Babar Azam century powers Pakistan's reply in Rawalpindi Test against England

Visitors grab late wickets to leave hosts on 499-7 on Day 3

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam became the seventh batsman to smash a century in the high-scoring opening Test against England in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

After four English batsmen hammered hundreds on Friday, three home team batters helped themselves to centuries to power Pakistan to 499-7 on Day 3.

Agha Salman was batting on 10 with Zahid Mahmood on one at the other end when bad light stopped play, with Pakistan still 158 behind England's first innings total of 657.

England batsman Joe Root told Sky Sports afterwards: "A brilliant day. That last session, all the work we put in came to fruition.

"It was attritional. We had to be creative throughout the day and we got our rewards at the end."

On a see-saw day, Pakistan were lifted by centuries from skipper Babar (136), and openers Imam-ul-Haq (121) and Abdullah Shafique (114).

But England took three wickets in the first session, none in the second and three again before the close to put themselves in a better position.

Spinners Will Jacks (3-132) and Jack Leach (2-160) shared the early spoils, while the pace duo of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson took a wicket each.

Jacks believes that Babar's wicket gave England an edge. "That wicket was almost the game-changing moment," he said.

"It was a great day for us – seven wickets in the day – and as the match goes on, the pitch will get more turn."

Babar used his feet well against the spinners and raised his half century off 68 balls when he lifted Leach over wide mid-on for a six after lunch.

He reached his hundred off 126 balls when he thumped a backfoot cover-driven boundary.

“We still have six sessions and if they get a lead then pressure will be on us,” Imam said. “We have faced such situations before … the ball has started keeping slightly low and the pitch will definitely change on the last two days.”

Updated: December 03, 2022, 1:40 PM