PERTH: Pakistan seamer Imran Khan grabbed a five-wicket haul as Australia ‘A’ were shot out for 122 in a calamitous batting performance on day two of the three-day tour game at the Perth Stadium on Tuesday.
Hometown batsman Cameron Bancroft, however, provided a timely reminder of his staying powers with a defiant 155-ball knock of 49 — that proved to be solitary highlight of the home team’s dismal first innings.
Test aspirant Joe Burns was clean-bowled for a golden duck and fellow hopefuls Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Will Pucovski also fell cheaply as the hosts crumbled in the pink-ball clash.
Pakistan, opted against enforcing the inevitable follow on, were seven for no loss in three overs before stumps, to enjoy an overall lead of 313 runs.
In fact, Australia ‘A’s plight would been more depressing when they slid to 57-9in reply to Pakistan’s 428 before Bancroft (49) and last man Riley Meredith (19 not out) restored some pride, batting longer for the 10th wicket than the first nine combined.
The resistance came to an end when left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi found Bancroft’s edge shortly before stumps.
Having only been added to the XI when Nic Maddinson withdrew on mental health grounds, Bancroft has at least given Australia head coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns something to think about after coming in at No. 6.
They might have more questions than answers after veteran seamer Imran, who finished with fine figures of 5-32 in 12 overs, spoiled a much-anticipated Australia ‘A’ bat-off on a pitch that appeared to have livened up significantly from a tame opening day.
Imran — who hasn’t played for Pakistan since the Sydney Test in January 2017 — skittled Burns with his first delivery before Shaheen cleaned up Harris (16) with a superb off-cutter.
Harris is the incumbent Test opener but his inconsistency has potentially opened the door for Bancroft to partner David Warner in the Nov 21 first Test at the Gabba despite the West Australian’s mediocre Sheffield Shield form this season.
Head (13) and Khawaja (6) both fell to the part-time off-spin of Iftikhar Ahmed, Head picking out backward point and Khawaja caught behind.
Imran then found the edge of Pucovski (5), who had been duelling with Head to claim the vacant middle-order spot in Australia’s Test side.
Australia ‘A’ skipper Alex Carey then chopped on to an Imran delivery for a seventh-ball duck to give Pakistan a crack at the tail.
The collapse came despite Pakistan being a bowler down with 16-year-old fast bowler Nasim Shah withdrawn following the overnight death of his mother. The tourists opted not to replace the youngster preferring to retain the tour match’s first-class status.
Earlier, both overnight century-makers Asad Shafiq (119) and Babar Azam (157) were retired out to allow the rest of their team-mates to gain batting practice for the Brisbane Test.
But barring Yasir Shah’s 70-ball 53, no else managed to stay for long as Jhye Richardson picked three wickets after going without success on Monday.
PAKISTAN (1st Innings):
Shan Masood c Abbott b Meredith 22
Azhar Ali lbw b Neser 11
Haris Sohail c Carey b Meredith 18
Asad Shafiq retired out 119
Babar Azam retired out 157
Iftikhar Ahmed b Neser 6
M. Rizwan c Burns b Richardson 6
Yasir Shah lbw b Richardson 53
S. Shah Afridi c Carey b Richardson 25
Imran Khan not out 1
Nasim Shah absent --
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-1, W-1, NB-4) 10
TOTAL (all out, 118 overs) 428
FALL OF WKTS: 1-13, 2-47, 3-60 4-336, 5-336, 6-344, 7-348, 8-415, 9-428.
BOWLING: Neser 27-10-57-2; Richardson 29-7-79-3 (1nb); Abbott 24-3-84-0 (2nb, 1w); Meredith
18-1-105-2 (1nb); Head 20-0-98-0.
AUSTRALIA ‘A’ (1st Innings):
M.S. Harris b Shaheen 16
J.A. Burns b Imran 0
U.T. Khawaja c Rizwan b Iftikhar 6
T.M. Head c Babar b Iftikhar 13
W.J. Pucovski c Iftikhar b Imran 5
C.T. Bancroft c sub b Shaheen 49
A.T. Carey b Imran 0
M.G. Neser c Asad b Imran 2
J.A. Richardson lbw b Imran 0
S.A. Abbott lbw b Yasir 2
R.P. Meredith not out 19
EXTRAS (LB-5, NB-5) 10
TOTAL (all out, 56.4 overs) 122
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-19, 3-37, 4-40, 5-42, 6-44, 7-50, 8-50, 9-57.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 16.4-5-42-2 (4nb); Imran Khan
12-3-32-5 (1nb); Iftikhar Ahmed
6-2-6-2; Yasir Shah 15-6-24-1;
Haris Sohail 2-0-2-0; Shan Masood 1-0-1-0; Azhar Ali 4-0-10-0.
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings):
Shan Masood not out 4
Azhar Ali not out 1
EXTRAS (LB-2) 2
TOTAL (for no wkt, 3 overs) 7
BOWLING (to-date): Richardson 2-1-4-0; Neser 1-0-1-0.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019