Federal Areas 383 and 37 for 3 trail Punjab 599 for 7 dec (Butt 290, Jamshed 108, Yousuf 56, Azam 3-133) by 179 runs
A power-packed performance from Punjab, propelled by Salman Butt's 290, put them in control of their match against Federal Areas at stumps on the third day. Punjab declared after amassing 599 for 7, and then reduced Federal Areas to 37 for 3.
Punjab carried their momentum from the previous day, when Butt and Mohammad Hafeez added a 191-run opening stand. Butt, who resumed on 135, combined well with No. 3 Nasir Jamshed to pile the misery for the Federal Areas bowlers, led by Shoaib Akhtar. The two added 290 runs for the second wicket - 262 of which came today - before Shehzad Azam dismissed them both. Jamshed, who scored fifties in his first two ODIs for Pakistan during the Zimbabwe series, made 108.
However, the star of the day was Butt, whose knock needed only 318 deliveries, and included an astounding 50 fours and and one six, perhaps a timely reminder to the selectors who dropped him during the Zimbabwe series. Mohammad Yousuf also helped himself to a fifty before Punjab declared on 599. Azam claimed three wickets, but he was carted for more than a run-a-ball in his 20 overs. The rest of the bowlers didn't impress either, with the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat conceding more than four an over.
Aizaz Cheema then removed both the Federal Areas openers cheaply, before left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman struck to leave the opposition struggling, still trailing by 179 runs.
Sind 149 and 130 for 0 (Manzoor 74*, Latif 56*) need another 179 runs to beat North West Frontier Province 203 and 254 (Younis 111, Kaneria 5-62, Ali 3-66)
Having conceding the first-innings lead to North West Frontier Province on the second day, Sind fought back strongly on the third day to still be in with a chance of victory.
Leading by 200 runs with seven wickets in hand in their second innings and captain Younis Khan still at the crease, NWFP were done in by Danish Kaneria's 5 for 62. Kaneria, who recently expressed his disappointment at being demoted in the central contracts handed by the Pakistan board, dismissed Nos 6 -10 as NWFP crumbled to 254 all out from 150 for 3 at the end of the second day.
Younis' 111 was the only substantial contribution, the next best was only 26. Shahid Afridi, the Sind captain, chipped in with the wicket of his opposition counterpart, while Anwar Ali ended with 3 for 66.
Needing the highest total of the match to win the game, Sind were off to a buoyant start. Khalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor, two others jostling for the opening slot in the Pakistan line-up, scored patient fifties as their team finished at 130 for no loss. Sind need another 179 with ten wickets left, but given the propensity of batting collapses in this match, it is still anybody's game.