England vs Pakistan 2020, 3rd Test, Day 3 – Twitter Reactions
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England vs Pakistan 2020, 3rd Test, Day 3 – Twitter Reactions

Azhar Ali
Azhar Ali [Photo-Twitter]

England have enforced the follow-on in the third Test of the series against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton but that wasn’t before skipper Azhar Ali played an innings of his life- an unbeaten 141- to help lent some respectability to what was a dismal batting performance from the tourists

Pakistan couldn’t have had a worse start to the day as Asad Shafiq poked at a wide delivery from James Anderson to give the great English bowler his 597th Test scalp. With the score reading 4-41 l, his side down in the dumps, his own form in disarray, his position in the side questioned, Azhar Ali would have had a lot of thoughts running down in his mind as he walked into the Lunch break.

But, you don’t get to 6000 Test runs without having the necessary mental fortitude, and Ali displayed that to its absolute hilt on the third day at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Yes, he struggled. Yes, he edged a lot against James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the initial part of the innings. Yes, he looked uncomfortable. Yes, he managed just 14 runs in his first 130 deliveries. But like all good batsman do, Ali weathered the storm brilliantly and once he got set, he swiftly shifted his gears to score 42 off the next 44 deliveries, with all his traditional strokes on full display.

Azhar got good support from Fawad Alam, who looked compact in his defense against both pace and spin during the 45-run alliance. But just as he was looking like settling into a big knock, Dom Bess produced a perfect off-spinners delivery to induce an outside edge off Alam’ bat.

But that proved to be the only wicket that England got in the post-Lunch session as Mohammad Rizwan dug in with Azhar Ali to take Pakistan to 5-158 at the Tea break.

Rizwan survived a few close LBW calls early in the innings but with Azhar Ali ticking the scoreboard confidently at the other end, the feisty wicket-keeper proceeded to settle into a rhythm without any substantial pressure.

Also Read- Azhar Ali Reaches 6000 Test Runs; Becomes The Fifth Pakistan Batsman To Do So

Azhar Ali’s gutsy 141 lend some respectability to Pakistan’s first innings but England enforce the follow-on

England, Pakistan
Azhar Ali [Photo-Twitter]
And, post the Tea break, the partnership flourished as both Rizwan and Azhar Ali ticked along with the scoreboard with relative ease. Azhar Ali soon completed his 17th Test hundred, an innings that was full of character, courage and self-belief, and you could see the relief on his face when he finally achieved the milestone.

Rizwan too completed his second half-century of the series as Pakistan breached the 200-run mark. The 138-run stand between Rizwan and Ali was finally broken by Chris Woakes as he strangled the Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman down the leg-side.

England, Pakistan
James Anderson [Photo-Twitter]
With England taking the new ball immediately after it was made available, one would have thought that they weren’t far off from seeing James Anderson break the 600-wicket mark but it was Stuart Broad, who did the damage, claiming both Yasir Shah and Shaheen Afridi.

England were sloppy in their catching as they dropped two catches within the space of three deliveries off James Anderson, giving a reprieve to Abbas and Azhar Ali

Azhar Ali [141*] played some gorgeous strokes but he soon ran out of partners as Mohammad Abbas got run out before James Anderson claimed his 29th five-wicket-haul when he induced an outside edge of Naseem Shah’s bat for his 598th scalp. England enforced the follow-on but just as they were about to start the proceedings, out went the light meters and in went the players as stumps were called on day 03.

 

Here’s how Twitter reacted to the 3rd days’ play between England and Pakistan-

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.