By Matt Smith
DUBAI (Reuters) – Pakistan’s coach Waqir Younis paid tribute to skipper Misbah-ul-Haq after the 41-year-old became the oldest test centurion since 1978 in making an unbeaten 102 on the first day of the second test against England on Thursday.
Misbah came to the crease with Pakistan stuttering on 85-3, his decision to bat first seemingly a mistake as England scuttled the hosts’ top order.
But an unperturbed Misbah put on 93 with Younis Khan before adding a further 104 runs in an unbeaten partnership with Asad Shafiq as Pakistan cantered to 282-4 by the close.
“I don’t think age is a barrier if you’re fit and can manage the modern way of cricket, why not?” Waqar told reporters.
Misbah has now made six test centuries since the start of 2013, after just three in the preceding 11 years following his test debut in 2001.
“It’s the determination,” said Waqar. “He wants to carry on playing. The knock he played today was very good, a captain’s knock. He accelerated when it was required and when the wickets fell he was the one who was more responsible.”
Misbah looked as though he would have to wait until Friday for a ninth test century, but in Thursday’s final over he slugged Moeen Ali for two sixes — the first over deep square leg, the second beyond long-on — before a reverse sweep gave him his ton.
“When you you’re near to an interval or the end of the game, people bring the fielders in and he feels more comfortable in hitting over the top. It’s not the first time he’s done it,” said Waqar.
“You don’t see many cricketers of his age still around. He wants it badly. There is nothing else to talk to him. He talks cricket all the time.”
Waqar was unsure how long Misbah would remain a test cricketer, saying the captain had hinted the series with England could be his last but also stating he wanted to carry on.
“The way he’s batting of course Pakistan need him,” added Waqar.
(Editing by Martyn Herman)