Unstoppable Younis Khan piles on the agony for Australia in Test against Pakistan

Khan recorded his third successive century on Thursday

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The Independent Online

Australia’s hopes of avoiding a first series defeat to Pakistan for two decades were dealt a serious blow on the first day of the second Test here on Thursday. Younis Khan recorded his third successive century for the hosts and Azhar Ali also reached three figures to put Pakistan firmly in control.

Younis, having underpinned his side’s victory in the first match of the two-Test series with twin centuries in Dubai, was again in imperious form.

The 36-year-old’s appetite for runscoring appears undiminished, his unbeaten 111 coming off just 155 balls with 10 fours and a six. Ali’s more sedate 101 not out took 223 balls with six boundaries as Pakistan closed on 304 for 2 after winning the toss.

Younis’s efforts made him only the fourth Pakistan batsman to achieve the feat of three hundreds in a row and the second of any nationality to do so against Australia, after England’s Herbert Sutcliffe.

The tourists made two changes from the side that was comprehensively beaten by 221 runs at the weekend, Alex Doolan making way for Glenn Maxwell and debutant left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe being dropped in favour of the pace-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Starc.

But Australia endured a gruelling day in the field. Starc was given just one over with the new ball before Peter Siddle joined forces with Mitchell Johnson, and Pakistan’s openers Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez settled in quietly, bringing up 50 in the 17th over.

However, in the next over off-spinner Nathan Lyon made the breakthrough, finding a way past Shehzad’s crooked bat and trapping him lbw on the crease for 35.

Hafeez and Ali carried on playing cautiously, reaching lunch at 82 for 1, and the first nine overs of the afternoon session cost only 12 before the 10th brought the wicket of Hafeez, who nicked Johnson to Brad Haddin for 45.

The in-form Younis soon overhauled Ali and did the bulk of the scoring before tea, reaching the break on 49 to his partner’s cautious 26.

The final session, elongated to 36 overs because of Australia’s slow over rate, saw Pakistan pile on 146 runs to cement their position, though Azhar offered a couple of half-chances, first to short-leg off Lyon, then a tougher one which evaded David Warner off Steve Smith’s leg-spin.

Australia switched their bowlers around regularly in the final hour but it had no effect as Younis reached three figures off 128 balls and Ali joined him from the penultimate delivery of the day.

Meanwhile, the Mudgal Commission will deliver its findings about alleged corruption in the Indian Premier League on Monday.

The subcommittee, appointed by India’s Supreme Court and headed by former chief justice Mukul Mudgal, has been investigating claims of match and spot-fixing, notably an envelope containing the names of 13 individuals said to be involved in corruption.