Pakistan dominate but practice match ends in a draw

Young pacer Naseem Shah was the star of the show on the final day

Pakistan dominate but practice match ends in a draw Photo Courtesy: Cricket Australia

The three-day practice match between Pakistan and Australia A in Perth ended in a draw on Wednesday.

Australia A were 91/2 in their second innings with Usman Khawaja and Travis Head unbeaten on 37 and 13 runs respectively.

The most exciting part of the third day’s play was the fascinating bowling spell of young quick Naseem Shah, which made life difficult for the Aussie batsmen.

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The 16-year-old pushed his case for selection, in the first Test, with a lively bowling performance, which saw him claim the wicket of opener Marcus Harris (20). 

He registered figures of 1/21 in an eight-over long spell, which constantly troubled the batsmen with his pace and bounce. 

The only other Australia A wicket to fall on the day was bagged by Naseem’s fellow pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Earlier, Pakistan resumed their second innings at 7/0, with an overall lead of 313 runs, and called it a day with the bat after reaching 152/3 and stretching their lead to 458 runs.

Opener Shan Masood was dismissed after a well-compiled half-century (65), while middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed, who was sent in to bat ahead of Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq, remained unbeaten on 79 runs off 99 balls.

For Australia, pacer Michael Neser was the pick of the bowlers with 2/11 in an economical spell that lasted eight overs. His scalps included top-order batsman Azhar Ali (1) and Haris Sohail (4).

Australia's hopes of resolving their batting problems in time for the Test series against Pakistan have proved forlorn, with a slew of candidates failing to stake their claim since the Ashes.

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Selectors name the Test squad on Thursday but will have to rely on their gut rather than hard numbers when picking an opening partner for David Warner and filling a middle-order vacancy following the drawn series in England.

The Australia A tour game against Pakistan was to have offered an unofficial audition but all of the hopefuls fluffed their lines on Tuesday barring Cameron Bancroft, who scored 49 as the hosts were bowled out for a paltry 122 in first innings. Opener Bancroft, who was dropped mid-series in England after a string of failures, was only picked in the 'A' team after Nic Maddinson pulled out on mental health grounds and felt his chances of a recall were dim.

Australia's selectors have a far easier job picking the bowling contingent, with pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins fit for the first Test starting in Brisbane on November 21 and certain to be included in the 12-man squad with spinner Nathan Lyon.

Match summary

Toss: Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first

Pakistan 428 and 152/3 (declared)

Australia A 122 and 91/2

Result: Match drawn