Central Punjab Consolidate Birth in Final in Quaid-e-Azam
After batting for almost two days, Central Punjab secured three valuable bowling points as well by squeezing Southern Punjab to 392 before the culmination of the third day's play at the State Bank Stadium on Wednesday.
Central Punjab, opted not to follow-on the opposition, have scored one run before stumps were drawn to stack an overall lead of 206 runs.
Central Punjab were on top of the table, with 120 points, prior to the final round of the four-day first class Quaid-e-Azam trophy and now certain to feature in the final encounter of country's premier first class tournament.
Central Punjab started off the third day of the last round Quaid-e-Azam trophy encounter against Southern Punjab by making early inroads courtesy Bilal Asif who dismissed overnight batsmen Umar Siddiq (27) and Abdul Rehman Muzammil (0) with 69 runs on the board.
Zeeshan Ashraf held one end to knit small partnerships with Sohaib Maqsood and Adnan Akmal to escort Southern Punjab beyond the 150-run mark. Sohaib Maqsood was snapped by Ehsan Adil on 29, followed by an early departure of captain Adnan Akmal (14) to further dent the Southern's campaign.
Zeeshan Ashraf completed his fighting century and Southern Punjab reached 254 for five at the tea interval with Zeeshan on 126 and the other eventual century maker Agha Salman on 39.
The Central Punjab bowlers came hard on the opposition, in the final session of the day, to first saw the back of centurion Zeeshan Ashraf, followed by the scalps of Zulfiqar Babar and Zia-ul-Haq without an addition to the score.
Zeeshan Ashraf stroked 212-ball 141, studded with 15 fours and three sixes, to form a 113-run partnership with Salman Ali Agha, who later went on to hammer a quick ton, before getting picked up by Bilal Asif on 140 off 166 balls, with 18 fours and three maximums. Southern Punjab were bowled out at 392.
Bilal Asif was the chief destroyer for Central Punjab with his fifth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket while Ehsan Adil and Zafar Gohar chipped in with three and two wickets respectively.
Central Punjab opted not to follow-on and decided to bat again to score a run without loss at the close of the day's play. Central Punjab, which scored 597 runs in the first innings, have now an overall lead of 206 runs.
Scores in brief:
Central Punjab 597-9 declared, 170 overs (Abdullah Shafiq 133, Usman Salahuddin 114, Mohammad Saad 105 not out, Ahmed Shehzad 100; Salman Ali Agha 3-85, Rahat Ali 2-104, Zia-ul-Haq 2-135, Zulfiqar Babar 2-151) and 1-0, 1 over
Southern Punjab 392 all out, 95.1 overs ( Zeeshan Ashraf 141, Agha Salman 140; Bilal Asif 5-130, Ehsan Adil 3-75, Zafar Gohar 2-110)
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