Pak Vs. England: Yunis Khan and Yasir Shah steal the show for Pakistan in Oval Test
LONDON, Aug 13, (APP/AFP): Younis Khan's superb double century and three wickets from Yasir Shah left Pakistan eyeing a series-levelling win after they dominated the third day of the fourth Test against England at The Oval on Saturday.
Younis's 218 was the centrepiece of Pakistan's first-innings 542 all out.
Leg-spinner Shah then took three wickets for four runs in 22 balls as
England, in their second innings, slumped to 88 for four at the close -- still runs 126 behind.
Gary Ballance was four not out and Jonny Bairstow 14 not out, with England needing something remarkable to prevent a Pakistan win in a match where two days' play remained.
If the four-match series ends 2-2, Pakistan could go top of the world Test rankings but England must avoid defeat at The Oval to keep their hopes of reaching the summit alive.
Younis's sixth innings of 200 or more in Test cricket was a dramatic way for the 38-year-old 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.
"As a senior player there are lots of expectations," Younis told Sky Sports.
"The way I started here, the first 100 in warm-up and a 50 as well, I
thought it would go well.
"But suddenly it wasn't happening.
"Coach Mickey Arthur and the support staff had to push me, they were there for me, I worked hard and things came my way."
Meanwhile England fast bowler Steven Finn accepted his side were up against it.
"The evening session hurt us as a team," he said. "We've been in these situations before so we will come out tomorrow (Sunday) and fight for this Test."
England, 214 runs adrift on first innings, suffered a setback early in their second knock when captain Alastair Cook (seven) was squared up by a
lifting Wahab Riaz delivery and debutant Iftikhar Ahmed, going to his right,
held a good catch at first slip.
Alex Hales had been fined for showing dissent towards the third umpire after being caught by Shah in the first innings.
Saturday saw him fall lbw for 12 to Shah's sixth ball of the day, with England wasting a review in the process.
His exit left Hales with a series tally of just 145 runs at an average of 18.12.
James Vince, yet to make a Test fifty, was in even greater need of a score to cement his place in the side.
But instead he was out for nought when he chipped Shah, England's
tormentor-in-chief across London at Lord's, to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq at short extra-cover.
Vince's 158 runs at 22.57 this series left his Test future open to question.
Joe Root, one of England's key batsmen along with Cook, then fell for 39 when he played back to a quicker Shah ball and was lbw.
England, perhaps because it was Root, reviewed but it was another wasted challenge and the hosts were 74 for four, with Shah's stumps figures of three for 15 in seven overs a testament to his effectiveness.
Pakistan resumed on 340 for six after Asad Shafiq (109) and Younis (101 not out) had both compiled impressive centuries.
Sarfraz Ahmed's typically brisk 44 meant there was no problem in Younis taking 13 balls to add his first run Saturday.
Younis later received excellent support from Mohammad Amir in a
ninth-wicket stand of 97 as the tailender frustrated England with a Test-best 39 not out.
Curiously, despite the overcast conditions after lunch, Cook brought on part-time spinner Root and often expensive specialist off-break bowler Moeen Ali for eight consecutive overs from the Pavilion End as James Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, waited in the outfield.
Younis completed his double hundred in style when he advanced down the pitch to drive Ali for six.
Amir took 24 balls to get off the mark but did so in dashing fashion when he hoisted Ali for six over deep midwicket.
Younis was eventually lbw to Anderson after failing to overturn a close call on review.
Younis walked off to a standing ovation from the Oval crowd after batting for more than seven-and-a-half hours in a 308-ball innings featuring 31 fours and four sixes.