Muhammad Yousuf has changed his name and his faith, and on the opening day of the third test he transformed Pakistans batting so fundamentally that he might have been a monarch returning from exile to reclaim his throne. This was the day Pakistan rediscovered their mojo and their MoYo, as Yousuf is referred to in internet circles. He batted for only two and a half hours and scored just 56 but, for the first time in this series, Pakistan bossed the stage and Englands bowlers looked a bit fed-up - no bad thing with the Ashes round the corner. Changing name and religion did not have a noticeably adverse effect on Muhammad Alis career and the batsman formerly known as Yousuf Youhana has been an even more formidable player since making the same alterations towards the end of 2005. Yousuf, right, is not just a good player, he is a great one. He is right up there with Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq - Miandad may well be the finest of them but Yousuf has the higher average. Yet his recall to the side was a controversial one, not least for the fact that it threatened to undermine their callow captain, Salman Butt. Yousuf, after all, had been banned indefinitely after captaining Pakistan on their catastrophic tour of Australia in the winter, when they lost every match. There were stories of dissent and broken curfews and at the end of it Yousuf, along with Younus Khan, were hauled before what passes for a beak in Pakistan and accused of being bad influences on the team. Butt, though, was full of praise for Yousuf last night. He made it easier for the younger players to play around him, he said. Cricket is a mind game as well. And he has influence because of the record he has. I think he is the most stylish player in the modern era. When hes batting it seems as though there is a lot of time and no matter how quick the bowler is, it looks really easy. Its like Inzamam-ul-Haq used to be. Yousuf, a week short of his 36th birthday, came to The Oval having played scarcely any cricket since March but with a monumental back catalogue. His beard is flecked with gray these days, like a careless decorators, but in the afternoon session this could almost have been the Muhammad Yousuf of 2006, when his figures were almost Bradman-esque. He scored 1,788 runs that year, with nine hundreds, and he averaged 92 in 14 Tests between November 2005 and November 2006. He came in with Pakistan wobbling on 76 for three and had the effect of a ballast tank on the middle order, with it was not only his own batting. Azhar Ali, a real talent who has struggled in this series, also played his first significant innings since his half-century against Australia at Headingley last month. Yousuf was watchful at first and at lunch had only 16 runs from 52 deliveries. He had even played and missed a few times. But after the break the England bowlers began to falter under the weight of his authority and he scored his next 40 from only 56 balls. Once again that flourishing high back-lift and those drives - often square on the off-side - were on view as one of the games great adornments. He raced through the forties when he drove Steven Finn through extra-cover for four and then ran him down through the vacant third-slip position for another. Bob Woolmer, Pakistans late coach, said Yousuf was like a Ferrari when he was batting and a truck when he wasnt - he is not too hot in the field - and that day we saw the Ferrari roar. It was poignant that he came in on Butts dismissal because the captain initially wanted to stick with his young band and was against the recall of Yousuf. They are in contrasting positions, these two. Butt can scarcely buy a run on this tour and was out for 17 after being dropped on six. On the other hand he has leadership and management skills that Yousuf so obviously lacks.