Younis Khan led a Pakistan fight back on day one of the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Galle. His unbeaten 133 revived Pakistan from a perilous position of 56-3, in a testing morning session, to 261-4 by the close of play.
Sri Lanka headed into the first Test match in the two-Test series in confident mood after their recent Test series victory in England and their encouraging performances in a narrow series defeat against the World number one side, South Africa.
Whilst Sri Lanka have had a tough itinerary this year Pakistan are fresh as this series is their first in seven months.
Mahela Jayawardene, playing in what is expected to be his last Test series, had to wait to bat as Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first but he was given a guard of honour as he emerged from the pavilion to field.
Pakistan on the back foot
Pakistan's decision to bat first looked to have back fired as new-ball bowler Dhammika Prasad (2-54) dismissed both openers to leave the visitors on 19-2 as the opening session conditions favoured the seam and swing bowlers. Spin-bowler Rangana Herath (2-68) then dismissed Azhar Ali (30) after a brief resistance as Pakistan were left reeling on 56-3.
The star of the day Younis Khan then engineered a hundred partnership between himself and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (31) before Herath dismissed the latter with the score on 156.
Khan remained unmoved for the rest of the day as he was then partnered by Asad Shafiq (55*) to an unbeaten partnership of 105 by the close of play to leave Pakistan in a strong position on 261-4 having dominated the final two sessions.
Khan's innings was crucial to Pakistan's recovery and included 11 fours and a six in his 228 ball stay. During his innings he equaled Mohammad Yousuf's 24 Test centuries, the second-most by a Pakistani, and went past his 7530 Test runs.
Sri Lanka will be keen to take early wickets on day two and will be disappointed with how the afternoon and evening sessions turned out. Pakistan will be relieved to have built a decent total on day one particularly after winning the toss and then losing crucial early wickets in what was a testing morning for their batsmen.
Younis Khan will now have his sights set on a double-hundred on day two to lead Pakistan into a position of dominance in what is expected to be a close series.