PERTH: Pakistan’s raw pace attack have been given a wake-up call ahead of the Test series against Australia after struggling to fire against a youth-laden Cricket Australia (CA) XI outfit here on Saturday.
In reply to Pakistan’s 386-7 declared, the CA XI were reeling at 6-2 in on the last day of the two-day tour match at the WACA Ground, after Mohammad Abbas and 19-year-old Mohammad Musa Khan struck early in scorching heat.
But Pakistan struggled to make further inroads, with a 122-run stand between Jonathan Merlo (78) and Matthew Spoors (58) frustrating the visitors.
The CA XI outfit, featuring just five players with first-class experience, finished at 245-7, with the match ending in a draw with Bradley Hope remaining unbeaten on 50.
Pakistan opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq went off the field for treatment after jarring his neck while fielding a ball during the morning session. Although the injury didn’t appear serious, he will be monitored ahead of the first Test, starting on Thursday at the Gabba.
Temperatures soared past 40 degrees on Saturday, and Pakistan made the hottest of starts to the day after declaring on their overnight score.
Jake Carder fell for an 18-ball duck when he chopped Abbas onto his stumps.
And Jayden Goodwin made only six before he edged Musa behind, leaving the home side in early strife.
But the prospects of Pakistan ripping through the rest of the CA XI line-up were thwarted by fighting efforts from Merlo and Spoors.
The brave display was in stark contrast to the powerful Australia ‘A’ outfit who were rolled by Pakistan for 122 earlier this week at the Perth Stadium.
That performance sent a powerful message to Australia about the talent of Pakistan’s pace attack.
But they weren’t able to back it up with a glut of wickets against the CA XI.
Nasim Shah, the 16-year-old fast bowler who had been likened to Dennis Lillee, unleashed some ferocious bouncers on Saturday but wasn’t able to snare a wicket.
He finished with 0-58 from 12 overs.
But Abbas (2-22 from 14 overs) was excellent, while Musa (2-32 from 14 overs) was economical.
Both Imran Khan, who snared 5-32 against Australia ‘A’, and 19-year-old Shaheen Shah Afridi didn’t bowl in the second warm-up match.
Stand-in skipper Asad Shafiq’s unbeaten 101 was the highlight of day one, with teenage leg-spinner Lloyd Pope (5-100) also impressing.
PAKISTAN (1st Innings):
Imam-ul-Haq c Perry b Pope 44
Abid Ali c Doran b Grant 0
Shan Masood c Pope b Oakley 76
Haris Sohail c Goodwin b Pope 2
M. Rizwan c Spoors b Pope 22
Asad Shafiq not out 101
Babar Azam c Hope b Pope 63
Iftikhar Ahmed c Doran b Pope 5
Kashif Bhatti not out 56
EXTRAS (LB-16, W-1) 17
TOTAL (for seven wkts decl, 90 overs) 386
FALL OF WKTS: 1-2, 2-72, 3-80, 4-120, 5-164, 6-281, 7-291.
DID NOT BAT: Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Nasim Shah, Mohammad Musa Khan.
BOWLING: Perry 13-3-48-0; Grant 14-2-67-1 (1w); Hope 10-2-32-0; Oakley 13-4-44-1; Merlo 7-0-28-0; Pope 24-3-100-5; O’Connell 8-0-48-0; Drew 1-0-3-0.
CRICKET AUSTRALIA XI (st Innings):
J.M. Carder b Abbas 0
J. Goodwin c Rizwan b Musa 6
M. Spoors c Asad b Musa 58
J.A. Merlo c Rizwan b Yasir 78
J.R. Doran c Rizwan b Abbas 3
B.M. Hope not out 50
D.R. Drew c Asad b Kashif 15
T.L. O’Connell lbw b Iftikhar 8
M. Perry not out 22
EXTRAS (B-2, W-2, NB-2) 6
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 79.5 overs) 246
FALL OF WKTS: 1-2, 2-6, 3-128, 4-140, 5-165, 6-194, 7-209.
DID NOT BAT: T. Oakley, D.M.K. Grant, L. Pope.
BOWLING: Mohammad Abbas 14-5-22-2 (1w); Mohammad Musa Khan 14-6-32-2 (1w); Nasim Shah 12-1-58-0 (2nb); Kashif Bhatti 22-2-72-1; Yasir Shah 12-1-39-1; Iftikhar Ahmed 5.5-0-21-1.
RESULT: Match drawn.
UMPIRES: N.R. Johnstone and C.A. Polosak.
MATCH REFEREE: R.W. Stratford.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019