Pentangular Cup, 4th round, 3rd day March 7, 2008

Punjab firmly in command after Misbah's double

Cricinfo staff

Baluchistan 375 and 207 for 8 (Alam 48, Aslam 49*, Ahmed 36*) trail Punjab 723 for 4 dec (Misbah 208*, Mahmood 94, Malik 60) by 141 runs

Misbah-ul-Haq cracked his career-best score of 208 not out as Punjab piled up 723 for 4 against Baluchistan © AFP

A career-best 208 not out from Misbah-ul-Haq led an exciting third day at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot, one during which Punjab amassed 723 for 4 - the 11th highest total ever in Pakistan's first-class history and highest in over 20 years - and then left Baluchistan reeling at 207 for 8.

Misbah, overnight on 82, motored along to his century and then a double, forging promising stands of 229 with Anmar Mahmood (94) and 130 with Shoaib Malik, whose blazing 60 needed just 37 deliveries. Punjab declared with a lead of 348 after Malik fell; their 723 runs came at a commanding run-rate of 6.32 per over.

All the Baluchistan bowlers were made to suffer, with legbreak bowler Imranullah Aslam conceding 239 from his 40 overs. The opening bowlers - Abdur Rauf and Tanvir Ahmed - went at economy-rates of 7.65 and 8.80. Baluchistan did themselves no favours, leaking 61 extras, including 33 no-balls and 13 wides.

Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman then took 3 for 65 as Punjab reduced Baluchistan to 207 for 8. Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with two wickets apiece as the Baluchistan top order, barring Rameez Alam, who made 48, failed to put up a fight.

Aslam, promoted to No. 7 - he batted at No .10 in Baluchistan's first innings, made good use of the opportunity, with an unbeaten 49. He shared an unbroken 58-run stand for the ninth wicket with Tanvir Ahmed, who came up with a brisk 36 off 34.

However, with Baluchistan still trailing by 141 runs, an innings victory seems for Punjab seems the likely outcome.

Sind 222 and 345 for 3 (Latif 74, Iqbal 77, Rizwan 70*) lead Federal Areas 295 by 272 runs

Sind's openers had knocked off their 73-run first-innings deficit against Federal Areas on the second day, and their batsmen played out the whole of day three to take them to 345 for 3 in their second innings, a lead of 272.

Khalid Latif and Naumanullah added 63 runs to Sind's overnight score of 128, before both fell in quick succession. Naumanullah was out for a brisk 54-ball 43, while Latif needed 140 balls for his 74, which included ten boundaries.

Those were to be the only successes for Federal Areas, as Faisal Iqbal and Rizwan Ahmed put together an unbroken 142-run stand for the fourth wicket; Iqbal was unbeaten on 77 at the close, with Rizwan not out on 70. Sind scored 217 in the day, off the 59 overs that were bowled.

Sohail Tanvir, who took a five-for in the first innings, toiled for 24 overs without any luck and also conceded 101 runs.