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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Pakistan rally after Bell century

Ian Bell celebrates his third century in as many Tests
Bell was supremely elegant as he eased to another century

Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf put on an unbroken century stand to frustrate England after the hosts had piled up 515 in the third Test at Headingley.

The tourists ended day two on 202-2 after quickly losing both openers.

Earlier, Ian Bell hit his third century in as many Tests, Kevin Pietersen made 135, and tail-enders Sajid Mahmood (34) and Steve Harmison (36) entertained.

Taufeeq Umar then edged Matthew Hoggard behind and Salman Butt was run out but Younis (64) and Yousuf (91) held firm.

England will still feel happy with their position but the wicket, apart from the occasional indifferent bounce, is largely a good one for batting and they have plenty of hard work ahead.

Pakistan suffered during the morning when 141 runs came as their bowlers, although pitching the ball up further than they did on Friday, lacked the pace to really trouble Bell and Pietersen.

The duo took their partnership past 100 in two stints as edges fell short and wide of the slip fielders. There was a scare for Bell when a fierce drive from Pietersen was deflected on to the stumps by Gul, but he had part of his bat grounded.


And the Warwickshire youngster confirmed his resurgence with a delightful shot down the ground off Mohammad Sami to bring up three figures off 172 balls and become the 10th England player to make it three centuries in consecutive Tests.

Pietersen, wearing a strap to help counter any lasting effects of Friday's cramps in his arm, was kept quiet for the first 20 minutes as Gul and Shahid Nazir pitched the ball up and straight.

But he was never likely to be restrained for too long and as soon as the seamers strayed in direction he was quick to put the ball away.

Adrenalin eventually got the better of him and another heave off Sami succeeded only in finding Nazir at long-off.

Bell maintained his cool, however, and continued to display dashes of supreme elegance, such as the sublime dance down the track to loft Danish Kaneria over his head for his 12th four.

Indeed, it was something of a surprise when the leg-spinner beat him with one that he tried to work away on the off-side.

That was merely the cue for Harmison to initiate a savage assault, including two big sixes, which Mahmood joined in and though both fell soon after the interval, the match was rapidly slipping away from Pakistan.

Mohammad Yousuf
Yousuf played aggressively to lead Pakistan's fightback

That was emphasised when after a solid start, Taufeeq chased a wide one from Hoggard which Chris Read pouched and Pietersen hit the target from point when Younis called Butt through for a needless single.

Harmison should also have been celebrating the demise of Yousuf for only five but Paul Collingwood failed to hold on at third slip when his Durham colleague induced an edge.

It proved costly as the third-wicket pair responded with a flurry of boundaries and Mahmood, who had been impressive before tea, was dealt with severely by Younis.

Harmison was then hit for three successive fours by Yousuf, although the second flew over second slip, to take the tourists past 100.

Yousuf did have another close shave when he edged Hoggard agonisingly past Andrew Strauss at second slip, while Younis chipped the ball just short of mid-on.

But other than a couple of optimistic lbw appeals against Younis, there was nothing to alarm the batsmen from left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who bowled a disciplined spell.

A nice cover drive off Hoggard brought Yousuf three runs to take him up to 51 off 57 balls, while Younis took 23 more balls to reach his half century.

Strauss juggled his bowlers around but they started to run out of ideas and were reduced to complaining about the condition of the ball.

The last session belonged to Pakistan, and England must try again on Sunday to ram home their advantage.

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