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England's victory hopes boosted by late wickets after Pakistan captain Babar Azam hits hundred on flat pitch

England dismiss Babar Azam (136) and Mohammad Rizwan (29) late on day three to boost victory hopes in Rawalpindi; Pakistan close on 499-7, trailing 158 runs, Will Jacks strikes three times for England - watch day four live on Sky Sports on Sunday (4.45am on air)

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Highlights from day three of the first Test in Rawalpindi as Pakistan closed on 499-7 to trail England by 158

England's hopes of forcing victory over Pakistan in the first Test were boosted by late wickets on day three after they had been largely stalled by Babar Azam's eighth Test century and the flat Rawalpindi pitch.

Pakistan closed on 499-7 to trail by 158 in reply to England's 657 all out, with Babar (136) out to Will Jacks having followed openers Imam-ul-Haq (121) and Abdullah Shafique (114) in posting a ton.

Mohammad Rizwan (29) and Naseem Shah (15) also departed in the closing stages of the day as James Anderson claimed his maiden Test wicket in Pakistan and Jacks his third on debut, but England still have their work cut out to push for a win with the deck showing few signs of breaking up and batting remaining fairly routine.

Ben Stokes' determined tourists had been lifted earlier on by three wickets in the morning session - including a first in Tests for off-spinner Jacks - and when left-arm spinner Jack Leach pinned Azhar Ali (27) lbw with the second new ball close to lunch, Pakistan were 290-3 and still 367 runs in arrears.

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Babar went on to share a fourth-wicket partnership of 123 with Saud Shakeel (37) as England endured a barren middle session and then added 60 from 75 balls with Rizwan to take Pakistan past the follow-on mark, not that Stokes may have enforced it anyway.

Babar chopped Jacks to backward point around 40 minutes prior to stumps before Anderson, who was getting the ball to reverse, had Rizwan snared by Stokes at midwicket, and Naseem then hoicked Jacks to deep midwicket as three wickets fell for 24 runs.

England plugged away manfully on the most placid of surfaces, trying everything to prise wickets - Stokes reverted to the short-ball tactic at one point, spinner Joe Root even fired in bouncers and Leach's bald head was used to try and shine the ball, while Stokes frequently and imaginatively adjusted his field, too.

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Joe Root opted to shine the ball on Jack Leach's head during England's first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi!

But they lacked a little inspiration at times with express paceman Mark Wood not in their XI due to a hip complaint and Liam Livingstone's mix of leg and off-spin spin not an option as he sat out the day having tweaked his leg in the field on Friday.

Credit, too, must go to Pakistan for responding to England's swashbuckling total with a big score of their own, albeit achieved with a much more conventional Test match batting tempo.

The speed at which England plundered their runs across the first four sessions, and their late breakthroughs on the third evening, means there is still time for a result to be forced but Stokes' men will require some assistance from the pitch to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

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Jacks picked up the key wicket of Babar for 136 late in the third session on day three

Imam, Shafique and Babar hit hundreds before England fight back

Shafique and Imam clinched their third Test centuries from 177 and 180 deliveries respectively as they took their opening stand from its overnight 181 to 225.

Shafique continued the excellent start to his Test career, with the right-hander now on three tons and four fifties from eight games and averaging 76, while left-hander Imam - who was a little nervy in the 90s, it must be said - just adores Rawalpindi, with each of his three Test tons to date having been scored on this ground.

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Jacks bagged his first Test wicket when he had Pakistan opener Abdullah Shafique caught behind

England finally broke through just under an hour into day three with Shafique attempting to cut a wide ball from Jacks away and edging behind to wicketkeeper Ollie Pope, with Imam then holing out off Leach five overs later, picking out Ollie Robinson at long-on.

In a game where bat has thoroughly dominated ball - this is the first Test in history where both opening partnerships have shared double century stands (Shafique and Imam for Pakistan, Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley for England) and all four players have scored hundreds - a bowling side suddenly had momentum, even more so when Leach snapped a 45-run stand between Babar and Azhar.

Stokes handed Leach the new ball and was rewarded five deliveries later with Azhar trapped lbw on the back foot by a ball that skidded on - relief for Crawley, who had grassed a tough one-handed chance at leg slip off the bowling of Anderson when Azhar was on 20.

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Leach was handed the new ball and promptly trapped Azhar Ali lbw

However, Babar showed his class all around the wicket as he scored his first Test hundred against England in the company of the dogged Shakeel, with the pair thwarting Stokes' side for the best part of 34 overs before Shakeel edged Robinson behind shortly after tea.

Rizwan came in next, playing Bazball-esque cricket as he took the attack to England, with the punchy wicketkeeper-batter biffing Jacks for four leg-side fours in five deliveries during the 119th over of the innings.

However, neither he, Babar nor Naseem could make it through to stumps, with Agha Salman (10no) and Zahid Mahmood (1no) the not-out batsmen at the close as England headed off in fine spirits.

Watch day four of the first Test between Pakistan and England, in Rawalpindi, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event on Sunday. Build-up begins at 4.45am.

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