Cricket: Everyone’s favourite Australian cricket team, CAXI, have been at it again, putting together a good knock against Pakistan. Things were looking dire for the youngsters early in their innings, but they pulled it back and currently trail by 221 late on day two of their tour match.
Pakistan’s raw pace attack have been given a wake-up call ahead of the Test series against Australia after struggling to fire against a youth-laden Cricket Australia XI outfit.
In reply to Pakistan’s 7(dec)-386, the CA XI were reeling at 2-6 in the two-day tour match at the WACA Ground after Mohammad Abbas and 19-year-old Muhammad Musa struck early in scorching heat on Saturday. But Pakistan struggled to make inroads from that point on, with a 122-run stand between Jonathan Merlo (78) and Matthew Spoors (54no) frustrating the visitors.
The CA XI outfit, which features just five players with first-class experience, went to tea on day two at 4-152. Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq went off the field for treatment after jarring his neck while fielding a ball during the morning session. Although the injury didn’t appear serious, he will be monitored ahead of the first Test at the Gabba, starting next Thursday.
The mercury soared past 40C on Saturday, and Pakistan made the hottest of starts to the day after declaring on their overnight score. Jake Carder fell for an 18-ball duck when he chopped Abbas onto his stumps. And Jayden Goodwin made just six before he edged Musa behind, leaving the home side in early strife. But the prospect of Pakistan ripping through the rest of the CA XI line-up was thwarted by fighting efforts from Merlo and Spoors.
The brave display was in stark contrast to the powerful Australia A outfit who got rolled by Pakistan for 122 at Optus Stadium earlier in the week. That performance sent a powerful message to Australia about the talent of Pakistan’s pace attack, but the visitors weren’t able to back it up with a glut of wickets against the CA XI.
Naseem Shah, a 16-year-old who has been likened to Dennis Lillee, unleashed some ferocious bouncers on Saturday but wasn’t able to snare a wicket during the first two sessions. Abbas (2-22 from 14 overs) was excellent, while Musa (1-24 from 10 overs) was economical.
Imran Khan, who snared 5-32 against Australia A earlier in the week, and 19-year-old Shaheem Afridi are yet to bowl in the warm-up match, with Pakistan rotating through 15 players. Asad Shafiq’s unbeaten 101 was the highlight of day one, with teenage spinner Lloyd Pope (5-100) also impressing.