Pakistan scent victory after Younus double ton
Younus Khan’s superb 218 put Pakistan in a strong position before they picked up four England wickets to take complete control on the third day of the fourth and final test at The Oval on Saturday.
Younus batted for more than seven hours to lift the touring side to 542 all out in their first innings, a lead of 214 runs, and they then removed Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, James Vince and Joe Root to leave England in deep trouble on 88 for four.
Gary Ballance was unbeaten on four at the close with Jonny Bairstow on 14 but Pakistan should secure victory on Sunday to level the series 2-2.
Younus shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 77 with Sarfraz Ahmed who was the only wicket to fall in the morning session, well caught by diving wicketkeeper Bairstow off Chris Woakes for 44.
The experienced Younus shepherded the tail well, hitting four sixes and 31 fours as the England attack toiled in the sunshine.
“As a senior there is a lot of expectation on me,” said the 38-year-old after compiling his sixth test double hundred. “Everybody knows that if I can get through those first 20 or 25 balls I can make a big hundred.
“The first three games I made some 30s but didn’t convert. In this game I was just very calm.”
England began their second innings poorly as Cook, on seven, edged Wahab Riaz to Iftikhar Ahmed at first slip.
Hales (12) was then trapped lbw by Yasir Shah and the leg-spinner had Vince caught by Misbah-ul-Haq at cover for a three-ball duck to leave the hosts reeling on 55 for three.
Joe Root made a fluent 39 but he was deceived by a quicker ball from Shah that crashed into his pads and the home team, 126 runs behind, face an uphill task to save the match with two days remaining.
“Those four wickets in the evening session hurt us as a team but we’ve been in these tricky situations before and we’ll be fighting as hard as we can tomorrow to come out and fight to save this match,” said England paceman Steven Finn.