England strike late on day three to keep their hopes alive to snatch the test match at Pindi

England struck with 4 late wickets on Saturday to revive its hopes of victory in opposition to Pakistan with two days left within the first cricket take a look at the place seven batters have up to now scored centuries.

Pakistan reached 499-7 in its first innings on the lifeless wicket and nonetheless trailed by 158 runs at stumps on the third day with play once more ending early due to fading mild.

Captain Babar Azam (136), Imam-ul-Haq (121) and Abdullah Shafique (114) all hit tons on a run-friendly wicket which even Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja feels will not be an incredible advert for take a look at cricket.

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However England hit again after tea when Ollie Robinson broke the 123-run stand between Babar and debutant Saud Shakeel (37). Robinson discovered the skin fringe of Shakeel’s bat and Babar, who hit 19 fours and a six in his eighth hundred, performed a lower in opposition to offspinner Will Jacks (3-132).

“That wicket (of Babar) was virtually the game-changing second,” Jacks mentioned after bowling 33 overs within the innings up to now. “It was an incredible day for us… and because the match goes on, the pitch will get extra flip. There’s a lot time left within the recreation (to win).”

Veteran James Anderson (1-47) used all his 175-test expertise on an unresponsive wicket for the bowlers, earlier than lastly he obtained his first wicket in his nineteenth over when Mohammad Rizwan (29) was caught at quick mid-wicket.

Babar and Shakeel denied England success within the center session and guided Pakistan to 411-3 by tea with the Pakistan skipper dominating each spin and tempo.

Babar was the seventh batter in three days to notch 100 in England’s first take a look at in Pakistan in 17 years after the guests had posted 657 all out on the again of a whole bunch from England openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett, Harry Brook and Ollie Pope.

“We nonetheless have six classes and in the event that they get a lead then strain shall be on us,” Imam mentioned. “We now have confronted such conditions earlier than… the ball has began holding barely low and (the pitch) will certainly change on the final two days.”

Babar used his ft effectively in opposition to the spinners and raised his half century off 68 balls when he lifted Jack Leach (2-160) over extensive mid-on for a six after lunch.

He reached his hundred off 126 balls when he thumped a backfoot cover-driven boundary.

Earlier, Imam and Shafique struck centuries after Pakistan resumed on 181-0 earlier than throwing away their wickets.

Azhar Ali (27) obtained a life when Crawley couldn’t grasp a troublesome probability at leg slip in opposition to Anderson earlier than he was trapped leg earlier than wicket by Leach after England took the second new ball instantly after 80 overs.

Left-handed Imam, who made centuries in every innings in the course of the drawn take a look at in opposition to Australia in March on the identical venue, scored 121 off 207 balls. Shafique, a centurion in the identical take a look at in opposition to Australia, hit a extra typical 114 off 203 balls.

It was the primary time in take a look at historical past that openers from each groups had scored centuries within the first innings.

Solely 14 wickets fell over 5 days on the same kind of pitch when Australia final performed on the Pindi Cricket Stadium and the wicket was rated as “under common” by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle. The pitch acquired one demerit level in consequence.

Shafique accomplished his 100 off 177 balls with a single after lofting Joe Root for a six on the legside earlier than Imam additionally reached the milestone with a flicked boundary off Root.

With the wicket doing little for the England spinners, Imam threw away his wicket by unnecessarily going for a giant shot in opposition to Leach and holed out at lengthy on. Leach then trapped Azhar lbw on the again foot on the stroke of lunch.

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