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Anderson sits on 599 as resilient Pakistan delay England's victory charge
Day Four Report

Anderson sits on 599 as resilient Pakistan delay England's victory charge

James Anderson moved to a wicket away from the astonishing milestone of 600 Test wickets on the fourth day of the third Test against Pakistan as the tourists and bad weather denied him the opportunity of reaching the landmark figure sooner.

Much of the attention on the penultimate day of the series finale was centered on Anderson's efforts to become the first paceman to take 600 wickets in the format.

However, a tame drop from wicketkeeper Jos Buttler prevented him from adding another scalp to his name and the only batsman who fell to his wonderful swing bowling was Abid Ali towards the end of the day's play.

Meanwhile, England's main goal of clinching a dominant 2-0 series win over Pakistan was resisted by resolute defensive strokeplay from the visitors, who crawled to 100-2 in their follow-on, still 210 runs away from making England bat again.

After torrential rainfall had caused a lengthy delay of over three hours, the end was hastened by bad light with the umpires deciding conditions were unsafe for players.

Since the evening session of the previous day had seen three catches go down off Anderson's bowling, the Lancashire star eagerly set out in the middle to get into his work on Monday.

Tight bowling with the new ball on a rather flat track sparked a chance from opener Shan Masood's bat but Buttler failed to grasp it.

Masood had done well till then to avoid falling into the trap of the in-swinging Anderson delivery that has routinely been the source of his demise but he had a lazy waft at a ball outside off-stump from the fast bowling maestro.

Buttler's slip-up behind the stumps may have been due to the wayward trajectory of the wobbly seam of the ball but the height and pace at which it travelled to him made it seem like an easy chance.

Amidst the new-ball burst from Anderson and Stuart Broad, England were disturbed by an injury scare to Ollie Pope as the youngster completed a diving effort. While there has been no real clarity regarding Pope's fitness, he is not likely to bat in the match again given the game's situation.

Rain then arrived at 12:15 pm, forcing the players to stay off the field until 3:45 pm. Masood finally got out to Broad when he wrongfully shouldered his arms to an incoming delivery that just flicked his pad.

Following his dismissal, Abid and skipper Azhar Ali renewed their rearguard action by eating away precious time remaining in the encounter and grinding it out amid the scoreboard pressure.

Abid's quiet 162-ball stay at the crease yielded 42 but he was given out lbw off the bowling of Anderson, marking another marginal call by the umpire.

Having recouped his rhythm and raring to go hard at the new batsman in the last hour, Anderson was able to deliver only eight more balls as the umpires opted light was not suitable enough to have the pacers in action.

England skipper Joe Root had to bring himself on for a short spell in tandem with off-spinner Dom Bess but Pakistan did not stray away from their mindset of dogged defence.

The last day of the Test match promises another shower, which bolsters Pakistan's hopes of earning 13 World Test Championship points for a draw.