PERTH: Pakistan’s 16-year-old speedster Nasim Shah has given Australia’s batsmen plenty to think about with a fiery spell in the drawn pink-ball tour three-day match against Australia ‘A’ here on Wednesday.
Two days after the death of his mother, Nasim delivered a bruising display of fast bowling at the Perth Stadium that culminated in the teenager dismissing struggling Australian Test opener Marcus Harris (20) with a fearsome bouncer that caught the left-hander’s edge.
Boasting an unusual technique and impressive pace, the right-arm quick finished with figures of 1-21 from eight hostile overs before Australia ‘A’ captain Alex Carey and Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali shook hands with half an hour left in the day’s play.
Australia ‘A’ were 91-2 in their second innings at the conclusion of the three-day match, still 367 runs shy of Pakistan’s tally after a dominant display by the tourists.
Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja survived to be 37 not out, although it was likely to be of little consequence ahead of Thursday’s Australia Test squad announcement.
Left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi earlier had another Test hopeful Joe Burns caught behind on 11, two balls after he was dropped at first slip.
It was another untimely failure for Burns, who was clean-bowled by seamer Imran Khan for a golden duck in the first innings as Australia ‘A’ crumbled to be all out for 122 on Tuesday.
Pakistan declared their second innings at 152-3 after tea, having overall handled the conditions far better than the hosts.
Iftikhar Ahmed, promoted to No.4 for the second dig, finished unbeaten on an impressive 79 off 99 deliveries and opener Shan Masood scored a 116-ball 65 before falling to Travis Head’s part-time spin.
Ashes reserve paceman Michael Neser (2-10) was the pick of the bowlers, trapping skipper Azhar Ali lbw and having Haris Sohail caught at gully by Will Pucovski.
Neither Azhar nor Haris managed to compile a significant score in either innings but Pakistan will take plenty of confidence from Iftikhar and Shan having followed up on excellent centuries to Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq in the first dig.
Australia head coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns met on Wednesday to pick their 12-man squad for the first Test at the Gabba starting Nov 21, with none of Australia ‘A’s batsmen having made an irresistible case for selection.
PAKISTAN (1st Innings) 428 (Babar Azam 157, Asad Shafiq 119, Yasir Shah 53: J.A. Richardson 3-79, M.G. Neser 2-57, R.P. Meredith 2-105).
AUSTRALIA ‘A’ (1st Innings) 122 (C.T. Bancroft 49; Imran Khan 5-32, Iftikhar Ahmed 2-6, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-42).
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings, overnight 7-0):
Shan Masood c Meredith b Head 65
Azhar Ali lbw b Neser 1
Haris Sohail c Pucovski b Neser 4
Iftikhar Ahmed not out 79
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2) 3
TOTAL (for two wkts decl, 40.5 overs) 152
FALL OF WKTS: 1-8, 2-18, 3-152.
BOWLING: Richardson 9-4-27-0; Neser
8-3-11-2; Abbott 6-2-10-0; Meredith 6-0-30-0; Head 11.5-0-71-1.
AUSTRALIA ‘A’ (2nd Innings):
J.A. Burns c sub b Shaheen 11
M.S. Harris c sub b Nasim 20
U.T. Khawaja not out 37
T.M. Head not out 13
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-2, W-1, NB-3) 10
TOTAL (for two wkts, 35 overs) 91
FALL OF WKTS: 1-17, 2-62.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 9-1-22-1 (1w); Imran Khan 7-1-18-0; Nasim Shah 8-3-21-1 (3nb); Iftikhar Ahmed 4-2-9-0; Yasir Shah
RESULT: Match drawn.
UMPIRES: S.J. Nogajski and P. Wilson.
MATCH REFEREE: R.W. Stratford.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019