ICC Live

CT 2017 - Buy Tickets - 300x250


What are your thoughts on this article?

Azhar 139 puts Pakistan in control

Batsman falls on last ball of Day 2, but visiting side ends with 257 for 3, only 40 runs behind England

Azhar 139 puts Pakistan in control - Cricket News
Azhar Ali celebrates after scoring a century.
Azhar Ali was dismissed off the final ball of the second day of England’s third Test against Pakistan, but his superb innings of 139 ensured the visiting side still finished in control on Thursday (August 4).
Azhar’s 293-ball vigil lasted for more than six hours before Chris Woakes got him to edge the day’s last ball to Alastair Cook, the England captain, who took a sharp catch at first slip. That left Pakistan 257 for 3 at the close, just 40 runs behind England’s first-innings 297 all out.
Azhar had walked out to the middle in the very first over, with Mohammad Hafeez cutting James Anderson straight into Gary Ballance’s hands with no runs on the board. Pakistan had begun batting on Thursday, having bowled England out on the previous day. He batted almost through the day to bring up his 10th Test hundred in his 48th match.
Pakistan was in trouble at none for one, but the second-wicket partnership between Azhar and Sami Aslam, the recalled opener, first put the team back on track and then pushed England on the back foot. The duo added 181 runs, the partnership broken only when Aslam, 20, was run out for 82.
Aslam, the left-hand batsman, was within striking distance of a maiden Test hundred, but had to leave, with Pakistan 181 for 2.
Younis Khan, in at No.4, gave Azhar good support during a 76-run stand for the third wicket, and will resume on the morrow on 21 not out.

On Wednesday, Pakistan had been given a good start by Sohail Khan, the other change to the playing XI alongside Aslam, take a Test-best 5 for 96 to keep England’s score below 300. While Sohail replaced Wahab Riaz, Aslam had come in for Shan Masood for what is only his third Test match.
However, he played with the poise of a veteran, while Azhar’s knock was also full of classy hits.
The duo took Pakistan to lunch on 72 for 1, and build on that platform well, staying unseparated throughout the second session. Both batsmen were circumspect, Azhar taking 129 balls to reach his fifty and Aslam getting there in 135, but with caution the need of the hour, they played their parts brilliantly.
By tea, Pakistan was on a strong 154 for 1, with both men well past their half-centuries. Both looked set to bat out the rest of the day but Azhar pushed Woakes to the offside and called his partner through for a tight single. However, Aslam couldn’t beat James Vince’s direct hit from cover. He did have the consolation of notching up his highest Test score so far, easily surpassing the 20 he made against Bangladesh in Khulna last year.
Azhar brought up his second Test ton against England in 209 balls with a pulled boundary off Stuart Broad, and celebrated with several press-ups, the way most of Pakistan’s squad have celebrated significant moments in this series as a tribute to the Pakistan Army staff who helped them get fit during a pre-tour 'boot camp'.
Woakes's last-gasp effort ensured it wasn’t completely Pakistan's day, but it’s the visiting side who are better placed right now to break the 1-1 series deadlock and go ahead.

Click here to view the full scorecard. 

Similar Articles