Maybe the mosquito which bit Younis Khan to cause dengue fever infused some new blood in him as the senior batsman gave no signs of weakness from the near-fatal disease as his hundred put Pakistan in another commanding position in the series.
Younis’s 33rd Test hundred helped Pakistan recover to 304-4 at close on day one. He had walked in to bat with the score on 42-2 and that was on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.
He has also bettered his record of consecutive hundreds without being dismissed on nervous nineties — 31 in all. Australian legendary batsman Don Bradman was never dismissed for 90s during his career which had 29 hundreds.
Younis has only one score of 90s, a 91 versus New Zealand at Auckland in, 2001. In the last over before close he holed out off Kraig Brathwaite but along with Misbah-ul-Haq, 90 not out, put Pakistan on course for another big total and from where Pakistan can press for a 2-0 lead.
It is his 13th century after the age of 35 – the most by any batsman. England’s Graham Gooch and David Gower and India’s Sachin Tendulkar scored 12 centuries after their 35, an ample proof that he is mellowing with age.
Misbah too batted with guts and hit two towering sixes and was ten runs short of his 11th hundred at close. The second new ball is already due and Holder will take it as early as possible in the morning which will be a big challenge for Misbah and Sarfaraz Ahmed and the rest of the tail.
It was Asad Shafiq who dominated the first session, never bogged down despite coming to the crease with Pakistan at 6-1. He started in an aggressive manner to reach his half-century off just 68 balls, and when on 57 reached 3,000 Test runs.
He is the 13th Pakistani batsmen and sixth fastest to reach 3,000 mark in 75 innings. Only Javed Miandad (67), Mohammad Yousuf (67), Saeed Anwar (68), Younis (70) and Majid Khan (72) did it quicker than Shafiq.
A century was there for Asad to take but he played on to Gabriel after a lazy shot. Perhaps the extended one-hour rest for Friday prayers let him lose his concentration as he had to start afresh.