Abbottabad and Lahore Shalimar dominate
Abbottabad held all the cards in their contest against Lahore Ravi at the Gaddaffi Stadium in Lahore, gaining a first-innings lead of 255 and imposing a follow-on. Lahore had begun the day on the back foot, reduced to 43 for 4, but there was an improvement in fortunes on the third day with Saadullah Ghauri and Ashraf Ali striking half-centuries. Asif Ashfaq, batting at No.10, too, resisted with 33 but these efforts were inadequate against a collective bowling effort from Abbottabad. The seamers Ahmed Jamal and Mohammad Naeem shared five wickets, as did the other three bowlers. Jamal returned to torment Lahore in the second innings, removing the openers and leaving the opposition at 55 for 2 at stumps, still 200 adrift, making an innings win a strong possibility.
The proceedings were similar at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground where Lahore Shalimar imposed a follow-on on Quetta. Quetta had begun the day on a slightly more comfortable note but didn't take long to lose their way. Barring opener Bismillah Khan, who made 44, and Taimur Ali, who top-scored with 77, there was little support from the rest as the visitors collapsed to 205 all out, conceding a lead of 230. Legspinner Saad Nasim was the wrecker-in-chief, picking up his maiden five-for and was backed up by seamer Arsalan Mir, who took four. Nasim, like Jamal against Lahore Ravi, returned to take two more in the second innings to leave Quetta reeling at 116 for 5 at stumps.
State Bank of Pakistan kept themselves in the hunt for a first-innings lead against Hyderabad on the third day at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad. In pursuit of the hosts' 326, SBP reached 277 for 5 at stumps thanks to a potentially game-turning fifth-wicket stand of 182 between Rameez Alam, who fell one short of a century, and Naved Yasin, who reached his ninth first-class ton and in quick time, remaining unbeaten on 102 off as many balls. SBP were in trouble at 82 for 4, losing two early wickets in the morning, before Alam and Yasin stepped up. The pair was separated with the score on 264 and Yasin's presence remains the key if SBP are to edge ahead tomorrow.
There was no play on the third day of the contest between Karachi Whites and Pakistan Television at the National Stadium in Karachi. The decision was a mark of respect for politician Imran Farooq, who was killed in London and his body was brought to Karachi for the funeral.