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Pakistan 227-3 at tea after Azhar reaches milestone

23 Mar, 2022
Pakistan's Azhar Ali (L) speaks with teammate Abdullah Shafique during the third day of the third Test match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.  AFP Photo
Pakistan's Azhar Ali (L) speaks with teammate Abdullah Shafique during the third day of the third Test match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday. AFP Photo

LAHORE: Azhar Ali achieved a milestone 7,000 runs before Pakistan reached 227-3 at tea on the third day of the third and deciding Test against Australia in Lahore on Wednesday.

At the break, skipper Babar Azam was unbeaten on 42 and Fawad Alam five. The home team trail Australia's first-innings total of 391 by 164 runs.

Australia were once again sloppy in the field as Steve Smith failed to catch Azam off spinner Nathan Lyon when Pakistan's dangerman was on 20.

Pakistan, resuming at 90-1, reached 159 at lunch without losing any more wickets but the second session saw Australia dismiss Abdullah Shafique (81) and Azhar (78) in the space of 44 runs.

Lyon got rid of in-form Shafique in the fifth over after lunch when he forced an edge for wicketkeeper Alex Carey to take the catch.

Umpire Aleem Dar ruled not out but skipper Pat Cummins successfully reviewed the decision in Australia's favour.

Shafique, who hit a century in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, batted for 323 minutes, hitting 11 boundaries.

Azhar, who put on an invaluable 150-run stand for the second wicket with Shafique, completed 7,000 runs in his 94th Test when he reached 74.

He is the 54th batsman and fifth from Pakistan to score 7,000-plus runs in Test cricket.

Australia took the second new ball after 80 overs with the total on 191-2 and seven overs later Cummins held on to a sharp caught-and-bowled chance to dismiss Azhar.

Azhar batted for 337 minutes, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his 35th Test half- century.

In the morning session, Australia toiled hard and could have had some reward in the last over before lunch when Azhar, on 62, edged leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, but Smith at slip failed to hold on to the sharp chance.

Australia's first Test series in Pakistan for 24 years because of security fears has been marred by flat pitches where the bat has dominated the ball.

The first two Tests, at Rawalpindi and Karachi, both ended in draws.