Azhar Ali’s heroics build valuable lead for Pak

Updated: Aug 20, 2010, 00:20 AM IST

Zeecric Bureau

London: Pakistan moved to strong position in the third Test at Oval against England as they removed English captain Andrew Strauss cheaply in second innings to leave England at 6 runs for the loss of one wicket at the end of second day’s play.

Strauss edged a back-of-length delivery from Mohammad Amir to second slip, where Yasir Hameed held on a good low catch.

England conceded priceless 75 runs lead to Pakistan in the first innings as youngster Azhar Ali played a fighting knock of 92 runs to take Pakistan to a strong position.

Earlier, England fought back with three wickets on the second morning of the third Test against Pakistan at the Oval on Thursday during a slow but consistently engrossing opening session.

At lunch Pakistan, replying to England`s modest 233 all out, were 111 for four after off-spinner Graeme Swann had grabbed two cheap wickets.

Nightwatchman Wahab Riaz, Pakistan`s first day hero with five wickets on his Test debut, lingered for nearly two hours before he became Swann`s second victim of the innings, lbw for 27.

After Pakistan had resumed on 48 for one, Steven Finn struck with the second ball of the opening over when Yasir Hameed pushed at a delivery he could have left and was caught behind by Matt Prior without adding to his overnight score of 36.

Captain Salman Butt got off the mark with a four off James Anderson which flew to the left of Paul Collingwood at third slip.

He had not added to his score when he was dropped at backward point by Eoin Morgan off the same bowler with the total at 57 for two. The fielder appeared to misjudge the pace of the ball which was cut firmly but should have been comfortably held.

Swann was introduced at the Vauxhall end in place of Finn and Butt responded with a flashing square drive to the boundary to reach 17. He tried something similar off the back foot to the second ball and edged to Prior who eventually caught the ball after a juggling act.

Riaz was beaten repeatedly outside the off-stump by the England pacemen as the clouds rolled over south London but he still looked like he would bat through the session when he missed a sweep against Swann bowling around the wicket.

Steve Davis upheld the lbw appeal and his decision was endorsed by the third umpire after Riaz asked for a review. Swann`s figures at the interval were two for 12 from seven overs.

Bureau Report