Duo put England to the sword
Younus and Azhar build unbeaten stand of 194 on day two in Dubai
Last Updated: February 5, 2012 12:42pm
An unbeaten stand of 194 between Younus Khan and Azhar Ali put Pakistan firmly in control on the second day of the third Test against England in Dubai.
Younus made 115 not out while Azhar finished the day unbeaten on 75, leaving the tourists to slump to a 180-run deficit ahead of the third day of play.
And with Pakistan still having eight wickets in hand at 222-2 in their second innings, England will need a dramatic turnaround with the ball if they are to avoid chasing a demanding target for victory.
England had earlier been bowled out for 141, a lowly total that nevertheless gave them a first-innings lead, with Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman claiming a five-wicket haul.
But the dominance of the ball was broken by Younus and Azhar, who batted out two wicketless sessions to give the designated home team a huge boost in their bid for a 3-0 series whitewash.
The start of Pakistan's second innings had followed the same pattern as the rest of the match to that point, with two wickets falling inside the first 10 overs.
Taufeeq Umar's front-foot defence to James Anderson only succeeded in sending an edge to the slips, where Andrew Strauss took a routine catch to send him packing for six.
Mohammad Hafeez (21) hit Monty Panesar for six early on but misjudged a sweep to the England spinner in the same over and was struck on the back thigh and dismissed lbw.
But the bowling attack was stopped in its tracks after lunch by Younus and Azhar, neither of whom seemed troubled by England pace or spinning options.
Younus reached his fifty shortly before tea and continued in the same vein after the break, bringing up the first century of the series in 166 balls when he swept Panesar away for two.
While Younus hit 11 fours and a six during the day, his ultra-patient partner Azhar provided perfect support as he totalled just four boundaries in his 246-ball knock.
Earlier, England had started the day five runs ahead with four wickets down and were able to increase that lead to 42 as Strauss continued his defiance.
The captain made a determined 56 before being the penultimate man out as he could not find a lower-order partner who would have given the tourists a significant advantage.
Nightwatchman Anderson fell in the first over of the day as he was bowled through the gate for four while trying to push-drive Rehman's orthodox left-arm spin.
Stuart Broad was also dismissed shortly after when he pushed well forward to a Saeed Ajmal doosra, with the DRS showing he had been struck just in line with off stump.
Strauss kept plugging away at the other end and eventually reached a 141-ball half-century, only his second in the last year, when he edged Rehman (5-40) past the slips for a boundary.
He fell foul to the same bowler soon after, however, being stumped after going up the wicket to bring up Rehman's five-for, with Pakistan's other spinner Ajmal (3-59) claiming the final wicket of Graeme Swann (16).