Pakistan look to Azhar, Fawad, Rizwan — and rain to avoid defeat in final Test

SOUTHAMPTON: Pakistan were reeling at 41-4 at lunch taken early due to rain, which interrupted play twice in the first session on the third day of the third and final Test against England here at The Rose Bowl on Sunday.

Resuming at 24-3, Pakistan lost out-of-form Asad Shafiq when they reached 30. He was caught at slip by captain Joe Root off James Anderson.

All four Pakistan wickets went to Anderson who is now just three wickets away from the 600 mark in Tests, the first by a pace bowler.

Fawad Alam came at the crease to join captain Azhar Ali and both added just 11 runs to the total when rain interrupted again and it was decided to take an early lunch break.

Now, Pakistan are reeling at 41-4 with Azhar batting on 10 and Fawad on 5. Only 11 overs have been bowled in the rain-marred session during which the guests added 17 runs for the loss of one wicket.

They have to make a further 543 runs to avoid a follow-on, a task which has been made difficult by England imposing a huge total of 583-8 declared in their first innings.

It was England’s third highest total in a Test innings against Pakistan as the first two were 598-9 declared at Abu Dhabi in 2015 and 589-8 declared at Manchester in 2016.

The main architects of England’s huge innings were young top-order batsman Zak Crawley and wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler, who scored 267 and 152, respectively. They shared a record-breaking stand of 359 for the fifth wicket.