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Rizwan insists Pakistan can save Test despite huge deficit
Pakistan News

Rizwan insists Pakistan can save Test despite huge deficit

Mohammad Rizwan has backed Pakistan's batsmen to produce an improved performance in their final innings of the series against England while not ruling the outside chance of clinching an improbable victory in the third Test.

Pakistan were made to follow-on trailing England by 310 runs at the end of the third day's play, though fading light in the stadium forced the umpires to call stumps before the second innings could begin.

Pakistan had collapsed to 75-5 in the afternoon session as they looked set to slide towards a puny total in response to the hosts' gargantuan 583-8 declared.

With his back against the wall following a string of failures in the preceding innings, Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali conjured a magnificent 141 not out that helped his team to a total of 273.

Azhar was well supported by Rizwan, who contributed with a defiant 53 during a sixth-wicket partnership of 138 that delayed England's wait for a breakthrough.

The question of Pakistan earning a series-levelling win seems ludicrous at the moment given the fact they are so far behind in the Test, which is expected to be blemished by rain on the final two days.

But Rizwan is not keen on letting go of the belief that Pakistan's in-form top-order would be able to deliver the goods and be successful in setting England a competitive target.

"You've seen the condition we were at one stage with four out for not many and we've cut the deficit to 310 runs," he told reporters.

"This is the last innings of the series for all our batsmen and you would have observed that each one of them is in good form."

All of Pakistan's top-six barring Asad Shafiq and the returning Fawad Alam have amassed 50-plus scores in the series and would be looking to making it count on their last red-ball outing on the tour.

"Even if we can have one big knock and others chip in with useful contributions and we can get a 150-run lead, it will be quite tough for England. I have faith in our bowling line-up that they will be able to defend 150 in the fourth innings," Rizwan stated.

In the lead-up to the third Test, under-fire captain Azhar had talked about the pressure on him to regain his form with his leadership role on the line.

Combatting his weakness of being routinely trapped lbw for much of the series, the 35-year-old worked on his stance and avoided playing round his front pad.

Rizwan acknowledged Azhar's technical adjustment and lauded his sterling knock.

"If you watched this innings closely, it was a superb innings," Rizwan said.

"He worked on his head position. In the last few innings, his head was going down but it is now more stable. Overall, it was a superlative effort and a fighting innings from him."

Another bright spot in Pakistan's Test campaign has been Rizwan's splendid run as he has been impressive with both gloves and the bat. Doubts lingered over the 28-year-old's status as the first-choice wicketkeeper in the side but he answered his critics by bringing up his second successive fifty on Sunday.

"I work hard and I have belief that I carry to the crease," he claimed. "Whenever you get a chance, it is your duty to perform for Pakistan but it is never enough for me since it is only the start of my career."

"I don't care what the score is and who is bowling because I know I have done the hard work and the Almighty will reward me for my hard work."