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Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq centuries headline dominant batting display by Pakistan
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Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq centuries headline dominant batting display by Pakistan

Babar Azam conjured a masterful knock embellished by elegant drives as he stitched an unbeaten 276-run stand with Asad Shafiq to take Pakistan to a commanding 336-3 by the end of the opening day of the three-day tour match against Australia A.

Babar and Shafiq were rarely challenged by the hosts' pace attack that toiled hard all throughout the day to replicate the sparkling start with the new ball.

The worn-out pink Kookaburra ball did not help the bowlers' cause either as they failed to generate extravagant swing on a rather docile Perth pitch.

Babar typically began his innings sprightly with a glorious straight drive fetching him a boundary on the first ball he faced.

Neat punches off the back foot and sumptuous drives on fuller length deliveries then saw him rack up boundaries regularly as he reached the three-figure mark in 126 balls.

The 25-year-old, who has already established his batting credentials in white-ball cricket, settled in the last session to add a further 57 runs to his tally by the close of play.

On the other end, Shafiq's chanceless innings saw him employ a more cautious approach as he waited on the back foot to punish wayward deliveries.

The Test stalwart hit 12 fours in his 245-ball stay at the crease, keeping the scoreboard ticking along at a steady rate.

The 33-year-old showed signs of nervousness after he found himself stranded on 99 for a couple of overs as he made a few erroneous calls for a desperate single only to be sent back in time by Babar.

He finally got to his century by coming down the track off part-timer Travis Head and lofting the ball towards the vacant long-on region to run two.

The duo safely negotiated the last 10 overs under floodlights with the home side choosing to take the new pink cherry instantly after it was made available.

Test hopeful Michael Neser removed Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali early in the day following the latter's decision to bat first.

Haris Sohail's torrid time on the tour continued as Tasmanian speedster Riley Meredith had him edge one behind to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Meredith proceeded to deliver a rapid bouncer that beat opener Shan Masood for pace and rapped his gloves as Sean Abbott pouched the ball.

This was the last moment of joy for the 23-year-old paceman as he frequently erred in his lines and lengths later in the day.

Meredith proved to be costly in his 12 overs, leaking 73 runs while Jhye Richardson and Neser provided some control with economy rates under three.