Fawad Alam leads Sindh fight-back against Northern

Fawad Alam leads Sindh fight-back against Northern

KARACHI: Test batsman Fawad Alam scored his 60th first class half-century to keep Sindh afloat on day two of their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class match against Northern at National Stadium, Karachi, on Tuesday.

He was unbeaten on 75 from 113 balls with nine fours at the close of play with Sindh on 247 for five in response to Northern’s imposing first innings total of 408 runs. Umpires called stumps due to bad light with eight overs remaining in the day.

All-rounder Anwar Ali played judiciously for his undefeated 41 runs from 71 balls figuring in an important 75-run partnership with Fawad for the sixth wicket.

Sindh, who took the last two wickets of Northern soon after the day’s play began, were in trouble early on as Northern’s left arm pacer Sadaf Hussain dismissed Khurram Manzoor (3) and Rameez Aziz (0). But opener Shehzar Muhammad (74 from 128 balls) stood firm and steadied the innings with Saad Ali (23).

Sadaf, completed his 400 first class wickets when he had Rameez caught behind. Saad was run out when a direct throw from Hammad Azam fielding at square leg caught him inches out of the crease at the non-striker’s end.

Sindh had slumped to 65 for three when Shehzar and Fawad started rebuilding the innings but just before tea Northern skipper Nauman Ali struck a telling blow when he trapped Shehzar leg before.

At tea, Sindh had slumped to 128 for four but on resumption, Fawad found an able partner in skipper Sarfraz Ahmed as both played some attacking shots. Fawad pulled debutant fast bowler Salman Irshad for three fours. Sindh suffered a setback just as they appeared to be in a safe position when Sarfraz pounced upon a short ball from Nauman only to be caught at short mid-wicket by Shoaib Ahmed Minhas.

The Sindh skipper fell for 22 runs after which Fawad found a steady partner in Anwar who lived a charmed life but displayed grit and hit five fours and a six. At Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Ashfaq Ahmed’s unbeaten 81 helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 160 for two against Southern Punjab before play had to be called off early due to bad light.

The right-handed batsman cracked his third half-century of the tournament and stitched a crucial 73-run partnership for the second-wicket with Sahibzada Farhan (47 off 97) to provide Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a solid foundation after they had lost their first wicket with just eight runs on the board.

Ashfaq, who faced 133 balls, struck 12 boundaries. Adil Amin (21) was at the other end when the bails were drawn. The pair had by then put 79 runs together for the third wicket. Earlier, Southern Punjab added 95 runs to their overnight score before they were all-out for 338 in 100.3 overs.

Middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, resuming his innings at 38, scored his 25th half-century in first-class cricket. The right-handed batsman scored 57 off 88 balls, hitting nine fours.

His overnight partner Salman Ali Agha added 43 runs to his score before falling five runs short of a half-century. Salman struck seven fours in his 60-ball stay at the crease. Ahmed Jamal, the right-arm medium-fast bowler, continued to spearhead Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s bowling attack and took another three wickets on Tuesday to have figures of six for 93.

His exploits with the ball helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa pick up all bowling points (3) on offer for taking nine or more wickets in the first 110 overs. Southern Punjab bagged three points for scoring 338.

At Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Imran Butt’s eighth first-class century and two early wickets by Taj Wali and Mohammad Asghar put Balochistan ahead of Central Punjab. Balochistan scored a mammoth 450 all out on the back of Butt’s 137 and reduced the hosts to 28 for two before the play had to be called off due to fading light.

Butt, 23, continued his impressive form after resuming his innings on 77 and cracked his second 100-plus score in the tournament. He knitted a solid 167-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Imran Farhat, who scored 87 off 155 balls, hitting 11 fours.

Butt smashed 16 fours in his 225-ball stay at the crease before he was removed by Aizaz Cheema, who got his 37th five-fer in first-class cricket. The 40-year-old right-arm medium-fast took five wickets for 100 runs in 31.1 overs, providing crucial breakthroughs to the hosts.

Other notable performance with the ball came from right-arm medium-fast Mohammad Ali who picked up two more wickets on Tuesday and returned three for 72. For crossing the 400-run mark in 110 overs, Balochistan bagged maximum (5) batting points, while Central Punjab took two bowling points.

Only eight overs were possible in Central Punjab’s innings and Taj (2-0-5-1) and Asghar (2-0-7-1) made the most of the twilight hours by picking up the wickets of opener Rizwan Hussain (six) and night-watchman Ehsan Adil (seven). Salman Butt (15) and Central Punjab captain Ahmed Shehzad (0) will resume the innings for the hosts on Wednesday (today).

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