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Ominous signs for Australia as Pakistan right on top in tour match
Match Report

Ominous signs for Australia as Pakistan right on top in tour match

Apart from Cameron Bancroft from Australia A, no batter from the hosts stood up and grabbed the opportunity to emphatically press their case forward to make the cut for the upcoming two Tests against Pakistan. The new ball jagged prodigiously as Imran Khan made a roaring comeback in the longer format. He bagged a sensational fifer and took the wind out of Australia's sails. Shaheen Afridi complemented him well with a wicket, keeping things tight from the other end. 

Iftikhar Ahmed rolled his arm for only four overs in his first spell and got the prized scalps of Usman Khawaja and Travis Head to send the home team reeling at 4/40. Yasir Shah joined the party and got the wicket of tail-ender Sean Abbot. Although, there wasn't much spin on offer yet the spin duo still managed to extract sufficient turn to suffocate the batters. 

Imran Khan's fifer is a welcoming sign for the visitors - who have an inexperienced bowling attack after Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir took early retirements from the longer format. Imran hit the hard lengths and got the ball to nibble away, creating all sorts of problems for the batsmen. Alex Carey, captaining the side, chopped it back onto the stumps on a duck as he was unable to negotiate with the ripper from the bowling spearhead.

It didn't look like Imran was coming back after a long hiatus as he last played in 2017 in Sydney where he got two wickets in the first innings and remained wicketless in the second innings of the third Test. Today, he was running in hard, hitting the right areas and reaping the rewards for a clinical bowling display. He will be joined by Mohammad Abbas who is a tailor-made paceman for red and pink-ball cricket.

In the morning session, Pakistan consolidated their strong position by adding 92 more runs to put up a colossal first innings total of 428. Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq retired out at 157* and 119* and made way for lower middle-order batsmen to spend some time in the middle. 

Yasir Shah hung around for a quickfire half-century and he was well supported by Shaheen who scored 25 in his brief and breezy innings. Meanwhile, Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan couldn't get much batting practice as they departed within single figures. 

Australia showed some fightback in their reply as Bancroft absorbed pressure after the epic collapse and Riley Meredith fended 79 deliveries. The ball got softer and the conditions eased down for the last batting pair who showed dogged resistance before Shaheen hurled a jaffa in the corridor and found Bancroft's outside edge as he departed on 49.

Rizwan got a bruise on his finger during his wicket-keeping duties and was replaced by Abid Ali in the 41 over. Pakistan came out to bat in the dying hours of the second day of the tour game and didn't lose any wicket in the three overs but they will be tested tomorrow with the new ball.

Nasim Shah didn't come out to bat and may not play in the practice game, understandably so, due to the tragic loss of his mother yesterday. The 16-year-old is mourning and players from both teams wore black armbands as a kind gesture to express their sympathies for Nasim's loss.