Monday, 29 November 2021

Azhar Ali leads good batting show against England


LONDON: It’s the last outing for the visiting Pakistanis before the two-Test series in England, and they went quite well on the first day of the two-day fixture against Leicestershire at Grace Road, scoring 321/9 by close of play.

Stumps were called when No.10 batsman Mohammad Abbas fell to Aadil Ali, the off-spinner, on the fifth ball of the 90th over of the day. That left Usman Salahuddin, who has turned out in two one-day internationals but no Test cricket yet, unbeaten on 69 with last man Rahat Ali yet to walk out.

Earlier, Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bat, and then watched from the dressing room as Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman, the openers, put together 121 runs for the first wicket. Both batsmen scored half-centuries, Zaman the quicker of the two before he fell for 71 off 98 balls, caught off Tom Wells, the right-arm medium pacer.

Sami Aslam didn’t last long, and Ali was bowled soon after for 73, scored in over three hours off 127 balls, by Dieter Klein, the South African left-arm paceman who had also accounted for Aslam.

That left the scoreboard reading 176/3, and though there were no other significant contributions apart from Salahuddin’s half-century, Pakistan still managed to get past 300 comfortably. Ahmed (17), Shadab Khan (17) and Faheem Ashraf (15) partnered Salahuddin in key partnerships, and Abbas hit a four and a six in his 16 down the order.

For Leicestershire, Klein, Wells, Ateeq Javid and Aadil Ali picked up two wickets each, while Hasan Ali was run out.Pakistan’s first Test against England starts on 24 May at Lord’s, and will be followed by the second game at Headingley from 1 June. Pakistan’s tour had started with a rain-hit four-day game against Kent, which ended in a draw, and another four-day fixture against Northamptonshire, which the visitors won by nine wickets.

They then beat Ireland in Malahide in the home side’s maiden Test match, by five wickets, and will proceed to Scotland to play two Twenty20 Internationals at the end of the England Test series.

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