Younis, Shafiq lift Pakistan at The Oval

August 13, 2016 | By

It was England’s turn to be sloppy. They matched Pakistan in dropping catches.

Just like Moeen Ali benefitted — dropped on nine — to score 108, Asad Shafiq enjoyed a charmed life on day two with 109 and Younis Khan returning to form with 101 not out as Pakistan compiled 340-6 , leading England’s 328 by 14 runs.

Pakistan’s highest Test total is 708 all out at this same venue in 1987 and although they may not reach that far a score of over 500 will help them set-up a win.

It was a day of another hard work for bowlers, with Shafiq and Younis dominating.

Shafiq had just come to the crease when Chris Woakes produced an outswinger and the batsman failed to get to the pitch of the ball and was dropped by James Anderson at third slip. It wasn’t as easy a catch as was Moeen’s on Thursday but still made a significant difference on the scoreboard.

Befittingly, late Hanif Mohammad, died on Thursday, had always praised Shafiq, calling him “close to my style of batting,” and the diminutive Karachi batsman tributed the little master with a brilliant hundred which could set up Pakistan’s series-levelling win.

But Shafiq had a charmed life at the crease on a day when just for a change Woakes — 23 wickets in the first three Tests — went wicketless in the first two sessions before dismissing Misbah-ul-Haq for 15. This was Woakes’s 24th wicket in the series setting a new record for most in a series against Pakistan. The previous was Anderson’s 23 in 2006.

Woakes had another when debutant Iftikhar Ahmed mistimed a pull and was caught for four.

Woakes’s record of taking wicket in his first over in this series broke when his first ball of the match saw nightwatchman Yasir Shah edging straight to gully where Alex Hales dropped a sitter. Yasir’s 26 may not be a big contribution but it helped in seeing off the new ball and helping Shafiq to come to the crease an hour later than expected.

Shafiq was promoted to number four from six and that looked humorous as no other team can promote a bloke who had a pair in the last Test but it was a temptation to send him up the order even at Edgbaston as well.

Shafiq lived up to his status as the batsman with the best technique and together with Azhar Ali (49) he put on 75 for the third and another xxx . He stayed on 99 for 17 balls before taking a single off Moeen to complete the three-figure mark. In all he hit 12 fours and two sixes off Moeen.

He became the second Pakistani to score a hundred after a pair in successive Tests, 12th in all Test cricket. Incidentally, Hanif’s elder brother Wazir scored a pair and then a hundred (first innings two and then hundred) in the West Indies in 1958.

It took a stunning catch from Stuart Broad to dislodge Shafiq, diving to catch inches from the ground a hook which Shafiq did not middle properly

Younis, short on runs in the series with a highest of 33 in the first at Lord’s, did not disappoint this time as he had a balanced head while playing the stroke and it culminated in his 32nd Test century.

Younis has so far hit 15 boundaries and a six and together with Sarfraz Ahmed (17) added 20.

Pakistan would hope Younis and Sarfraz bat for long on day three to give them a healthy lead.

Shahid Hashmi

Shahid Hashmi is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous cricket articles published at

Shahid Hashmi, a highly experienced and hard working journalist who has covered Cricket on mostly all major countries. He cares for Cricket and those who Play and Cover Cricket.

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