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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Yousuf century makes England pay
England 173 v Pakistan 336-3

Mohammad Yousuf
Yousuf has a quite brilliant record against England's bowlers

Mohammad Yousuf hit his third century in four Tests and passed 600 runs for the series as Pakistan took an iron grip against England at the Oval.

The prolific Yousuf ended the second day on 115 not out as Pakistan reached a formidable 336-3, leading England by 163, with 30 overs lost to rain.

Yousuf, dropped twice before reaching 10 on Thursday, was supported by Imran Farhat (91) and Mohammad Hafeez (95).

Matthew Hoggard and Sajid Mahmood were the only England bowlers to strike.

Play began half an hour late but although showers looked imminent, the players got through to lunch without any further delays.

We are not in the best of rhythm but it's no excuse

Matthew Hoggard

From then on it was a different story, as rain fell before tea and barely 18 overs were possible after a resumption at 1630 BST.

Pakistan began the day on 96-1, with Yousuf on 12 and opening batsman Imran Farhat well set on 56.

The players got into their stride with some elegant cover-drives as England's seamers struggled to find enough movement.

Monty Panesar's first ball was confidently lofted over mid-on for six by Farhat and the 24-year-old left-hander was on course for his first century against England.

But Hoggard, continuing to attack his weak area just outside the off-stump, finally elicited an edge which Marcus Trescothick snapped up at slip to end a stand worth 78 runs.

Rain clouds at The Oval
The rain provided the only respite for a weary-looking England

Farhat had made 91 off just 112 balls, allowing his team to seize control of the match, but he trudged off the ground unhappily after missing out on a third Test century.

The wicket saw the return of Mohammad Hafeez, who had reached eight on Thursday evening before retiring hurt with a knee problem.

He could have been lbw to Panesar almost immediately, but umpire Darrell Hair declined an appeal that had a lot going for it.

Neither was Yousuf entirely certain against Panesar initially, but he put Pakistan into the lead with a sweep for four off the Sikh tweaker.

The two right-handers looked ready to produce another sizeable partnership when lunch came to give England a brief respite with Pakistan 190-2, leading by 17.

And so it proved. The two Mohammads put on 177 for the third wicket in 49 overs, with few alarms.

Panesar exerted some control, and had two more excellent appeals for lbw against Hafeez in the hour after lunch.

But Hair remained disinterested and the batsman played a wonderful lofted off-drive for six against the spinner.


Yousuf did nothing elaborate, but cashed in whenever the the seamers strayed in line.

Harmison was the most wayward of England's bowlers.

In his first over with the second new ball - after he had been used sparingly all day - he could barely achieve 80mph and bowled one delivery way down the leg-side for five wides.

By then, Yousuf had reached his century in an over in which he hit three boundaries off Paul Collingwood with elegant off-side drives.

Hafeez could not join him to the landmark, however.

Just before taking the new ball, in what proved to be the penultimate over of the day, Hoggard had him caught at short mid-wicket for 95.

He had given just one chance, top-edging Hoggard to Panesar at fine leg on 79, the fielder getting his fingers to the ball but failing to complete the catch as he dived forward.


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