Edgbaston Test: Sami, Azhar keep Pakistan on track

BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan on Thursday were one down for 72 at Lunch on day two during the third Test against England at Edgbaston.

After suffering an early blow in the shape of Mohammad Hafeez’s wicket on the fourth ball of the day, the pair of Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali put up a profound 72-run partnership.

Aslam, making his return after a year and playing in his just third Test, saw off some daunting spells by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

The 20-year-old scored 27 runs in 76 balls at a strike rate of 35 to stabilise the ship after Hafeez’s dismissal.

Azhar held the other end at 38.

Alastair Cook bowled with five bowlers during the session. However, it was only Anderson who managed a wicket.

Earlier, Pakistan dismissed England for 297 in their first innings. Right-arm fast-bowler Sohail Khan caused havoc on his comeback with an immaculate line and length to pick up his first five-for in the format.

The 32-year-old made early inroads by putting an end to a 36-run opening stand by removing Alex Hales in the 10th over of the day.

He removed Joe Root, man-of-the-match of the Old Trafford Test, in his next over to put Alastair Cook’s men on the backfoot.

As the top-order crumbled to three for 75, Gary Ballance (70) and Moeen Ali (63) put up a tough fight and removed the “fragile middle-order” stigma.

Donning white kit at the international level after five years, Sohail returned the innings figures of five for 96 in 23-overs.

Pakistan’s other two pacers — Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali — managed two wickets apiece and Yasir Shah removed Ballance to register his only wicket.