Azhar misses fifty as England reduce Pakistan to 117/3 before Lunch

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KARACHI: Retiring Azhar Ali dominated the first session on his farewell Test before Ollie Robinson cut short his innings to help England restrict Pakistan to 117/3 before Lunch on the opening day of the final Test. 

Azhar, 37, looked in perfect shape to make his penultimate outing on the crease a memorable one before a leg-side strangle off Robinson with the original being overturned by the TV umpire ended his fine knock on 45 from 68 balls.

Unlike the opening sessions of the previous two Tests – Rawalpindi was dominated by English openers and Multan to the Abrar’s magical five-wicket haul – Karachi’s wicket has seemed to strike a perfect balance between bat and ball.

Opting to bat first, Pakistan had an unwanted start as first Test centurion Abdullah Shafique was made to depart early without even crossing double figure when spinner Jack Leach plummed him with a new ball.

Shan Masood, who was appearing for the first time in the series replacing injured Imam-ul-Haq, played an exquisite knock of 30 off 37 laced with five boundaries before pace spearhead Mark Wood removed him.

Skipper Babar Azam then joined Azhar on the crease and the two gathered 71 runs for the third wicket before England earned a vital breakthrough on the stroke of Lunch.

At 31 from 32 balls, Babar will try to maintain his form and solidify Pakistan’s position in the game after the break when either Mohammad Rizwan or Saud Shakeel joins him from the other end.



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