Azhar Ali century helps Pakistan extend lead against England

Azhar Ali plays a shot on the third day of the final Test at Dubai Getty Images

Dubai: Feb 5, 2012

Azhar Ali hit his second Test hundred as Pakistan tightened the noose around England in the third and final Test played at Dubai Stadium on Sunday, increasing their lead to 253.

Ali was on an unbeaten 115 as Pakistan reached 295-3 at lunch on the third morning after England’s bowlers managed to dismiss Younis Khan for 127 in the session which saw just 73 runs coming.

Misbah-ul Haq was the other not out batsman with 16 at the break.

The 26-year-old Ali, whose maiden hundred came against Sri Lanka at the same venue in October last year, started cautiously before hitting left-arm spinner Monty Panesar for two boundaries in successive overs to reach the three-figure mark.

Azhar’s hundred came in 369 minutes with five boundaries and a six. He added an invaluable 216 runs for the third wicket with Younis in a stand which piled further misery on England who are facing a 3-0 clean sweep.

Pakistan won the first Test by 10 wickets in Dubai and the second in Abu Dhabi by 72 runs.

Resuming at 222-2 Pakistan slowly added invaluable runs as England, who took the second new ball late on Saturday, attacked with pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad in a hope of early wickets.

Broad provided the breakthrough when he brought one in and caught Younis in front of the wicket. Younis challenged Australian umpire Steve Davis’s decision but on review had to leave the field.

Younis hit 12 boundaries and a six during his 221-ball knock.

Anderson and Panesar also have one wicket each as the bowlers continued to struggle after the nature of the pitch changed on the second day. As many as 16 wickets fell on the first day.(AFP)

Brief Scores: Pakistan 99 all-out & 295 for 3 (Younis Khan 127, Azhar Ali 115*; James Anderson 1 for 44) lead England 141 all-out (Andrew Strauss 56, Kevin Pietersen 32; Abdur Rehman 5 for 40, Saeed Ajmal 3 for 59, Umar Gul 2 for 28) by 253 runs.

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