x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Younis' double hundred and fit-again Umar bring cheer to Pakistan

Zimbabwe left chasing 343 for an unlikely win on the final day with nine wickets in hand while Umar Akmal is ruled fit after last month's strange seizure.

The innings of Pakistan's Younis Khan, left, was patience personified. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo
The innings of Pakistan's Younis Khan, left, was patience personified. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo

Younis Khan hit a double century as Pakistan gained control on the fourth day of the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare.

Younis hit 200 not out to enable Pakistan to declare on 419 for nine, setting Zimbabwe an unlikely 342 to win today. Zimbabwe were 13 for one at the close, losing Tina Mawoyo, their opening batsman, in the last over of the day, leg before wicket to Saeed Ajmal.

Ajmal, the off-spinner, who took seven for 95 in the first innings, will be the main threat to the Zimbabwe batsmen on the last day on a deteriorating pitch. It was a monumental performance by Younis, who batted for 10 hours, 12 minutes and faced 404 balls, knowing for much of his innings that his side would be in danger if he were dismissed.

Pakistan were in deep trouble at 23 for three early in his innings. He had shared a century partnership with Misbah-ul-Haq on Thursday but the tourists were still vulnerable when Asad Shafiq was bowled in the first over yesterday, with Pakistan only 91 ahead with five wickets remaining.

Another century stand, with wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, who made a career-best 64, steered Pakistan towards safety.

An unbroken last-wicket partnership of 88 with Rahat Ali (35 not out) took the game away from a tiring Zimbabwe team.

Patience was the hallmark of Younis's innings but left Pakistan in a tight situation to declare their innings as Younis approached his double century.

Misbah, the captain, delayed the declaration with just less than an hour left in the day, enough to have a crack at the Zimbabwe batting order. Younis took more than two overs to move from 194 to the milestone, and when he did the declaration was immediate.

Meanwhile, Pakistan said yesterday that the young batsman Umar Akmal was fit to play after undergoing medical tests following a seizure last month.

Umar, 23, was on his way to Zimbabwe to join the limited-overs squad when the ailment came up.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ordered Umar to undergo medical tests and have declared him fit.

Najam Sethi, the PCB caretaker chairman, hoped that Umar could now "be able to serve Pakistan cricket with distinction in the months and years to come".

The board said a top Pakistani neurologist had given Umar "a clean bill of health" with "no restriction on physical activity" and "no need for medication or any further medical tests".

The report, the PCB said, diagnosed "lack of sleep". The neurologist described it as a one-off but relatively common phenomenon that "does not necessitate any restrictions on him" other than "getting six to seven hours of sleep".

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