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England vs Pakistan 2020: James Anderson on 598 Wickets as Azhar Ali Keeps England at Bay

England celebrate the fall of a wicket. (Image: AP)

England celebrate the fall of a wicket. (Image: AP)

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali found form but his unbeaten 141 could not help prevent a follow-on as England remained on top in the third and final Test in Southampton courtesy James Anderson's five-wicket haul.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali found form but his unbeaten 141 could not help prevent a follow-on as England remained on top in the third and final Test in Southampton courtesy James Anderson's five-wicket haul.

Having posted a mammoth 583 for 8 in their first innings, England bowled out Pakistan for 273 and enforced the follow on. As the teams entered the field for the third innings of the match, umpires called it stumps due to bad light. Azhar, who was in good rhythm through the day, promoted himself to open the batting in the second innings but it remains to be seen if he'll push himself to No. 3 on Day 4.

Anderson, meanwhile, was on 598 Test wickets at close of play having taken 5 for 56. He could have had a couple more if not for some sloppy catching towards the end of the day. Only spin bowlers Anil Kumble (619), Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800) have more dismissals in the game’s longest format.

England seamer James Anderson removed Asad Shafiq for his fourth wicket of the innings to leave Pakistan teetering at 30-4 in the morning session, which was interrupted by rain.

England off-spinner Dom Bess dismissed Fawad Alam in the second session to reduce Pakistan to 75-5 but Azhar continued to score runs freely at the other end.

He became the fifth Pakistan batsman to reach 6,000 runs in tests before completing his half century in 137 deliveries, which included seven boundaries.

Azhar and Mohammad Rizwan, the Man of the match in the second Test for his half-century in the rain affected game, added 138 for the sixth wicket to frustrate England. Rizwan made 53 off 113, including five fours and a six.

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Azhar went past his century and extended Pakistan's score with Yasir Shah scoring 20. However, the second new ball proved too much to handle for the tail.

Jos Buttler's glove work was excellent behind the stumps, his acrobatic catch down leg side to dismiss Shaheen Afridi off Stuart Broad being the highlight.

Earlier, over the first two days, Zak Crawley (267) converted his maiden century into a double ton and shared a record-breaking 359-run partnership with Jos Buttler (152) as England declared their first innings on 583-8 on Saturday.

England, who hold a 1-0 lead, are edging towards their first test series win over Pakistan since 2010 unless rain has a major say over the next two days.

The hosts won the opening match in Manchester by three wickets, and the rain-hit second game ended in a draw.