KARACHI: A scarcely believable unbroken 217-run stand between Shan Masood and Younus Khan has given Pakistan a genuine chance of winning the third and final Test of the three match series against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.
Set a 377-run target, Pakistan wobbled early when Ahmed Shehzad and Azhar Ali returned to the dressing room with only 13 runs on the board.
But Masood and Younus blunted the hosts in two sessions of magnificent Test match batting. The rookie Masood, playing his fifth Test, reached his first hundred with a thumping six against Tharindu Kaushal. He reached his ton off 172 balls and when the stumps were drawn for the day the left-hander was batting on 114. Pakistan were well placed at 230 for two, needing only 147 more runs to record their best-ever chase in Test history.
The veteran Younus posted his 30th Test century, becoming the first batsman in Test history to notch five centuries in the fourth innings of a Test. Younus playing his 101st Test reached the century landmark shortly before close, he ended the day at 101 off 166 balls.
The unbroken 217-run stand between Masood and Younus is already a Pakistan record for the fourth innings of a Test, surpassing the 212-run stand between Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar against New Zealand.
Masood is the sixth Pakistan opener to score a century in the fourth innings of a Test — considered by cricketing pundits as the toughest innings of a Test.
Meanwhile, Younus is now perched at number three on the batting averages list for the fourth innings of a Test. After his latest achievement, the Mardan-born is only a shade behind Geoffrey Boycott and Sunil Gavaskar with a 57.40 average in the fourth innings of a Test. He has the opportunity of improving his tally when play resumes tomorrow.