After another dominant display on the third day of their Quaid-e-Azam fixture against Northern in Faisalabad, Central Punjab moved to five wickets of victory. Chasing 381 for victory, Northern was left tumbling with their first-inning tormentors Zafar Gohar and Bilal Asif sharing the wickets among themselves at 121 for 5.
The hosts’ commanding position in the game was down to a solid second-innings show with the bat, of which Rizwan Hussain’s 110 was the centrepiece. Hussain’s ton was ably complemented by Umar Akmal, who added a 73 to go with his first-innings half-century. Usman Salahuddin then smashed an unbeaten 72, allowing his team to declare at 345/6, by which the total had entered into the un-chaseable territory on this turning track.
Northern had no answers to Central Punjab’s spin twins – Gohar and Asif – losing half their side with only Zeeshan Malik offering any semblance of resistance with a 58-ball 52. The visitors still have 260 runs to score on the final day to secure an improbable victory.
Brief scores: Central Punjab 226 & 345/6 decl. (Rizwan Hussain 110, Umar Akman 73; Nauman Ali 3-160) lead Northern 191 & 121/5 (Zeeshan Malik 52; Zafar Gohar 3-46) by 259 runs.
Southern Punjab v Balochistan
Southern Punjab inched closer towards a win after forcing Balochistan to follow-on on the third day of their clash. Resuming the day on 37/1, Balochistan could only manage to post 295 before they were bowled out in response to Punjab’s 502. By the time stumps were called, they were reduced to 30/2 in their second dig, trailing by 177.
Pacer Umaid Asif’s five-wicket haul was instrumental in handing Punjab a strong lead, with only 79.3 overs required to bowl Balochistan out. Umaid struck early on the day to send back overnight batsmen Azeem Ghumman and Imran Butt. A partnership worth 119 for the fourth wicket between skipper Imran Farhat and Hussain Talat kept Punjab at bay, en route respective fifties before the pair was dismissed by Umaid. While with the former scored 65 from 77, Hussain scored 89.
Balochistan, in their second dig, too were tormented by Umaid who sent back opener Awais Zia with just five on the board. They lost another wicket before stumps were drawn in the 15 overs bowled.
Brief scores: Southern Punjab 502 (Sami Aslam 168, Umar Siddique 130, Adnan Akmal 80, Abdul Rehman Muzamil 41, Sohaib Maqsood 36; Mohammad Asghar 5-130, Amad Butt 4-103) lead Balochistan 295 & 30/2 (Umaid Asif 1-3, Mohammad Irfan jnr 1-11) by 177 runs.
Meanwhile,In Abbottabad, the third day’s play of the fixture between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh had to be called-off due to rain.