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Youhana leads Pak fightback

Last updated on: July 16, 2006 11:45 IST

Mohammad Yousuf, the most elegant batsman in a team of stylists, stroked an unbeaten 185 on Saturday to steer Pakistan back into contention in the first Test against England at Lord's.

- Scorecard

Yousuf batted throughout the a sun-baked third day and has now occupied the crease for seven hours as Pakistan reached 409 for seven in their first innings, only 119 runs in arrears.

The slim right-hander was brought up as a Roman Catholic in Lahore and was formerly known as Yousuf Youhana before converting to Islam last year. He averages just over 50 in Tests but since his conversion he has averaged more than 90 if Saturday's not out innings is included.

"When I converted I started to pray five times a day," Yousuf told a news conference. "My first prayer is the morning at 4.30, the second is at tea time, the third is after the game, the next two are half past nine and quarter to 11.

"We get a lot of strength from prayer. I haven't changed my way of training or my way of the game, just my way of life."

Yousuf, 20 not out overnight in Pakistan's 66 for three in reply to England's 528 for nine declared, lost nightwatchman Mohammad Sami for a duck, caught behind in Matthew Hoggard's second over of the day.

The wicket was a mixed blessing for England as it brought the considerable figure of Inzamam-ul-Haq to the crease. Inzamam averages 58 against England and he averaged over 100 in the three-Test series at home late last year.

The Pakistan captain immediately began to bat with his customary calm authority, although he was fortunate to get a let off on 17 when first slip Marcus Trescothick was unable to hold on to a difficult chance high to his right hand off Liam Plunkett.

Yousuf accumulated runs with deft glances to leg, moving well across his stumps, and some flashing cover drives, including one off Steve Harmison which hit the fence before the bowler had completed his follow-through.

The pair added 173 for the fifth wicket before Inzamam was bowled in peculiar fashion by Plunkett when he played all round a delivery on his leg stump.

In the meantime, Yousuf had reached his 17th Test century and his fourth against England with 15 fours from 157 balls.

Abdul Razzaq helped him put on 59 for the sixth wicket before he was caught behind for 22 off Harmison, who worked up a fair amount of pace with the second new ball.

Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal survived a torrid examination of his technique around the off stump and a dropped catch by Kevin Pietersen at cover off the luckless Plunkett when he was on 26 to reach 58.

Pietersen then made amends by taking his first wicket in Test cricket when Akmal edged the ball to Geraint Jones behind the stumps.

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