3rd Test Report: Abid, Azhar Dig Deep as Pakistan Frustrate England on Rain-marred Day 4
James Anderson in action during 3rd Test vs Pakistan in Southampton©ICC Twitter

Pakistan opener Abid Ali and captain Azhar Ali provided staunch resistance as the visitors showed resilience on a rain-affected fourth day of the third and final Test against England at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. Courtesy, Abid Ali’s 162-ball 42 and skipper Azhar’s unbeaten 29 off 92 deliveries – Pakistan finished day 4 on 100/2, trailing England by 210 runs.

Meanwhile, England are still in the driver’s seat after veteran pacer James Anderson grabbed his 599th Test wicket late in the day to end Abid’s dogged resistance.

Looking to become the first pace bowler to take 600 Test wickets, Anderson trapped Abid (42) in front to snare his 599th wicket before bad light forced skipper Joe Root to resort to spin, as off-spinner Dom Bess and the England captain bowled the last few overs before play was abandoned.

Only spin legends Muttiah Muralitharan (800) of Sri Lanka, Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619) have more wickets than Anderson in the game’s longest format.

England asked Pakistan to follow on after the tourists managed 273 in reply to hosts’ mammoth 583/8d in the first essay, riding on a maiden double century by Zak Crawley and a brilliant hundred by Jos Buttler.

At the close of play on Day 4, skipper Azhar Ali, who scored a gritty 141 in the first innings, and Babar Azam were at the crease on 29 and 4, respectively.

Openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood shared a 49-run stand before Masood was trapped in front by Stuart Broad. Anderson then sent Ali back as Pakistan remained 210 runs in arrears.

Anderson, who returned figures of 5/56 in the first innings, and could have had at least three more wickets had catches not been dropped off his bowling on Day 3, saw wicketkeeper Jos Buttler drop yet another catch off his bowling in the first session on Monday.

Brief scores: England 583/8d vs Pakistan 273 & 41/2 (Azhar Ali 29 batting, Babar Azam 4 batting; James Anderson 1/18, Stuart Broad 1/23)