ZULQARNAIN Haider and Saeed Ajmal led a spirited Pakistan fightback to frustrate England on day three of the second Test at Edgbaston.
Debutant Haider recovered from a first-ball reprieve to smash 88, while Ajmal added a Test-best 50, as the tourists rallied to an unlikely 291-9 – a lead of 112.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann took a career-best 6-60 to help reduce Pakistan to 101-6 at one stage, but Haider’s middle-order partnerships with Mohammad Amir and Ajmal took the game into a fourth day – and even gave Pakistan a sniff of a shock victory.
Wicketkeeper Haider, however, must be thankful to the review system for leading Pakistan’s recovery after surviving an embarrassing king pair on debut.
Dismissed first ball in his first Test innings, Haider was given out by umpire Steve Davis for a golden duck in the second when seemingly trapped lbw from Swann, only for the decision to be overturned on referral.
Swann has been left playing a bit-part in the series so far, but was finally called upon when the ball failed to swing for seam trio James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn.
For the 20th time in his career he struck in his very first over of a Test spell, ending a stand of 52 between Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali with his third delivery.
He struck again to dismiss Ali in his next over and added two more wickets after lunch to put his side on the cusp of an innings victory.
Haider, however, had other ideas. After surviving his referral, he went on to lead a dogged resistance, with a mixture of fair and resilience, putting on 52 with Amir (16) and then 115 with Saeed to set up an intriguing fourth day.
Frustrated Broad, meanwhile, was later charged for petulantly “throwing the ball inappropriately” at Haider and hitting him on the shoulder.