Hafeez, Nazir put Punjab in strong position

Punjab ended the opening day of their third round match against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) on a healthy 325 for the loss of 4 wickets at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex.

Winning the toss and batting first, Punjab rode on a 115-run opening partnership between Pakistan internationals Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir. Hafeez scored an aggressive 88 including 12 fours and two sixes before being dismissed by Saeed Ajmal. Nazir scored a characteristic 41-ball 60 with nine fours and a six before being caught behind off Bilal Asad.

While Bilal Khilji scored 41 coming in at number three, Misbah-ul-Haq, the returning Punjab captain, shared a useful 79-run fourth wicket partnership with another Test discard Naveed Latif. In sharp contrast to Punjab's aggressive opening partnership, Misbah battled for nearly three hours over his 43.

Punjab will resume their innings with Mohammad Ayub (17*) partnering Naveed Latif who has faced 146 balls for his 64 that includes 11 fours and a single six.

Medium pacer Bilal Asad was the pick of the bowlers on a placid pitch as he picked up three wickets in 18 overs while giving away only 44 runs. Saeed Ajmal, the other wicket-taker, gave away 110 runs from his 25 overs.

Sind recovered from a dismal 73 for six to post a decent 234 on the first day of their match against North West Frontier Province - Baluchistan at the National Stadium, Karachi.

The day ended with the combined NWFP and Baluchistan team scoring 84 for the loss of opener Shoaib Khan (24) in reply. Yasir Hameed was unbeaten on 48 while Raiz Kail was batting on 9.

Earlier, the opening bowling pair of Shakeel-ur-Rehman and Nasir Jalil picked up the first four wickets with only 27 on the board, including that of captain Faisal Iqbal for one. Rizwan Ahmed (58) steadied the innings slightly with a 35-run fifth wicket partnership before adding 51 with Mohammad Sami who scored 27.

But it was Tahir Khan, better known for his off-spin, whose brilliant 70 helped Sind recover. He added 43 for the eighth wicket with Sami and 60 for the ninth wicket with Farhan Ayub before being running out of partners.

Nasir was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets for 60 runs while Shakeel and Faisal Irfan both picked up three wickets each.