfort in his leg, but was determined to make best use of the opportunity given to him by the team management. He put on a massive 177-run partnership with Mohammad Yousuf for the 3rd wicket which was just a little over what England had managed in their first innings. Hafeez was approaching his 2nd Test Century and was out to an old ball which was just about to be replaced with the second new ball to be taken by Hoggard after one or two warm up deliveries. Hafeez had flicked Hoggard with a stiff leg to Andrew Strauss at short mid wicket and thus falling short of a hundred by only 5 runs. The right hander took 178 balls and had scored 14 fours and a six. Meanwhile Mohammad Yousuf who was batting on and on went past 600 runs in this series. He had scored his 6th century against England but he might be disappointed that Pakistan had already lost the Test Series 0-2. For the record, Yousuf’s 115 had come in just 190 balls with the help of 16 fours. England’s most successful bowlers in this Series – Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar are yet to take any wickets and both of them have been scored off at a good rate.

Yousuf has got Inzamam as company and if the two can restart their innings against a relatively brand new ball, then Pakistan can well look on to bat England out of the match. It is a difficult position for England as their first innings batting was bad and it would continue to keep them on the backfoot all through this Test Match. The only thing that can save them is the weather, but again England always allows play to be carried on for a long time in the evenings compared to any other part in the world. There are three full days left in this Test Match and Pakistan realistically should be in a position to win this match considering the position they have got into.

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