Sami, Azhar put Pakistan in commanding position | Pakistan Today

Sami, Azhar put Pakistan in commanding position

Pakistan were 257 for three in reply to England’s first innings 297, a deficit of 40 runs, at stumps on the second day of the third Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Azhar Ali was out for 139 off the last ball of the day when caught by England captain Alastair Cook at first slip off Chris Woakes.

Younis Khan was 21 not out.

Novice opener Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali shared a 181-run stand for the second wicket after Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez without a run on the board.

The recalled Aslam scored a Test-best 82.

Pakistan were none for one just four balls into their innings when Hafeez fell for a duck after lazily guiding a short James Anderson delivery to Gary Ballance at point.

The tourists 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 five wickets on Wednesday.

All eyes were on Aslam, also playing just his third Test, after the 20-year-old had been brought in to replace struggling opener Shan Masood.

And he lived up to the expectations. The well-organised opener played with a maturity belying his years in both attack and defence.

Azhar also showed his class by calmly countering England’s pace attack.

The corresponding Test at Edgbaston in 2010 saw Pakistan bowled out for just 72 in their first innings, with Azhar making a 32-ball nought.

Wednesday saw Sohail justify both his inclusion, and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s decision to field first, by taking a Test-best five for 96.

After the 32-year-old paceman sparked a top-order collapse, England were indebted to left-handers Ballance (70) and Ali (63) for getting them close to 300.

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