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Yousuf leads Pakistan to victory

Mohammad Yousuf hit a brilliant century to lead Pakistan to a 25-run victory over South Africa in a day-night international in Lahore on Saturday and level the series 1-1.

Yousuf’s 143-ball 117 ensured Pakistan posted a fighting 265-9 in their 50 overs before the home team overcame poor fielding to restrict the South Africans to 240 in 49.3 overs.

South Africa won the first match by 45 runs on Thursday with the next in the five-match series to be played at Faisalabad on Tuesday.

Graeme Smith top scored for the tourists with a 96-ball 65 before Shaun Pollock (37) and Albie Morkel (31) gave Pakistan a scare during their 47-ball 55-run partnership for the seventh wicket.

Morkel, who hit three boundaries and a six, was run out in the 42nd over, while Umar Gul finished any hopes of an upset when he ended Pollock’s 46-ball 37-run knock with four overs remaining.

Pakistani fielders dropped as many as five catches but their bowlers produced a spirited display and never gave up.

Smith was the main beneficiary of Pakistan’s poor fielding and was let off on 19, 31 and 44. He hit five boundaries before edging left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal in the 35th over.

Smith and AB de Villiers (35) had steadied the tourists’ innings by adding 76 for the third wicket after Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis — both failed to score — fell in quick succession.

Gul trapped Gibbs off his third ball while Sohail Tanveer had Kallis caught at gully to leave South Africa at 4-2.

De Villiers (35) supported Smith before paceman Rao Iftikhar struck twice, removing De Villiers and Justin Kemp (eight) to finish with a career-best 3-43.

Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, who dropped Smith off his own bowling, dismissed Mark Boucher for 14 to press home Pakistan’s advantage.

Earlier, Pakistan’s innings was built around a patient knock by Yousuf who repaired the innings with Malik during their 107-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Yousuf also added 60 for the third wicket with Younis Khan (32) to repair the early loss of Kamran Akmal (nought) and Imran Nazir (two).

Yousuf hit paceman Kallis for his seventh boundary to complete his 13th one-day hundred off 129 balls.

In all, he hit nine boundaries before he was bowled by Morkel in the penultimate over.

Younis released the pressure of early wickets by hitting three boundaries before he was run out, sent back by Yousuf while attempting a sharp single to short mid-wicket. Younis made 32.

Malik started off well, hitting four sixes to build the innings along with a steady Yousuf.

When it looked like Pakistan would post a big total, Malik pulled fast bowler Charl Langeveldt straight to long-on where Kemp took a straightforward catch.

Misbah-ul Haq (21) helped Yousuf add 41 for the fifth wicket before he too hooked Ntini to Smith at square-leg. Afridi hit a six during his brief stay as Pakistan managed 78 runs in the last ten overs. Morkel, Ntini and Langeveldt took two wickets apiece. – Sapa-AFP

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