Day three of the deciding third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand saw Pakistan wrest the initiative away from New Zealand through a resolute batting performance in Abu Dhabi.
Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq more than doubled Pakistan’s overnight score as they shared a fourth-wicket stand of 201 off 432 balls to lift Pakistan to 286-4 after Ali fell for 134 off 297 balls.
The 33-year-old’s 15th Test century in his 132 innings included 12 fours and came at a strike rate of 45.11 as he laboured away to ensure his side is in a strong position to push for victory on the last two days of the Test series.
Shafiq lost his wicket 18 runs later, trapped leg-before by Ajaz Patel after bringing up his 100 off 255 balls (14×4), losing his wicket four balls after acknowledging the applause for his ton.
Sarfraz Ahmed added 25 off 60 balls and was last man out with his side’s score on 348 off 135 overs.
Trent Boult picked up 2-66 and Patel 2-100, but the star of the innings was debutant William Somerville, who took 4-75 at an economy rate of just 2.08 runs to the over.
New Zealand lost both openers in the 14 overs they faced before the close, Jeet Raval falling for a 15-ball duck while Tom Latham managed just 10 runs off 37 balls as New Zealand closed the day on 26-2.
On his Test debut, Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up one of the two wickets to fall, ending the day with 1-11 (econ 3.66) to add to the one wicket he took in New Zealand’s first innings.
Yasir Shah 1-5 (econ 1.25) added to his three first-innings wickets and the Pakistan bowlers will all be lining up tomorrow eager to pick up wickets as New Zealand sit in a tricky position, needing 48 runs to make Pakistan bat again with eight wickets in hand and two full days stretching out ahead of them.
Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images