Pakistan take lead as Test evenly poised
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 19th August 2010
The third Test is delicately balanced as Pakistan secured a lead of 75 runs to put England under pressure. For the first time in the series Pakistan had two consecutive days which went in their way. England on the other hand will try to gain the upper hand when the play resumes tomorrow.
Strauss handed the ball to Finn in the first over of the day and the tall paceman struck immediately as he removed Hameed with the second ball of the day. Salman Butt coming down the order was given an early life as Eoin Morgan spilled a catch at backward point. But his stay did not last long as Swann removed the Pakistani skipper once again as soon as he was introduced into the attack. Butt top edged a cut and Prior juggled the ball before finally holding onto the chance which left Pakistan wobbling on 76 for 3. Nightwatchman Riaz stuck around manfully as he frustrated the English bowlers by collecting his runs behind the wicket. He was finally dismissed when he missed a sweep at the first ball of Swann's second spell.
Meanwhile Mohammad Yousuf who came back into international cricket after seven months of self-imposed exile took his time to find his feet. But once he gauged the pace and bounce of the wicket Yousuf flowered. The elegant right-hander bought calmness to the crease that was missing in the previous Tests and taking the cue Azhar Ali who was rendered stroke-less in the previous match found his range. The pair added 69 for the fifth wicket with Yousuf dominating the stand. With the partnership threatening to grow to dangerous propositions Strauss gave the ball to Swann who immediately troubled Yousuf. The way the off-spinner worked out the right-hander was simply a class to young spinners.
Swann varied his flight, pace and angle from over the wicket and tested the veteran's temperament. Yousuf defied for long before giving a return catch to Swann who switched round the stumps. It was Swann's 100th Test wicket, a well-deserved one in-fact. Umar Akmal played another cameo and lost his wicket due to some headless chicken running before Kamran guided one straight to gully.
Azhar Ali soon took the mantle of guiding the tail and he found a suitable ally in Asif at number eleven. Azhar shielded Asif for long but then opened up his shoulders when the opportunity presented itself. He was closing to a well-deserved maiden ton before Asif was dismissed. Pakistan were finally dismissed for 308 thus gaining a valuable 75 run lead.
England in reply were jolted in the first over as left-armer Aamer removed English skipper Strauss. There was some anticipation in the crowd as to whether Asif or Aamer would remove the nightwatchman Anderson or the out of form Cook before the scheduled close of play. But England closed the day with no further damage to their innings.