Azhar’s ton powers Pakistan to 224-3 to trail NZ by 50 runs

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Azhar Ali’s century powered Pakistan to 224-3 at lunch Day 3 of the third and final test against New Zealand yesterday.

Azhar, the dependable Pakistan third batsman, was batting on 111 off 245 balls with 10 fours. It was Azhar’s 15th test hundred and first against New Zealand.

Asad Shafiq contributed with unbeaten 55 off 183 balls as both batsmen stretched their fourth-wicket stand to 139 runs.

Azhar’s rare aggression in the first session saw Pakistan trailing the visitors by just 50 runs as New Zealand couldn’t get the breakthrough even after bowling 10 overs with the second new ball before lunch.

New Zealand wasted one of its two reviews when they went for an unsuccessful caught behind television referral against Shafiq off Trent Boult’s (2-54) first over with the second new ball.

Resuming on 139-3, Azhar square cut Boult over backward point for a boundary off the very first ball of the day.

Both New Zealand spinners — debutant Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel — couldn’t get enough help off the wicket, and bowled 37 overs without a wicket, conceding 81 runs between them.