Runs galore at SBP stadium as Central Punjab secure vital points

By: Abid Hussain

Lahore:-The table-topper, with 120 points before the last round, Central Punjab continued to pile up runs on the second day of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy fixture against Southern Punjab to consolidate their birth in the final match of the four-day first class tournament. Four of Central Punjab batsmen scored centuries to narrate the hard labour for South Punjab’s bowlers and fielders.

Central Punjab resumed their innings on the second day, at the State Bank stadium, from 339 for four and overnight batsman Kamran Akmal marched on to his 62nd first-class half century. The 245-match veteran couldn’t last long and fell prey to Zia-ul-Haq on 68 with nine fours. At the lunch break, Central Punjab had accumulated 452 runs without further damage.

The second session saw another ton for Central Punjab when Usman Salahuddin raised the bat for his 23rd first-class century. Central Punjab, in 110 overs, scored 421 runs for the loss of five wickets to bag five batting points while the bowling side, Southern Punjab, could only siphon a solitary bowling point.

The 29-year old right hander, Usman Salahuddin was bowled by Salman Ali Agha on 114 in the 133rd over of the innings, however Mohammad Saad carried the marathon innings forward to reach his personal three-figure milestone in the third session of the day. Zafar Gohar and Bilal Asif couldn’t cash in on the run flow and perished to Salman Agha on 19 and 16 respectively.

Central Punjab, at last, declared their innings after 170 overs on 597/9, which is also the highest innings tally of the season. Mohammad Saad stood unbeaten with 105 runs, studded with six fours and two maximums.

Salman Ali Agha topped the bowling chart with three while Rahat Ali, Zia-ul-Haq and Zulfiqar Babar bagged two wickets each.

After the tiring day, in the field, Southern Punjab got an early blow in the form of prolific Sami Aslam who was picked up by Ehsan Adil for only three.

Umar Siddiq (10) and Zeeshan Ashraf (7) saw off the day to drag Southern Punjab to 23/1 in nine overs. The Adnan Akmal-led outfit are still trailing by 574 runs.

Scores in brief:

Central Punjab 597-9 declared, 170 overs (Abdullah Shafiq 133, Usman Salahuddin 114, Mohammad Saad 105 not out, Ahmed Shehzad 100; Salman Ali Agha 3-85, Rahat Ali 2-104, Zia-ul-Haq 2-135, Zulfiqar Babar 2-151)

Southern Punjab 23-1, nine overs