ENG vs PAK, 3rd Test: Azhar Ali’s century fails to save Pakistan from follow-on as James Anderson picks a five-for

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  • James Anderson's five-wicket haul helped England bowl out Pakistan for 273 in their first innings.

  • Azhar Ali made an unbeaten 141 and gave a perfect reply to his critics.

ENG vs PAK, 3rd Test: Azhar Ali’s century fails to save Pakistan from follow-on as James Anderson picks a five-for
James Anderson, Azhar Ali (Image Source: Twitter)

In what was a riveting day of cricket, England have enforced the follow-on during the third Test at Southampton, after bundling out Pakistan for 273 in the first innings. The visitors will resume their second innings on Day 4 with a hefty deficit of 310 runs.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali scored an unbeaten 141 as his work of defiance slowed down the game and also ensured that match stretched out to the Day 4 with all ten wickets in hand.

James Anderson’s 29th five-for:

The proceedings on Day 3 carried the same note, tone, and texture from the previous day as James Anderson led England pace attack made Pakistan’s batsmen dance to their tunes. The 38-year-old finished with a five-wicket haul.

It is a well-known fact that a little cloud in the troposphere adds springs to the steps of Anderson. The other-worldly connection between the dark, gloomy clouds and Anderson’s dexterity combined early in the morning, which eventually led to Asad Shafiq’s dismissal. Old habit dies hard for Shafiq as he tried to flirt with a wide nipper once again. A thick edge carried right into the grasp of Joe Root.

Moments later, Fawad Alam walked back to the pavilion after toiling hard and scoring 21 off 72 balls. After losing half of their batsmen for a paltry score of 75, it looked like Pakistan might have to bat again before tea.

England made to work hard by Azhar and Rizwan:

But, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan and an out-of-form number three batsman Azhar Ali were in the middle of a party that was about to get busted. Instead of going with the flow, the two of them gracefully handled the chaos, soaked up the pressure, and brought down the tantrum in control.

Does it sound like a Deja Vu? Yes, Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler did precisely this for England a day ago. And the very next day, Ali and Rizwan tried to replicate the same for their team.

Arriving amidst the trails of devastation triggered by the English bowlers, the duo found a way to survive and stitched what might prove to be the most crucial partnership for Pakistan this summer. Both of them put up a valiant exhibition of grit and composure, thereby, adding a sixth-wicket partnership of 138.

From a point where everything looked ominous for the hammer-smashed Pakistani faces, the duo scripted a herculean comeback. And with a little help from the rain on Day 4 and Day 5 – thundershowers all day reads the weather report for the last day – they are certainly in a position to pull off an improbable draw.

Pakistan skipper scored a magnificent century and remained unbeaten in the first innings. While Rizwan scored 53, before falling prey to an innocuous delivery from Chris Woakes.

Yasir Shah, the next batsman in the pecking-order, scored a quickfire 20 runs but soon walked back after edging a seam-out delivery from Stuart Broad to Root at the slip cordon.

Meanwhile, for England, James Anderson took his 29th five-for as he remains only two shy of becoming the first-ever seamer to cross 600-wickets mark.

On Day 4, the hosts will be desperate to take all ten wickets, thus clinching the series by 2-0.

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