Islamabad were fighting to avoid a follow-on after they reached 212 for 5 against Multan at the Gaddafi Stadium , still needing a further 102 with five wickets in hand to make the opposition bat again.
Seamer Abdur Rauf, following his 57 with the bat, sliced through the top order claiming the wickets of openers Afaq Rahim (14) and Atif Ashraf (14) leaving them at 51 for 2. He also got rid of Raheel Majeed who feel three short of a half century. Rauf finished with 3 for 61 runs in 19 overs. Mohammed Fayyaz retired hurt at 26 but seamer Rauf Akbar was not out at 53 with eight boundaries at the close while Imad Wasim was at 19. Poor visibility and rain brought a premature end to the day's play, one-and-a-half hours before the scheduled close.
Misbah-ul-Haq, Ijaz Ahmed Jnr and Naved Latif scored centuries as Faisalabad gained a first-innings lead of 197 over Karachi Harbour, totalling a mammoth 563 for 7 declared at the National Stadium . The day was cut short by poor light in the afternoon and was earlier stopped twice, due to a drizzle. Still, the Faisalabad batsmen, having resumed at their overnight 287 for 3, put up a display of the highest order.
The fourth-wicket partnership between Ijaz and Latif produced a massive 257 runs as Faisalabad reached a total of 540 with seven wickets still in hand. Misbah began the day at 91 and went on to post a magnificent 184 - his 23rd century in 115 first-class matches.
Misbah faced 363 balls and hit 22 fours and two sixes. Ijaz faced only 189 balls for his 159, with 21 fours and three sixes. Legspinner Danish Kaneria, the Karachi captain, who toiled for 23 overs on Thursday, finally took two wickets yesterday. By the close of play, the Karachi Harbour openers added 15.
Sialkot looked set to displace Karachi Urban from the top of the Gold League table, as they finished the third day still needing only 38 more to win at the Jinnah Stadium . After having gained a first-innings lead of 166, Sialkot bowled them out for 230 in their second innings.
Sialkot's experienced pace bowler Tahir Mughal broke Karachi Urban's resolve by picking up six wickets for 74 runs in 18 overs. The only Karachi batsmen to offer some resistance yesterday were Asif Zakir with 62 and wicketkeeper Amin-ur-Rehman, who made 38. The only sizeable partnership was the one of 58 for the fourth wicket between Asif and nightwatchman Mohammad Hasnain (26).
Saeed Bin Nasir and captain Hasan Raza, centurions in the previous match against Rawalpindi, both fell cheaply again for scores of 13 and 8, respectively.
Lahore Shalimar clinched a slender 13-run first innings lead over Rawalpindi at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground. Resuming their overnight 291 for 5, just 39 runs behind Rawalpindi, Lahore lost their next four wickets early yesterday for the addition of just 22 runs. A 30-run partnership for the last wicket took them past Rawalpindi's score to 343.
Mohammad Hussain, the left-arm spinner who played for Pakistan, made a resolute 39 off 74 balls with five fours. Mohammad Khalil with five not out gave him company for crucial 40 minutes. Aamer Sajjad had earlier failed to add to his overnight score of 49.
Seamer Yasir Arafat added three more wickets to his haul to finish with splendid figures of 6 for 84 in 27 overs. By stumps, Rawalpindi had lost three wickets in their second innings while scoring 71 runs. They are now ahead of Lahore by 58 runs with a full day to go.
Rawalpindi, who for a while occupied the top spot in the seven-team Gold League table, are playing their last match of the competition. Lahore Shalimar are already at rock bottom in the table. In spite of their spirited display here, they seem certain to be demoted to the Silver League next season.