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Pakistan in command

MOHAMMAD Yousuf celebrated his return to test cricket with a century that helped Pakistan to a 50-run first innings lead against hosts Sri Lanka on the second day of the first test in Galle yesterday.

Pakistan began day two on a precarious 15-2 but sensible batting by the middle order led by Yousuf took them to 342 all out.

Sri Lanka had to negotiate just one over before stumps and was yet to score, but did not lose a wicket.

Pakistan night-watchman Abdur Rauf and captain Younis Khan had earlier averted the possibility of a batting collapse with 50-run partnership. Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq then built on that platform with a 139-run fifth-wicket stand.

Yousuf also put on 75 runs for the sixth wicket with Shoaib Malik (38), after Misbah was caught by Mahela Jayawardene at slip off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for 56 runs just before tea.

He faced 128 balls and hit nine boundaries.

Yousuf was eventually run out to a direct throw by wicketkeeper Tillakaratne Dilshan at the non-striker's end for 112, his 29th hundred in his 80th test. He spent 4? hours at the crease, faced 186 balls and hit 10 boundaries.

Seamer Nuwan Kulasekera was the pick of the bowlers with 4-71 while left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara took 2-77.

Pakistan's most senior batsman, Yousuf had been exiled from test cricket for 19 months after he signed up with the Indian Cricket League. But he was recalled by the authorities to tour Sri Lanka after he broke links with the unsanctioned league.

On the first day, Pakistan's new-look bowling attack - which included three debutants - restricted Sri Lanka to 292 but its batsmen made a nervous start losing opener Sulman Butt to the second ball of the innings bowled by seamer Nuwan Kulasekera.

Thushara trapped Khurram Manzoor lbw for two runs to leave the visitors on 15-2 at stumps.

Rauf, making his test debut, belied his lack of experience and made 31 before nicking Kulasekera to Dilshan.

Debutant Sri Lanka seamer Anjelo Mathews then had Khan (25) caught by Dilshan, claiming his first test wicket and leaving the visitors on 80-4 before Yousuf and Misbah combined.


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