Younis, Shafiq hundreds dig Pakistan out of trouble

Centuries by Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq transformed Pakistan's fortunes on the first day of the second Test against South Africa at Newlands on Thursday. Pakistan were 253/5 at stumps, having been reeling at 33/4 after being sent in. Younis was caught behind off Vernon Philander 13 balls before the close for 111, while Shafiq was unbeaten, also on 111.

The pair put on 219, a record partnership for any wicket by Pakistan against South Africa. It was a remarkable turnaround after the South African fast bowlers scythed through their top order early in the day. Pakistan seemed in danger of another humiliation following their dismissal for a record low of 49 on the way to a 211-run defeat in the first Test in Johannesburg.

Graeme Smith's decision to bowl seemed fully justified as Morne Morkel took two wickets and Philander and Dale Steyn claimed one each, with none of the batsmen looking comfortable. Younis, Pakistan's most experienced batsman, had to survive some challenging deliveries from Steyn at the start of his innings, while Shafiq followed a fighting half-century in the second innings in Johannesburg with an innings which grew in quality the longer it progressed.The 50 partnership was posted off 151 balls, but their second 50 was scored off 88 deliveries and the pair scored freely in the afternoon before the second new ball was due. Younis reached his 21st Test century and his fourth against South Africa after facing 192 balls and hitting six fours and three sixes, all of the sixes coming off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson. The stocky Shafiq followed in the last over with the old ball, notching his third Test hundred off 201 balls with 13 fours and a six. The stand lasted for 439 balls and gave Pakistan heart after a poor start.

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