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Khan century spurs Pakistan to 261-4 in 1st test against Sri Lanka

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GALLE, Sri Lanka - Younis Khan hit an eventful century and lifted Pakistan to a respectable 261-4 on the first day of the first test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Elegant Khan showed no signs of rustiness after Pakistan playing a test match for over six months and made a splendid unbeaten 133 off 228 balls with 11 fours a six.

Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad's (2-54) twin strikes had Pakistan in early trouble at 56-3 before Khan dominated century stands with captain Misbah-ul-Haq (31) and Asad Shafiq, who was not out on 55 at stumps.

Khan twice used the Decision Review System successfully and overturned umpire's decisions in equaling countryman Mohammad Yousuf's record of 24 test centuries.

He also got a lucky escape on 68 when Mahela Jayawardene, playing for the last time at Galle, dropped a sitter.

Khan used his feat well and neutralized both spinners Rangana Herath (2-68) and Dilruwan Perera as Sri Lanka could get only the wicket of Misbah in the last two sessions.

Prasad had removed Pakistan's openers in quick succession as the visitors struggled in the morning session after Misbah won the toss and elected to bat under overcast conditions.

Prasad claimed the wickets of Ahmed Shehzad and Khurram Manzoor cheaply in a lively opening spell and ace spinner Herath clean bowled Azhar Ali for 30 to have Pakistan in early trouble.

Pakistan top order batsmen looked jittery from a long layoff of since last playing a test match in January, when it defeated Sri Lanka at Sharjah to level that series.

Khan, who successfully overturned umpire Bruce Oxenford's caught behind decision off Prasad's sharp delivery before lunch, completed his half century with a punching off drive to cover boundary off Perera before turning the offspinner for a single and then hitting a towering six over wide long on.

Khan was again spot on when on 59 he overturned another Oxenford's decision after he was ruled out lbw off Perera's delivery that television replays showed would have missed the top of stumps by a whisker.

The luck continued to favour Khan as Jayawardene smartly anticipated Khan's reverse sweep but could not hold onto two-handed catch in the lone slip.

Khan completed his century off 181 balls with eight fours and a six when he whipped the gentle medium pace of captain Angelo Mathews to midwicket and ran a single in the last session.

Khan and Shafiq stretched their fifth wicket stand to 105 and had little trouble in negotiating the second new ball for eight overs late in the afternoon. Shafiq has hit six fours and six in his unblemished knock.

Earlier, Sri Lanka's most accomplished batsman Jayawardene led the team onto the field with children giving him a guard of honour with raised bats and his team-mates clapping from the sidelines.

Jayawardene will be playing his last test at his favourite Galle International Stadium and will retire after the second test at his home ground in Colombo.

The stadium was decorated with giant hoardings and billboards of Jayawardene to pay tribute to the great Sri Lankan, who has scored over 10,000 runs in both test matches and one-day internationals.

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