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England pull things back after Hafeez puts Pakistan ahead

Mohammad Hafeez celebrating his half-century on day three of the third Test against England in Sharjah.
Mohammad Hafeez celebrating his half-century on day three of the third Test against England in Sharjah.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan 234 & 146-3 (Mohammad Hafeez 97no) v
England 306 (Taylor 76)
Third Test, Sharjah, day three

England managed to take three wickets late in the day, but it was Mohammad Hafeez who stole the show in the final session with an unbeaten knock of 97, taking Pakistan's lead to 74 at stumps on day three of the third Test in Sharjah.

England began their day with the score at 222 for four. Three overs into the day, Rahat Ali (2-48) slanted one across James Taylor (76) who edged it to the keeper, giving Pakistan the early breakthrough.

Jonny Bairstow (43) added six runs to his overnight score before Zulfiqar Babar (1-80) castled him with an arm ball to leave England at 245 for six.

Samit Patel (42) and Adil Rashid (8) formed a crucial 40-run lower-order partnership as England began to build a lead.

At the stroke of lunch, Rashid popped a catch to short leg off Shoaib Malik (4-33), reducing England to 285 for seven.

Four balls into the second session, Yasir Shah (3-99) got rid of Patel with a superb leg break that pitched outside leg and turned across to clip the top of the off stump.

James Anderson (7) did not last long as Malik got one to turn and clip the bails.

Ben Stokes (0) walked out to bat despite being diagnosed with a collar-bone joint injury. However, he failed to get off the mark as Malik clattered a delivery into his stumps. This was Malik’s best bowling performance in Test cricket.

England were bowled out for 306 after having taken a handy 72-run lead. Malik had four victims to his name, while Shah managed three wickets.

Early into Pakistan’s second innings, Mohammad Hafeez (97 not out) was given out caught behind.

Upon a review, the third umpire found enough evidence to overturn the onfield call and Hafeez survived.

In the 11th over, Moeen Ali (0-25) induced an edge off Hafeez, but the ball went very quickly to the keeper and hit him on the thigh.

Hafeez looked assertive against the spinners, as he smashed Moeen over the top to bring the 50-run opening stand.

In the last over of the second session, Azhar Ali (34) survived a close stumping appeal. The replays did not conclusively prove that Azhar’s foot was out of the crease. Pakistan went into the tea break, positioned at 58 for naught.

Early in the final session, Hafeez brought up his own half-century with a boundary off Patel (0-40).

The 35-year-old further extended his domination over the England bowlers with a six followed by a four off Anderson (1-36) to bring up the 100-run partnership.

In the very next ball, Azhar was caught stranded at the other end after a terrible misunderstanding with Hafeez. England made a mess of the direct hit but got Azhar on the second attempt.

In the very next over, Anderson produced a terrific inswinging delivery which trapped Malik plumb in front of the stumps. Pakistan were 105 for two at that stage.

Just when it looked like Hafeez and Younis Khan (14) were settling down with their 41-run stand, Stuart Broad (1-19) dismissed Khan lbw, leaving Pakistan in a spot of bother at 146 for three.

A review from Khan was of no use as the ball was clearly hitting the off stump.

Rahat (0 not out) was sent as the night watchman and along with Hafeez, he saw Pakistan through to stumps without further damage.

Pakistan reached 146 for three by the end of the day, with a lead of 74 runs in their bag. Anderson and Broad were the two wicket-takers for England.

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