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Calm Hafeez keeps Pakistan steady

Batsman unbeaten on 97 at the end of third day to help home side reach 146 for 3, 74 runs ahead of England

Calm Hafeez keeps Pakistan steady - Cricket News
Mohammad Hafeez plays a shot.

Mohammad Hafeez held things together for Pakistan with a brilliant 97 not out to help his side stage a comeback in the third and final Test against England in Sharjah on Tuesday (November 3).

Hafeez needs just three runs to get to his ninth Test hundred as Pakistan ended the day on 146 for 3 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, to be 74 runs ahead of England.

Pakistan suffered a setback late in the day, however, losing the key wicket of Younis Khan for 14, trapped leg before by Stuart Broad with just two overs left in the day.

Pakistan made a solid start to its second innings but Azhar Ali was run out for 34. Ali had driven the ball to mid-off and was involved in a mix-up with Hafeez. Ian Bell went for the direct hit at the bowler’s end and missed the stumps, but that still didn't leave Ali with enough time to make his way back. Joe Root, at square leg, then threw the ball back to Adil Rashid, the bowler, who managed to dislodge the bails in time.

The home side then lost Shoaib Malik, who announced his retirement after the day's play, for nought when he was trapped lbw by James Anderson off his first ball.

With three crucial wickets lost, Hafeez held the innings together, smashing nine boundaries and three sixes during his 155-ball stay, and had nightwatchman Rahat Ali for company at the close.

Earlier in the day, Malik took a career-best 4 for 33 with his off-spin as England was restricted to 306 in the first innings, after having bowled Pakistan out for 234. James Taylor, making a comeback to the side, top-scored for England with 76.

England lost its last six wickets on either side of lunch, and the last four wickets fell for just 21 runs. Rashid, who was dismissed in the last over before lunch by Malik, added a crucial 40 runs for the seventh wicket with Samit Patel. 

Patel, playing his first Test in three years, hit six well-timed fours before he was bowled by Yasir Shah, the legspinner, who finished with figures of 3 for 99.

Malik then had the wickets of Anderson (7) and Ben Stokes (0) to improve on his previous best of 4 for 42 that had come against South Africa in Lahore in 2003.

Stokes, who suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday, bravely came out to bat at No.11 in an attempt to increase England's lead.

England had started the day on 222 for 4 with Taylor and Jonny Bairstow aiming to stretch the lead. However, Rahat Ali broke through in the fifth over of the day, forcing an edge off Taylor's bat to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

Taylor's 226-minute stay brought six fours, and he added 89 for the fifth wicket with Bairstow. 

To see the full scorecard of this game, please click here. 

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