Pakistan captain Azhar Ali registered a scintillating unbeaten century in the first innings, waging a lone fight as the visitors fought back after conceding 583. Despite his century, England remained vastly ahead in the final match, looking to seal the series. With the weather forecast bleak for the next two days, Pakistan can consider a draw as a victory if it comes down to it.
Within two overs of the start of the day, Asad Shafiq became the fourth victim of James Anderson. Pakistan’s old shoes Fawad Alam and skipper Azhar Ali combined for a cautious and gritty 45-run stand. The pair survived for 142 balls before Dom Bess plucked Alam with a bounce and turn for 21. Pakistan found themselves at 75 and a world behind of even avoiding the follow-on.
Pakistan’s best batsman of the series Mohammad Rizwan and a gritty-looking Azhar Ali were at the crease. They bounced back with some risk-free cricket, combining for a 138-run partnership to restore some pride and stability. Azhar Ali reached his fifty by flicking Jofra Archer for a boundary and got to three figures by playing a cover drive off Dom Bess for another four.
Azhar Ali drives Pakistan despite Rizwan’s wicket:
Within five overs of the availability of new ball, Rizwan was unceremoniously dismissed by giving a simple grab to Jos Buttler down the leg side. By then, the keeper-batsman registered a fifty; however, the tourists were well short of their primary objective. Stuart Broad removed Yasir Shah with the second new-ball followed by Shaheen Afridi.
However, Anderson suffered two drop catches in the same over from Rory Burns and Zak Crawley off the bat of Ali and Mohammad Abbas. Ali plundered two boundaries in the next over off Broad and survived a run-out chance as well. Broad dropped yet another dolly off Anderson’s next over; however, he recovered well to run Abbas out.
In the 93rd over of the day, Anderson finally finished proceedings for a five-wicket haul by removing Naseem Shah while Ali remained not out at 141. Joe Root decided to enforce the follow-on; however, bad light meant that it was stumps for the day.