Afridi and Younis exploit poor fielding

Pakistan 344-3 v West Indies
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The Independent Online

Contrasting centuries from Younis Khan and the recalled Shahid Afridi helped Pakistan dominate the opening day of the second Test against West Indies here yesterday. Younis was unbeaten on 131 while Afridi bludgeoned a chancy 107 as Pakistan reached 344 for 3, helped in no small part by some poor fielding.

Looking to square the two-Test series, West Indies made a fine start after Carl Hooper had won the toss. The seamer Mervyn Dillon claimed the wicket of Taufeeq Umar with 12 runs on the board, but that was as good as it got for Hooper as Younis and Afridi compiled a second-wicket stand of 190.

Afridi, brought back into the line-up for Naved Latif, set about the attack with a display of awesome hitting. His runs came off 149 balls and included 16 fours and three sixes but the 21-year-old, who holds the world record for the fastest one-day century, needed his fair share of luck to reach his second Test hundred. He was put down twice in the morning session and once after lunch.

The first let-off came when he was on 13 with Dinanath Ramnarine dropping a difficult opportunity in the slips. Then, on 29, he was put down by Hooper. The West Indies pair paid dearly for their misses, especially Ramnarine. Afridi smashed Ramnarine's first two deliveries to the boundary, and then took 16 runs off the leg-spinner from the final over before lunch, including a gigantic six which cleared the stand at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium.

The opener looked to have had another escape on 62 when the West Indies felt he had edged Dillon behind to Ridley Jacobs, but the umpire Shakeel Khan was unmoved. Afridi responded in the next over by crashing Ramnarine for another six over midwicket. Ramnarine, who replaced the injured Sherwin Campbell, finished a trying day with figures of 1 for 108 from 26 overs.

Afridi still needed another slice of luck, though, before he could celebrate three figures. His third life came on 79, when he offered a catch to the substitute fielder Corey Collymore, who could not hold on to the ball at cover.

But his knock finally ended just before tea when he tried to pull Cameron Cuffy and was bowled. That swashbuckling effort claimed much of the attention, but Younis was almost as effective. He reached his fifth Test century from 170 balls just after tea, and by the close had hit 12 fours and a six.

Once Afridi had departed, Younis shared in a stand of 70 with Inzamam-ul-Haq, who smashed four fours and two sixes before falling for 36 to a brilliant catch by Hooper off Ramnarine.

The West Indies could have been celebrating a fourth wicket, but yet another chance went begging. Jacobs was the culprit, putting down Yousuf Youhana, who made a century in the First Test, off his first delivery. The tourists' misery was compounded as Youhana went on to make an unbeaten 47 off 61 balls with eight fours.

First day; West Indies won toss

PAKISTAN – First Innings
Taufeeq Umar c Ganga b Dillon 8
Shahid Afridi b Cuffy 107
Younis Khan not out 131
Inzamam-ul-Haq c Hooper b Ramnarine 36
Yousuf Youhana not out 47
Extras (b12 nb3) 15
Total (for 3, 92 overs) 344

Fall: 1-12 2-202 3-272.

To bat: Shoaib Akhtar, Abdur Razzaq, *Waqar Younis, ÝRashid Latif, Saqlain Mushtaq, Danish Kaneria.

Bowling: Dillon 17-5-36-1; Collins 19-4-71-0 (nb1); Cuffy 17-2-41-1; Ramnarain 26-4-108-1 (nb1); Hooper 7-0-41-0; Hinds 5-1-24-0 (nb1); Gayle 1-0-12-0.

WEST INDIES: D Ganga, C H Gayle, D Ramnarine, *C L Hooper, S Chanderpaul, W W Hinds, R O Hinds, ÝR D Jacobs, M Dillon, P T Collins, C E Cuffy.

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and S Khan.