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Babar Azam, Agha Salman keep Pakistan afloat on balanced day in Karachi




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England managed to bowl out Pakistan on 304 runs in the first innings on day 1 of the ongoing third Test match on Saturday (December 17). Babar Azam continued his good form with 78 runs off 123 balls knock and Agha Salman scored 56 to drag Pakistan to a respectable total in the first innings. For England, Jack Leach took four wickets and debutant Rehan Ahmed grabbed two.

Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat first at National Stadium in Karachi with four changes to the squad while England handed a debut to Rehan Ahmed and bring in wicketkeeper batter Ben Foakes in place of James Anderson.

Leach gave England a good start with opener Abdullah Shafique’s wicket in the sixth over and pacer Mark Wood dismissed Shan Masood on 30 runs in the 13th over. But Azhar Ali, playing in his last international match, and Babar stabilized the innings with a crucial 71-run partnership for the third wicket. Azhar scored 45 runs off 68 balls before getting caught out on Ollie Robinson’s delivery.

But Babar kept the scoreboard moving from the other end with small but crucial partnerships with Saud Shakeel and Mohammad Rizwan. Rehan dismissed Shakeel to register his first wicket in international cricket and the former captain Joe Root removed Rizwan just 19 runs. Babar looked destined for a big century but was unfortunate to get run out on Harry Brook’s throw in the 59th over. Babar scored the highest 78 runs off 123 balls with the help of nine fours.

After Babar’s dismissal, English bowlers proved too strong for Pakistan’s lower order as they were tumbled out for 304. For England, Leach grabbed four and Rehan took two wickets to give England an edge on Day 1. Later, young spinner Abrar Ahmed dismissed Zak Crawley on duck in the first over to balance the game at the end of Day 1 as England stood 7/1 at stumps with Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope at the crease.

Here is how Twitter reacted to Day 1 of the third Test match between Pakistan and England: