Yousuf marks return in style

Sri Lanka 292 & 0-0 Pakistan 342
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The Independent Online

Mohammad Yousuf scored a century as Pakistan took a useful lead on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle. Yousuf's knock of 112 injected life and momentum into a Pakistan innings which had wilted under a tough examination from Sri Lanka's fast bowlers in the morning.

Yousuf secured the turnaround through a 139-run stand for the fifth wicket with Misbah-ul Haq (56) and put Pakistan ahead with a 75-run stand for the sixth wicket with Shoaib Malik (38).

Fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara hit back with the second new ball and finished the innings with four wickets as Pakistan were bowled out for 342, a lead of 50 runs over Sri Lanka's first innings score.

Yousuf had come to the crease in the morning session with Pakistan in trouble after Sri Lanka's bowlers had made inroads into their line-up with a couple of quick wickets. Overlooked for national duty in the last Test series because of his association with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League and a feud with the team management including former captain Malik, Yousuf returned to action in style with a fluent and positive approach.

He survived a lucky reprieve on 57 when he attempted to glance left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to fine leg, but only managed an inside edge which ballooned in the air and was gleefully gloved by stand-in keeper Tillakaratne Dilshan. Umpire Darly Harper turned down Sri Lanka's appeal although television replays clearly showed he had made a mistake.

Yousuf made good his reprieve, reaching his 24th test hundred with a square-driven boundary off Mendis, but a dozen runs later he was out when a direct throw from Dilshan hit the stumps in the last session of play.

Misbah had begun laboriously but consolidated Pakistan's position and frustrated the home team with his dogged stand with Yousuf. He hit nine boundaries before his innings ended just before tea when he edged Herath to Mahela Jayawardene at first slip.