ABU DHABI - Experienced Pakistan batsman Younus Khan hit a brilliant hundred in the two-day match against hosts United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, providing a batting boost ahead of the forthcoming two-Test series with South Africa.
Younus scored 103 in Pakistan's total of 317-9 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Pakistan will look to Younus and captain Misbahul Haq to anchor the batting against world number ones South Africa in the first Test starting in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Pakistan have been badly let down by their batting in their last five Tests, losing 3-0 in South Africa and squaring a two-Test series 1-1 in Zimbabwe this year. Besides Younus, wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal scored 71 and Abdur Rehman 52.
Pakistan batsmen managed to spend some quality time in the middle ahead of their Test series against the mighty South Africans.
“It was important to get some runs behind my belt and I’m happy to do that. I would like to give credit to the UAE bowlers as they made us work for our runs. It was really hot and they bowled well and it turned out to be a good practice for us,” said Khan after the day’s play.
Khan is well aware that his performance would hold the key in the outcome of this series and he was up for the challenge. “I always try to lead as a senior player from the front. It’s not pressure but just a question of self-pride to do well and then transform that against big teams,” added Khan, who was also very pleased with the way Adnan batted.
“It is good that he took the responsibility and made the most of the opportunity. We had to try him here as we didn’t have enough bench strength,” revealed Khan.
With just 12 players at their disposal for this match, Pakistan are still looking for a second opener ahead of the crunch series and was forced to open with Khuram Manzoor and Akmal.
Manzoor was quickly back in the pavilion after seeing his stumps castled by Asadullah Shareef. Skipper Misbahul Haq managed to get 27 but would be disappointed as he ran himself out. Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Irfan all failed to disturb the scorers and Pakistan finished with 317 for nine at the end of days play.
Despite Akmal making a mark upfront it is unlikely that Pakistan would try him at the opening slot, revealed Khan. “Adnan scored runs but we are looking for a specialist opener that we are looking to get from the Pakistan ‘A’ team. We need someone who can provide us with a good start and then we can build on it,” felt Khan. Pakistan 'A' openers Ahmed Shahzad and Shan Masood, along with number three Azhar Ali, also scored half-centuries, showing it is not all doom and gloom from a batting perspective ahead of the Tests.
BRIEF SCORES:
SOUTH AFRICA: 354-8 (J Kallis 70, A Petersen 58, AB de Villiers 58, Hashim Amla 50, JP Duminy 49)
PAKISTAN 'A':  317-9 (Younus Khan 103, Adnan Akmal 71, Abdur Rehman 52).