Younus stars but Pakistan play it safe
Former Pakistan captain Younus Khan marked his first Test for 16 months with a match-saving unbeaten century against South Africa in Dubai.
The 32-year-old, who ended a self-imposed exile in the summer and had a life ban from the Pakistan Cricket Board quashed last month, complied a patient 131 not out to secure a draw in the first Test of the two-match series.
Younus added 82 for the third wicket with Azhar Ali - the only wicket to fall today - and an unbroken 186 with new skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who finished 76 not out in a total of 343 for three.
There were 13 overs remaining in the day’s play when Misbah and South Africa counterpart Graeme Smith shook hands - a somewhat surprising stance from Pakistan as they needed 108 to complete a Test-record chase of 451.
The designated home side, who are playing this series in the United Arab Emirates due to security concerns in Pakistan, started the day on 109 for two - needing a further 341 to win - with Azhar on 37 and Younus 11.
Younus was dropped on 16 by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher in the fourth over after the right-hander chased a wide ball from Dale Steyn and survived a run-out chance in the ensuing confusion.
With saving the game a priority, neither batsman was particularly adventurous; Azhar went to a 110-ball half-century by punching Steyn past mid-off for three.
However, the right-hander was bowled for 63 from 150 deliveries by Paul Harris with a ball which turned sharply and clipped off stump.
Misbah lived dangerously early on with a risky four off Johan Botha just over midwicket. He was dropped in the spinner’s next over by Hashim Amla, diving forward at short-leg.
South Africa paid the price for those misses as their hopes of victory faded after lunch, when Younus and Misbah upped the ante.
Younus, who had previously been subdued, lifted Botha for six over long-on and immediately swept him for four.
He followed up with three boundaries - two streaky - in a Steyn over in which the new ball was taken.
All the action surrounded Younus as he survived a vociferous appeal from Morne Morkel for a catch at short-leg and responded by driving the tall seamer for four.
Misbah lofted Harris for consecutive fours before surviving a confident lbw shout from Morkel, who in the previous over was warned for running on the pitch, shortly ahead of the hundred partnership arriving.
Younus completed his 17th Test century in style with a consecutive four, two and six over midwicket off Botha. Misbah emulated Younus’ maximum in the spinner’s next over to herald his fifty.
Pakistan began the final session requiring an unlikely 167 for victory from 29 overs, but showed little interest in chasing that other than another Younus six and a couple of Misbah fours off Botha.
Morkel was again denied a leg before decision versus Misbah and Botha against Younus, who immediately followed up with his fourth maximum.
That suggested Pakistan had decided to press for the win, but the teams called it quits at the end of the over.