Cricket

Younis eyes Independence Day win

2016-08-13 22:32
Younis Khan. (Eranga Jayawardena, AP)

London - Younis Khan said Pakistan aimed to contribute to the nation's Independence Day celebrations on Sunday with victory in the fourth Test at The Oval after his double century left the tourists on course for a series-levelling win against England.

Sunday, August 14 marks the 69th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan.

It could also well be the day that Pakistan end their four-match series with England all square at 2-2.

Younis's 218 was the cornerstone of Pakistan's first innings' 542.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah then took three for 15 as England slumped to 88 for four in their second innings come the end of Saturday's third day - still 126 runs behind, with two days left in the game.

But Younis said victory in south London on Sunday would be especially sweet.

"Yes, it would be great and a gift to the nation if we win tomorrow (Sunday)," the 38-year-old told reporters after stumps on Saturday.

"We have four down, so we hope that the victory can be achieved on Independence Day. We had talked about this before the match."

Younis's sixth innings of 200 or more in Test cricket was a dramatic way for him to end a run of low scores.

He had managed just 122 runs in six previous innings this series, with a best of 33 in Pakistan's first Test win at Lord's.

Younis's poor form had again led to speculation that, at 38, his time in international cricket was coming to an end.

Not that this was news to Younis.

"A lot of people had started saying that my career is going to finish," he said.

"I have been hearing this for some 15 years now, but I am happy and did the hard work.

"I knew it would come, but I desperately wanted it to come in this Test."

Asked where this innings ranked among his 32 Test centuries, Younis said: "It must be at the top. We needed to win this Test so we needed a big innings and I am happy that I have done that."

HANIF INFLUENCE

Just as Asad Shafiq had done following his fine 109 on Friday, Younis dedicated his innings to Pakistan batting great Hanif Mohammad, who died aged 81 on Thursday.

"I want to dedicate this knock to Hanif Mohammad," said Younis.

"He was always an inspiration to us and we are going to miss him.

"He had a great influence on my career and was always ready to give advice," he added after a more than seven-and-a-half hour double century that Hanif, known for his lengthy innings, would surely have appreciated.

Meanwhile England fast bowler Steven Finn accepted it would take something special to deny Pakistan victory.

"Obviously, we face an uphill task," he said. "It's going to be difficult for us in this position - but we've found ourselves in these positions before."

Finn, who took three for 110 in Pakistan's innings, paid tribute to Shafiq and Younis by saying: "The two guys who got hundreds played fantastically, negated us and got us tired - fielding 140-odd overs - and they reaped their rewards."

He added: "Younis is a world-class player.

"To score more than 9 000 Test match runs and 32 centuries, that says something about the man.

"We knew he'd come to the party at some stage ... we were just hoping it wouldn't be in this series.

"Hats off to him. We threw everything at him; we threw short-pitched bowling, changes of angle on the crease, chopping and changing the bowling ... but he had answers for everything."

Read more on:    pakistan  |  younis khan  |  cricket
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