Australia XI vs Pakistan
The Pakistan fast bowlers completed the demolition job they had begun on the first night, dismissing Cricket Australia XI for 114, but their batsmen stumbled once again against the pink ball under lights in Cairns. The visitors ended the day on 5 for 124 in their second innings, ahead by 218 runs.
CA XI had begun the second day on 4 for 3, and had little respite from a three-pronged pace attack. Mohammad Amir did not add to the three wickets he took on the first day, but Rahat Ali picked up two more to finish with three as well, as did Wahab Riaz who razed the lower order. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz bowled only five overs and did not take a wicket. CA XI were shot out in 39.1 overs, having conceded a first-innings lead of 94.
In their last competitive innings before the day-night Test against Australia in Brisbane from December 15, Pakistan lost Sami Aslam and Babar Azam cheaply once again. They were out for 12 and 22, falling to fast bowler Mark Steketee. Opener Azhar Ali held one end up with an unbeaten 44 off 153 balls, but Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq made fleeting visits to the crease.
Azhar added 45 for the fifth wicket with Shafiq, who was dismissed late in the day.
Wahab said at the end of the day that he deemed this pitch was on the slower side. “It’s summer here, which is why I feel the wicket is on the slower side. I had to see how the pitch was behaving [at the start of my spell]. It wasn’t doing much and was on the slower side. There wasn’t much bounce and carry, but I managed to do what I do and bowl fast. But the ball travels well under lights. There’s swing and seam and carry through to the keeper.”
He played down questions about Pakistan’s scoring rate by saying that it was a welcome sign that the batsmen were spending time in the middle.
“It’s good that the batsmen are taking their time. This is what we’ve lacked in the last two-three Tests. Our batsmen have not been staying in for a long time. They’re getting starts but no one has been converting them to big scores. So I think it’s good that they’re taking time and have confidence before going into the Test series. Run rate doesn’t matter as much as the confidence they’re getting.”—AFP