LEICESTER: Pakistan bowlers struggled against County Championship Division Two side Leicestershire as the two-day warm-up tour match ended in a draw at Grace Road.
The tourists declared overnight on 321 runs for 9 wickets, giving their bowlers a day of practice against the County Championship Division Two side at Grace Road. In reply, the hosts reached 226 for 6 wickets in 75 overs before the two sides shook hands on a draw.
Having picked up a hard-fought five-wicket win against Ireland in their opponent’s maiden Test match last week, Pakistan rotated their side to face Leicestershire, giving players a last chance to impress ahead of the two-Test series versus England. After Fakhar Zaman and Usman Salahuddin took their opportunities with the bat yesterday, scoring 71 and 69 respectively, it was the turn of the bowlers on Sunday. With M Amir rested, it fell to Hasan Ali to take the initiative.
Although Leicestershire have struggled in Division Two this season, winning one of their opening four games, the Foxes’ batsmen put on a decent show. The openers saw off the opening bowlers, reaching 51/0 before leg-spinner Shadab Khan (2/32) trapped Sam Evans lbw for 22.
Medium-pacer Saad Ali then had fellow opener Harry Dearden caught by Sami Aslam for 19 as Leicestershire reached lunch on 57/2. Hasan Ali bowled with brisk pace, but it was Shadab who struck next, having Lewis Hill caught for 33. Leicestershire’s batsmen went into their shells to get to tea on 137/3, but Ateeq Javid upped the scoring after the resumption to reach 54 from 144 balls before retiring.
M Abbas had Luke Wells caught by Zaman for 25 and Aadil Ali (41) was stumped off the bowling of Zaman shortly after to end the wicket-taking. With Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali and Faheem Ashraf all going wicketless it was far from a perfect day in the field for Pakistan, with no bowler really pressing their case for selection on Thursday. Amir was struggling with injury during the final day against Ireland, meaning Pakistan may be forced to select a different fast bowler. Pakistan, who are seventh in the ICC Test rankings, will now face England at Lord’s on May 24, before travelling to Headingley on June 1 to play the second and final Test.