ABU DHABI – Azhar Ali smashed a timely and much-needed century to help Pakistan cross 300 runs mark on third day of the final Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old scored 134 for his 15th hundred and first since May last year, guiding Pakistan to 311-5 after lunch, took 37 runs lead against Kiwi’s total of 274.
Asad Shafiq made 104 off 259 with the help of 14 fours. Azhar edged medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme through the slips for his ninth boundary to complete his first century after 18 barren innings.
Azhar, whose last hundred was against the West Indies in Dominica in May 2017, took 210 balls to reach the three-figure mark.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson took the second new ball in the 81st over with Pakistan comfortably placed at 213-3, but nothing worked for the bowlers on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.
Resuming at 139-3, Azhar hit Trent Boult for a boundary off the first ball of the day and then smacked spinner Ajaz Patel for another to enter the eighties.
Boult has figures of 2-54 while fellow paceman Tim Southee has taken 1-39.
The three-match series is tied at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first Test in Abu Dhabi by four runs before Pakistan bounced back with an innings and 16-run win in the second in Dubai.
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