LAHORE              -            A five-wicket haul by Faheem Ashraf and an unbeaten 57-run stand between Salman Butt and Azhar Ali put Central Punjab in a commanding position on day one of the final of the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament against Northern at Karachi’s National Stadium on Friday.  Faheem, the Central Punjab bowling all-rounder, returned five for 54 – his sixth five-fer at this level – as Northern were bowled out for 254 in 61 overs after electing to bat. Faheem, along with Aizaz Cheema (two for 56), sparked an early collapse which saw the batting side getting reduced to five for 69 before a gutsy 116 by Faizan Riaz rescued Northern. Faizan, who now moves to fifth spot in the highest run-getters’ chart after scoring his third century of the tournament, smashed 14 fours in his 133-ball knock and crafted a defiant 155-run stand for the sixth-wicket with Rohail Nazir, who made a solid 80. Rohail, the Pakistan U19 captain, faced 115 balls, out of which 12 were dispatched for fours.  As Central Punjab captain Babar Azam looked for a breakthrough, Faheem provided his side the crucial wicket of Faizan after which off-spinner Bilal Ashraf (three for 37) wrapped up the tail. Opener Salman took a lead role in Central Punjab’s reply scoring an unbeaten 48. The left-hander cracked 10 fours in the 67 balls he faced on the first day of the match, which helped Central Punjab to 87 for one in 21 overs before stumps were drawn. Batting at the other end was Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali – who scored 17 not out in 37 balls.  Central Punjab’s only wicket to fall was Ahmed Shahzad. The right-handed opener made 20 off 22 balls before getting dismissed by Nauman Ali, the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. Central Punjab trail Northern by 167 runs. The second day’s play will begin at 10am on Saturday.

SCORES IN BRIEF

NORTHERN: 254 all-out, 61 overs (Faizan Riaz 116, Rohail Nazir 80; Faheem Ashraf 5-54, Bilal Asif 3-37, Aizaz Cheema 2-56)

CENTRAL PUNJAB: 87-1, 21 overs (Salman Butt 48 not out, Ahmed Shehzad 20)