|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Aamer, Younis Khan|
|Event:||Pakistan in England and Ireland 2016|
By Andy Jalil at KIA Oval
Pakistan in commanding position in fourth Test
London A century of great distinction from Younis Khan spanning seven-and-a half hours during which he dominated the play for the first two sessions on the third day of the fourth Test, took Pakistan to a massive first innings lead of 214 on being dismissed at tea for 542. During his fifth Test double century, he passed his previous highest score against England of 173 and took his Test aggregate to 9,456 runs, the highest for a Pakistan batsman.
England seemed overwhelmed in the face of such a daunting deficit and Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah extracting considerable turn reduced England to 88 for four by close of play, taking three for 15 in seven overs which included a spell of three for 4 runs in 22 balls. They lost early wickets on a fine batting pitch on which Pakistan had piled on the runs in glorious sunshine.
Alastair Cook fell first, in the tenth over when Iftikhar Ahmed, who had dropped the England captain in the first innings, snapped up the catch brilliantly this time, at first slip off Wahab Riaz, with the left-armer working up a fiery spell of pace and taking the outside edge. The next three went to Yasir who had Alex Hales lbw and then James Vince spooned an easy catch to Misbah ul Haq at cover without scoring.
Joe Root, who seemed to be going well on 39 from 46 balls, looked to be playing for a leg break but the ball went slightly the other way to trap him. He asked for a review of the decision but it went against him as in the case of Hales earlier. Gary Ballance, 4, and Jonny Bairstow on 14 saw out the day with England trailing by 126 runs.
Earlier, England had to wait for an hour-and-a-half before claiming the first wicket of the day, while Pakistan had moved on to 397 for seven. Sarfraz Ahmed, who was on 17 when the tourists resumed their first innings on 340 for six, had patiently reached 44 in nearly two hours when he edged Chris Woakes behind the stumps. Younis had been even more watchful and had added just 27 to his overnight score of 101 during that period.
The stand for the eighth wicket was worth 77 as Pakistan continued to slowly increase their lead going into lunch on 417 for seven. England claimed their next wicket in the fifth over after the break with the stumping of Wahab Riaz who was content to make 4 from 32 balls while letting his senior partner get on with the scoring and taking his personal score to 160.
Younis increased the rate of scoring and went after the bowling during the ninth wicket stand. He progressed to 182 with the most exquisite drive to the cover boundary off Stuart Broad and entered the nineties with a six off Moeen, dragging the ball from outside off stump to deposit over wide mid-wicket. With singles, he took his score to 195 and then unleashed a mighty six off Moeen again over wide mid-wicket to reach a brilliant double hundred.
Mohammad Amir got off the mark with a six off Moeen in the same over that saw Younis to two hundred and cost Moeen 15 from the over. The fifty of the stand came from 67 balls with Younis contribution being 43 and Pakistan score reached 500 from 805 balls. Amir too scored merrily, hitting Woakes for four before neatly cutting Root to the boundary to reach 30.
England were finally relieved when James Anderson in his third over back to bowl not having bowled after the first hours play trapped Younis leg before. The batsman asked for a review of the decision and replay showed the ball might have clipped leg stump at best, it was so marginal. It had been a great innings during which he faced 308 balls, hitting 31 fours and four sixes.
Just about on the stroke of tea, Pakistan were dismissed with Sohail Khan held at mid-on by Broad off Steve Finn who finished with three for 110 and Woakes had three for 82. Amir remained not out with 39, his highest Test score which helped to boost the Pakistan total on an excellent pitch for batting.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 Andy Jalil)