Published On: Fri, Aug 5th, 2016

Azhar defies England before Woakes strikes


Birmingham (UK), Aug 5: Azhar Ali’s century helped keep England at bay before he was out to the final ball of the second day of the third Test at Edgbaston today. Azhar’s more than six-hour 139, his 10th Test century but first outside Asia, ended when all-rounder Chris Woakes, on his Warwickshire home ground, struck with the new ball to have him edging to England captain Alastair Cook at first slip.

That left Pakistan 257 for three at stumps, 40 runs behind England’s first innings 297. Number three Azhar had come in just five balls into today’s play after Mohammad Hafeez had fallen for a duck to leave Pakistan none for one. Azhar punished England for dropping him twice with his 10th century in 48 Tests.

 Azhar defies England before Woakes strikes

Together with recalled opener Sami Aslam, who made 82, he put on 181 for the second wicket. Aslam, a 20-year-old left-handed opener, was in sight of a well-deserved maiden Test hundred when he was run out responding to Azhar’s poor call. Younis Khan was 21 not out, having helped Azhar add 76 for the third wicket.
England’s tough day in the field was made worse when James Anderson was twice warned officially in one over by Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford for running on the pitch.

One more such warning and Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, would be barred from bowling again in the innings. Hafeez fell for a duck after lazily guiding a short Anderson delivery to Gary Ballance at point. Pakistan had seen Sohail Khan, one of their two changes from the side beaten by 330 runs in the second Test at Old Trafford as England levelled the four-match series at 1-1, take a Test-best five for 96 yesterday.

Now all eyes were on Aslam, also playing just his third Test, after he had replaced struggling fellow left-handed opener Shan Masood. Aslam’s only prior innings this tour was his 17 against Worcestershire during last week’s two-day warm-up match. Yet the well-organised opener played with a composure belying his years. Azhar showed his class by turning Anderson off his legs for four.

Pakistan were still on their lunch score of 72 for one, with Azhar on his interval total of 38 not out, when the right-hander’s flashing drive off Anderson was dropped by Joe Root at second slip. Azhar’s cover-driven three off fast bowler Steven Finn saw him to a 129-ball fifty, including six fours. Azhar’s ungainly pulled four off paceman Stuart Broad saw him to his second Test century against England in 209 balls.

In what has become a familiar sight this series, the 31-year-old Azhar celebrated with several press-ups — a tribute to the Pakistan Army staff who helped the squad get fit during a pre-tour ‘boot camp’. But Woakes’s last-gasp effort took the shine off Pakistan’s day.

News Source India

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology