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Pakistan in solid position but draw likely from New Zealand test


CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, March 18 (AFP) - Pakistan made New Zealand wait 84 long overs and nearly six hours for their only wicket as double-century maker Yousuf Youhana and Saqlain Mushtaq dourly batted out day four of the second cricket Test here Sunday.

At stumps Pakistan were 561 for seven in their first innings, an overall lead of 85 and barely any chance of a result, barring a freakish effort from spin bowling star Saqlain Mushtaq Monday.

Youhana was the hero of the day with 203, his first double century in his 29th test, while another unlikely batting hero in Saqlain emerged.

At stumps he was unbeaten on 98, his highest Test score, and with Youhana added 248 runs in 372 minutes for the seventh wicket.

Pakistan scored just 220 runs in the day after resuming this morning on 341 for six, with Youhana on 73.

He fell to the left-arm spin of Mark Richardson who didn't arrive at the bowling crease until the 186th over.

The innings took him 528 minutes, he faced 429 balls and hit 27 fours and three sixes. The 26-year-old rated it as the highlight of his Test career.

"It's my best century because it was a chanceless innings and it was needed for Pakistan," Youhana said.

"It's a slow wicket but a perfect batting track. Batting was easy out there.

"Saqlain is always a good partner, it was my sixth century and I think No 5 with him."

The day meandered until late in the last session before there was any hint of excitement for the home side.

It came just after Youhana's 200, which he brought up with a cheeky single to mid-off and followed through most of the way to the pavilion to salute his team-mates.

Next ball Saqlain survived a confident leg before wicket shout from Richardson on 95 which was turned down by umpire Daryl Harper.

Then two overs later came Richardson's big moment when Youhana hit him straight back at head height and he completed a sharp catch.

The celebration far outweighed any for the two double centuries scored in the match, with the beaming Richardson racing almost to the fine leg boundary with his arms aloft.

Richardson, who entered first-class cricket more than a decade ago as a left-arm spinner and tail-end batsman, had only bowled a single over in Test cricket, on debut against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in September.

The bowling workload was largely shouldered by pacemen Daryl Tuffey and Chris Martin in the absence of the injured Chris Drum who dislocated a shoulder while fielding yesterday.

Tuffey took one for 153 off 41 overs, Martin two for 153 off 41 and recalled spinner Grant Bradburn one for 124 off 42 including three sixes by Youhana.

All the bowlers had their moments on the unforgiving surface and none were taken apart, with Tuffey continuing to look the most threatening.

Resuming on 341 for six, Pakistan added just 54 runs in the first session but stepped it up to add 95 in the second two hours.

The milestones came up at regular intervals, Youhana's sixth test century in 271 minutes off 214 balls then his highest test score, beating the 124 against England in Lahore in November. It was his fifth century in his last eight Tests.

Then Saqlain, who was largely subdued but occasionally launched the bat, reached 50 for the third time in a Test and also passed his highest score of 79.

That came during the world record eighth-wicket stand of 313 with Wasim Akram at Sheikhupura in 1996-97.

Pakistan also dominated day three Saturday, with Inzamam-ul-Haq scoring 130 in just over five hours after being dropped on 10 by Nathan Astle at second slip.

Inzamam and Youhana added 102 for the fourth wicket but Pakistan lost the quick wickets of Inzamam, Younis Khan and Moin Khan to be 304 for six before the marathon partnership.







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