Younis, Asad lift Pakistan

Cape Town: Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq made fine centuries as Pakistan recovered from a poor start to reach 253 for five on the opening day of the second Test against South Africa at Newlands on Thursday.

Having been reduced to 33 for four before lunch, a 219-run fifth-wicket stand between Younis (111) and Shafiq (111 batting) made the South African bowlers toil in the sun after captain Graeme Smith had won the toss.

The hosts dismissed Younis shortly before the close to leave the match evenly poised.

"After the first Test we had a lot of meetings to discuss how we should play Test cricket," Younis told reporters. "It was tough again this morning, but after we got through the new ball, if it was there to be hit, we went for it.

"I encouraged Asad to do the same and I think that helped him to relax. The wicket is much better for batting, I was a bit lucky but I hung in there. The bowlers were talking a lot to me but I just kept smiling and trying to hit the bad ball."

Smith had spoken about a "dangerous" Pakistan side following their 211-run defeat in the first Test and so it proved as Younis and Shafiq started watchfully before accelerating after tea. Shafiq was dropped by Dean Elgar at short leg off spinner Robin Peterson when on just 24, but otherwise gave a chanceless performance in reaching his third Test century off 201 balls including 13 fours and a six.

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