KARACHI: Despite claiming a wicket off the first ball of the day’s play, Pakistan A bowlers were unable to grab the initiative as day two of their four-day tour match against Australians ended on an even keel.
Pakistan A opted not to bat on the second day, and instead declared on their post-stumps total of 305-8, perhaps to take advantage of some early morning swing in Sharjah.
The decision was soon justified as Pakistan A went off to a dream start with the ball as Muhammad Talha trapped left-hander Chris Rogers in front of the stumps on the first ball of the Australian innings.
Rahat Ali then accounted for Phil Hughes to have both openers back in the pavilion with the score at just 37. Captain Michael Clarke, returning to the side after being injured for the ODI series, was unable to mark his return in style as he was caught at point off Ehsan Adil’s bowling on 10 after cutting on the up.
The Australians were struggling at 58-3, but Steven Smith and Alex Doolan made a strong case for selection in the upcoming Tests by putting on a century stand for the fourth wicket.
However, Smith was called back to the pavilion with the score at 164 in order to give the other batsmen a chance with the bat.
Eight runs later, Mitchell Marsh was bowled through the gate by Ataullah on naught to hand the initiative back to Pakistan A. Doolan, however, continued on at the other end to reach his hundred, before he too was asked to retire.
The bowlers continued to bowl at a tight line without looking too threatening, but claimed the wickets of Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle before the end of day’s play to leave the Australians trailing by 32 runs with two wickets still in hand.
With Brad Haddin still on the crease, Pakistan A will be hoping to claim the remaining two wickets as quickly as possible on day three so as to allow the batsmen some invaluable time in the middle.
Pakistan A used eight bowlers but none of them managed to cover themselves in glory, generally struggling to trouble the batsmen on a regular basis. The wickets were shared between six bowlers, all taking a wicket each with Ehsan Adil’s figures of 14-1 in six overs being the pick of the lot, with Rahat Ali also impressing with economical figures of 25-1 in 12 overs.
What would also be worrying for the Pakistan management is the ease with which Doolan and Smith negotiated the bowling once they got set, and would surely have given the Australians a much more commanding position had the pair not been asked to retire.
However, the Australians’ performance would also have failed to please the men from down under as several of their batsmen, including Clarke, got out early and displayed poor technique in their dismissals.
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