Yousuf overpowers England again
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:SI Mahmood, MJ Hoggard, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Imran Farhat
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 18th August 2006


Mohammad Yousuf's third century of the series left Pakistan in command of the fourth and final Test at The Oval here Friday.


Pakistan, when bad light forced an early close on the second day, were 336 for three, a first innings lead of 163, with Yousuf 115 not out and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq unbeaten on two.


Yousuf's century followed his 202 in the drawn first Test at Lord's and 192 in England's series-clinching 167-run third Test triumph at Headingley. It was also his fourth in five Tests against England.


The right-hander also became the leading run scorer in Test cricket this year with 1,110 runs.


Together with Mohammad Hafeez, who made 95 in his first Test in nearly three years, he put on 177 for the third wicket after Yousuf, dropped twice early on, had shared a stand of 78 with Imran Farhat (91).


England's attack, as it had been Thursday, was lacklustre with fast bowler Stephen Harmison way below his best with figures of none for 78 in 15 overs.


The one consolation for England was that at 2-0 up they'd already won the series.


When the new ball arrived Harmison was driven back over his head for four by Yousuf and, in his next over, he barely hit the pitch with a delivery that gave wicket-keeper Chris Read no chance on its way for four wides.


But he was not alone among England's quicks in having a day to forget.


England's plight was summed up when Hafeez cut a wide ball from paceman Sajid Mahmood and Alastair Cook, on the boundary, conceded a four even though the ball came straight to him.


Hafeez did give a chance when on 79 he top-edged a hook off Matthew Hoggard, who had had four catches in all missed off his bowling.


But Monty Panesar, running round from fine leg, failed to hold the difficult, low chance.


Yousuf's two cover-driven fours in sucessive balls off medium-pacer Paul Collingwood took him through to a 174-ball century with 14 fours.


It was his 19th Test hundred and sixth against England.


Opener Hafeez, who'd retired hurt Thursday on eight, was equally assured. However, in sight of only his second Test hundred he chipped Hoggard to England captain Andrew Strauss at short mid-wicket.


In all he faced 177 balls with one six, a casually struck 'inside out' cover-drive off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, and 14 fours.


After overnight rain delayed the start by 30 minutes, Pakistan resumed on 96 for one, 77 behind. Farhat, dropped once, was 56 not out and Yousuf 12 not out.


Farhat, whose previous best this series was 34 in the second innings of Pakistan's innings and 120 run second Test defeat at Old Trafford, lofted Panesar's first ball for six over long-on.


Farhat, on 87, failed to control a cut off Hoggard and the ball flew over the head of Strauss at second slip for four.


But two balls later Farhat, in sight of his third Test hundred, saw his luck run out when he edged Hoggard straight to Marcus Trescothick at first slip after a stand of 78 when Yousuf had taken Pakistan to 148 for two.


Farhat faced 112 balls with one six and 13 fours.


On Thursday fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who missed the first three Tests of the series with an elbow injury, showed what Pakistan had been missing by taking four for 56, including a spell of three top-order wickets for four runs in 11 balls.


England compounded their poor batting display by dropping three chances in five Hoggard balls.


Farhat, on 49, saw a leaping Collingwood fail to hold a tough chance in the covers off a fierce drive.


Next ball Yousuf, on five, was dropped by Trescothick and on nine he was missed in the gully by Cook.


Up until this match Pakistan had been without all three of their leading quicks in Shoaib Akhtar (ankle), Rana Naved (groin) and Asif, a major handicap as they lost their first Test series in England since 1982.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)