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Ali century builds on Amir haul in Pakistan opener

Ali century builds on Amir haul in Pakistan opener

Taunton, United Kingdom: Azhar Ali made an unbeaten century to strengthen Pakistan´s position on the final day of their England tour opener against Somerset at Taunton on Tuesday.

Ali (101 not out) and Asad Shafiq (69 not out) shared a stand of 138 in 30 overs as Pakistan made 236 for four declared in their second innings.

That left Somerset needing a huge total of 468 in 73 overs for victory.

But given Somerset had collapsed to 128 in their first innings, with left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir taking an impressive three for 36, just holding out for a draw would be a fine achievement for the south-west county.

However, a sunny day at Taunton meant there was less swing in the air for Pakistan´s pacemen than earlier in the match.

Veteran Somerset opener Marcus Trescothick, the former England batsman, drove both Amir and Sohail Khan down the ground.

He also late cut Khan for a couple of fours.

At lunch, Somerset were 47 for one with 40-year-old left-hander Trescothick 37 not out.

But first-class debutant Adam Hose was out off what became the last ball before lunch when he was lbw to leg-spinner Yasir Shah for eight after he missed a ball that went straight on.

Pakistan resumed Tuesday on 140 for four, with Ali 50 not out and Shafiq unbeaten on 26.

Shafiq went on to complete a 76-ball fifty with seven fours.

The pair were especially severe on Somerset´s spinners on Tuesday, with the 31-year-old Ali hoisting teenager Dom Bess for two huge sixes over long-on in successive balls.

As soon as Ali had gone to his 26th first-class century, in 168 balls including 12 fours and two sixes, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq declared.

Amir took three for 36 in 11 overs in Somerset´s meagre first innings.

Amir´s exciting career came to a shuddering halt during a Lord´s Test in 2010 when he and new-ball partner Mohammad Asif were caught bowling no-balls to order on the instructions of captain Salman Butt as part of a tabloid newspaper sting operation.

All three received five-year bans from cricket and together with sports agent Mazhar Majeed, jail terms.

Amir, who served three months in an English young offenders institute, has only featured in the game´s shorter formats since his return to Pakistan duty in January.

But the 24-year-old left-armer is now back in England and could make his Test return in the first of a four-match series at Lord´s on July 14.

Courtesy : TheNews



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