Defiant Younis joins Richards, Chappell

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A characteristically defiant century from the veteran Younis Khan saw Pakistan recover to 261 for four on day one of the series opener against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.

A characteristically defiant century from the veteran Younis Khan saw Pakistan recover to 261 for four on day one of the series opener against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.

A potentially rusty Pakistan unit void of Test match cricket since January were thorough in outdoing a Sri Lanka unit beaming with confidence on the back of a series win over England earlier this month – but eager to rectify mistakes in defeat to South Africa last month.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was entirely justified in opting to bat first after winning the toss. Conditions at the Galle International Stadium demanded as much, although openers Ahmed Shehzad and Khurram Manzoor failed to heed expectation.

Shehzad was bowled for just four by the recalled Dhammika Prasad's sharp lateral movement. Manzoor, too, was beaten by the sniping seam – and wisely didn't waste a referral in perishing lbw for three.

Picked ahead of spinner Ajantha Mendis, Prasad brought a threatening dynamic to an attack also sporting the services of fellow right-armer Shaminda Eranga, who went without a breakthrough – and arguably hasn't recovered fully from a recent hand injury.

The talented Azhar Ali and Misbah offered Khan solid support throughout partnerships of 37 and 100 respectively. Ali and Misbah, though, were dismissed in relatively quick succession by spinner Rangana Herath. Half-centurion Asad Shafiq later continued the secondary role during an unbroken 105-run alliance.

The unfortunate recipient of this year's contract relegation and determined to eke out a 2015 World Cup berth in the twilight of a waning limited-overs career, Younis continued to prove doubters wrong in the longest format of the international game.

Wednesday's 133 not out from all of 228 deliveries marked the stalwarts' 24th Test century – as many as Australian great Greg Chappell and West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards. Two more and he will surpass the retired Inzamam-ul-Haq as Pakistan's leading centurion in this format.

Dogged, meticulous and patient throughout, the cool, calm and collected right-hander gathered 11 fours – and a solitary six. Successfully combating the bulk of the first new ball – and the opening 10 overs of the second – the former skipper's innings was a treat for Test match purists country- and worldwide.

Sri Lanka will be well aware of Pakistan's ambition to bat just once in this match, allowing in-form spinner Saeed Ajmal to lead the quest for 20 wickets – and a vital lead in the two-match series. Impending retiree Mahela Jayawardene, playing a final Test in Galle and gifted a fitting guard of honour on Wednesday, will beg to differ.

A wet outfield caused by overnight rain had earlier delayed the start by 30 minutes, while bad light removed two overs toward the end of proceedings. This temperamental weather, however, isn't likely to continue on Thursday.

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