England finish strongly after centuries for Babar, Imam and Shafique

By Sports Desk December 03, 2022

Babar Azam scored the seventh century of the match but England's persistence paid off as they took four wickets in the final session on day three of the first Test against Pakistan.

Imam-ul-Haq (121) and Abdullah Shafique (114) completed their hundreds in the morning session at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium before their opening stand came to an end with 225 on the board.

Captain Babar (136) got in on the act with a typically stylish innings, but Pakistan closed on 487-7 in reply to the tourists' 657 all out – trailing by 160 runs.

Debutant Will Jacks took 3-123 and Jack Leach claimed 2-158 on a flat wicket, England earning late rewards for toiling in the heat after Pakistan avoided the follow-on.

Spinning all-rounder Jacks got the breakthrough after Pakistan resumed on 181 without loss, Shafique edging a wide delivery through to wicketkeeper Ollie Pope.

Imam holed out trying to launch Leach over the rope and Pakistan were 283-3 at lunch after the left-arm tweaker trapped Azhar Ali (27) leg before.

Babar and Saud Shakeel prevented any further damage from being done in a wicketless afternoon session, the skipper serenely scoring another century he brought up by dispatching Ben Stokes through the covers for four.

Ollie Robinson struck in the first over after tea, though, debutant Shakeel nicking the seamer behind for 37, and Babar ended a fifth-wicket stand of 60 with Mohammad Rizwan by slapping Jacks to Leach at point.

Rizwan (29) became James Anderson's first victim and Naseem Shah struck a well-flighted Jacks delivery to Leach in the deep as England ended the day strongly.

Openers make history in run-fest

All four opening batters made centuries in the same match for only the second time in a Test – and this was the first time that each of the four reached three figures in the first innings.

It was also the first occasion in which there have been two double-century opening stands in a Test.

Imam made his third hundred in as many Test knocks in Rawalpindi, having scored one in both innings against Australia in March. Shafique has three Test centuries in only 14 innings.

Babar delivers another masterclass

Skipper Babar made his eighth Test hundred and a first against England with yet another masterclass.

The elegant right-hander showed a combination of sweet timing and aggression in a stylish knock that we have become so accustomed to seeing.

Babar has scored three Test hundreds and four half-centuries this year in 10 Test innings, hitting one six and 19 fours in his latest exhibition of batting of the highest order.

Related items

  • Boland in line for first overseas Test as Hazlewood ruled out through injury Boland in line for first overseas Test as Hazlewood ruled out through injury

    Josh Hazlewood's rotten luck with injuries has continued after he was ruled out of the opening Test between India and Australia.

    Hazlewood, who has played only four Tests in the last two years, will not feature in Nagpur on Thursday due to an Achilles issue, with Scott Boland in line to play instead.

    A side injury suffered against West Indies in November saw Hazlewood miss not only the second Test of that series, but also the first two matches against South Africa in December.

    He returned for the final Test of that series, taking 5-57 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but will now have to recover from another niggle.

    Hazlewood joins fellow paceman Mitchell Starc in missing the first Test of the four-match India series, while all-rounder Cameron Green is also a doubt, meaning an overseas bow for Boland is likely.

    Boland has taken 28 wickets across his six Test appearances.

    Discussing the injury, Hazlewood said: "It's still lingering from the [Sydney] Test match [against South Africa].

    "We obviously bowled after a lot of rain and the jump-offs were quite soft, where we were taking off from and they ended up replacing them as well.

    "It sort of worked to a degree, but just that extra load jumping off a soft ground to bowl and again first Test match your body is not used to that sort of workload as well.

    "So we thought we'd give it a few days here straight off the bat and try and get over the hump and have a bowl from Tuesday and hope it goes well."

    Boland has the full backing of his team-mate, however.

    "Scotty has bowled plenty at the MCG when it was a flat wicket, it probably wasn't swinging or reverse swinging so he knows how to work hard for a long period of time," Hazlewood said.

    "You've got Lance Morris who has worked hard on reverse swing for the last month and then a nice lead in here with a few sessions.

    "The guys are excited first of all to play in the subcontinent, they both haven't yet, but they're very well qualified to do so."

  • Nets win without Irving as James closes in on points record in Lakers loss Nets win without Irving as James closes in on points record in Lakers loss

    Cam Thomas starred off the bench as the depleted Brooklyn Nets came from behind to defeat the Washington Wizards 125-123 on Saturday.

    Already without Ben Simmons and talisman Kevin Durant, the Nets were dealt a further blow when Kyrie Irving was ruled out due to a calf problem.

    Irving's injury came just a day after news broke of his wish to leave the Nets, with the point guard having handed in a trade request.

    The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star was not in attendance at the Barclays Center, though that decision was a joint one with the team's management.

    A bleak end to the week looked set to be compounded as the Warriors held a healthy 23-point lead, yet the Nets fought back partly thanks to Thomas' efforts.

    He scored a career-high, game-leading 44 points, while Edmond Sumner chipped in with 29 as the Wizards – who lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday – became the first team in the past 25 seasons to throw away 20+ point leads on consecutive days.

    Kristaps Porzingis top scored for the Wizards with 38 points.

    James gets closer but Pelicans end losing streak

    LeBron James is now just 36 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing NBA record, yet his efforts were not enough for the Los Angeles Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    James added 27 more points to his total on Saturday, though the Lakers lost 131-126 to a Pelicans team that had suffered 10 straight defeats.

    While Anthony Davis was the Lakers' standout performer with a double-double of 34 points and 14 rebounds, Brandon Ingram's 35-point haul led the Pelicans, who moved onto .500 for the season.

    Curry concern for Warriors

    Stephen Curry scored 21 points, added six rebounds and provided seven assists but hobbled out of the Golden State Warriors' 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks with a knee injury in the third quarter.

    Curry must now await results of an MRI scan, which is set to take place on Sunday, to determine the severity of the issue.

    Reigning NBA champions Golden State nevertheless got the job done without him in the final quarter, getting over the line against a Dallas side missing their star man Luka Doncic.

    Draymond Green's 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists were crucial, with Spencer Dinwiddie's game-high 25 points not enough for the Mavs, who have lost seven in 11.

    Nuggets tie with Celtics

    The Boston Celtics lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday and the Denver Nuggets capitalised to tie level as joint-NBA leaders.

    Denver beat the Atlanta Hawks 128-108, with Nikola Jokic (14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists) claiming his 18th triple-double of the season while Jamal Murray turned on the style with his season-best tally of 41 points.

    The Nuggets are now tied with the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics on 37-16 for the season and have won 19 of their last 20 home games.

  • Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe sets remarkable red card record Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe sets remarkable red card record

    Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe has achieved a rather unwanted record following his latest dismissal for the LaLiga club.

    His 95th-minute dismissal in Saturday's 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo was his third red card of the season in just 11 league appearances.

    It was a case of deja vu for the defender, who also saw red against the same opposition back in October – when he lasted just 20 minutes before he was given his marching orders.

    Felipe featured in just two of Betis' next seven games in LaLiga, before a second dismissal of the season came against Athletic Bilbao on December 29.

    Absent from the side for almost a month before returning in January against Getafe, Felipe retained his spot for the subsequent match against Barcelona and Saturday's clash against Celta Vigo.

    However, a third red of the campaign in that game gives Felipe a unique disciplinary record, having seen red in two of his last four appearances and three times in his last seven.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.