Azhar ton gives Pakistan control of third Test
Azhar Ali’s patient century lifted Pakistan to 257 for three and a dominant position on the second day of the third Test against England at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Replying to the home team’s 297 all out, Azhar shared a second-wicket partnership of 181 with Sami Aslam on the way to an excellent knock of 139 as England endured a frustrating day in the field.
Aslam was run out for 82 after being called for a quick single by Azhar who was dropped twice before completing his 10th Test century.
England made an early breakthrough with the fourth ball of the day when Mohammad Hafeez cut James Anderson straight to Gary Ballance at point and was out for a duck.
Anderson induced a rash stroke from Azhar shortly after lunch but Joe Root spilled a difficult catch at second slip and England’s anxiety increased.
Azhar, also dropped by Moeen Ali off his own bowling, drove Steven Finn off the back foot for three to bring up his 21st Test half century and Aslam, 20, swept spinner Moeen for four to reach his maiden Test fifty in his third match.
Azhar got to three figures by gloving a Stuart Broad bouncer to the fine leg boundary, celebrating the milestone with 10 press-ups.
He continued to punish the England attack, hitting a total of 15 fours and one six, before edging the last ball of the day from Chris Woakes to Alastair Cook at first slip.
Younus Khan was unbeaten on 21 at the close.
The four-match series is level at 1-1.
England 1st innings 297 (G. Ballance 70, M. Ali 63; S. Khan 5-96) Pakistan 1st innings M. Hafeez c Ballance b Anderson 0 S. Aslam run out (, Vince) 82 Az. Ali c Cook b Woakes 139 Y. Khan not out 21 Extras (b-2 lb-12 nb-1) 15 Total (for 3 wickets, 90 overs) 257 Fall of wickets: 1-0 M. Hafeez,2-181 S. Aslam,3-257 Az. Ali To bat: Misbah-ul-Haq, A. Shafiq, S. Ahmed, M. Amir, R. Ali, Y. Shah, S. Khan Bowling J. Anderson 19 - 6 - 32 - 1 S. Broad 19 - 3 - 49 - 0(nb-1) S. Finn 16 - 3 - 44 - 0 C. Woakes 19 - 3 - 52 - 1 M. Ali 15 - 2 - 63 - 0 J. Vince 1 - 0 - 2 - 0 J. Root 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 Referees Umpire: Bruce Oxenford Umpire: Joel Wilson TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena Match referee: Richie Richardson. –Reuters