England v Pakistan: Asad Shafiq & Younus Khan centuries give tourists lead


England(Online): Asad Shafiq and Younus Khan centuries helped Pakistan open up a lead over England in the final Test at The Oval.
Dropped on seven, Shafiq made 109, while Younus emerged from his poor run of form to end the second day unbeaten on 101, his 32nd Test century. Pakistan, for whom Azhar Ali made 49, closed on 340-6, leading by 12. Chris Woakes took two wickets in an over late on but England, 2-1 up in the series, were undermined by three dropped catches. Alex Hales, James Anderson and Steven Finn were responsible for spilling the chances that enabled Pakistan to lay the platform for a sizeable first-innings total on a reliable surface.
To cap a tough day for England, Hales was fined 15% of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision on Thursday and making “inappropriate comments” when he visited the third umpire’s room after being given out.Shafiq, who made a pair at Edgbaston batting at number six, responded to being promoted up the order with an innings which could prove pivotal to the outcome of this Test. Coming in at 52-2 after night watchman Yasir Shah edged Finn to Joe Root at second slip, Shafiq capitalized on occasional slices of fortune to make his ninth Test century. On 57, he edged a drive just over first slip, and had made 75 when an inside edge flew past a diving wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow’s left hand. However, Shafiq was proficient in the arc between point and the keeper, showed disdain for Moeen Ali’s off-spin by finding the stand at long-on, and demonstrated sufficient composure to spend 16 balls on 99. He eventually fell to a splendid leaping catch by Stuart Broad at mid-wicket when pulling Finn, having added 150 for the fourth wicket with Younus.
If Shafiq came into this game on the back of a miserable third Test, Younus had not passed 33 in six innings in the series. Although not at his most fluent on Friday, the 38-year-old drove well through the off side when England’s seamers over pitched, and combined power and deftness to score with freedom off Moeen and Root. Noticeably less jumpy at the crease than he has been this summer, Younus brought up a 139-ball hundred, containing 15 fours, five overs before the close. By that time he had seen Woakes remove Misbah-ul-Haq and Iftikhar Ahmed in the space of four balls, the captain edging to gully and the debutant well held by a scrambling Moeen at mid-on off a top-edged pull.