Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir is expected to be fit for the second Test against Australia beginning Monday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after overcoming knee and thigh soreness.
Amir was taken from the field during last week’s first Test after digging his right knee into the Gabba turf in Brisbane. Batting later in the match won by Australia by 39 runs, Amir was hit by a 152 kilometer-an-hour (94 mph) full toss from Mitchell Starc which left Amir with a bruised thigh.
The left-arm Amir had his knee strapped before bowling in the nets at the MCG on Thursday, but Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower says there are no concerns about his condition.
“There’s quite a bit of bruising on his thigh,” Flower said. “He’s feeling a bit stiff but he’s all right. I think our attack will probably be the same.”
Tensions between Amir and Starc had been simmering throughout the innings before the delivery, which led to a heated exchange between the pair.
“There was just a bit of banter going on. Just the usual,” Flower said. “I don’t think there was anything over the top. There were a couple of strong words exchanged but that’s part of the game.”
Pakistan is also hoping for a better performance from captain Misbah ul-Haq after the 42-year-old failed with the bat in both innings – scoring just 4 and 5 – in Brisbane.
“He is going through a bit of a trot but he’s been through these periods before and he’s a class player,” Flower said. “He’s got the mental strength and resilience to come back and I’m sure a good innings is just around the corner.”
Australia barely hung on for the Gabba win, giving Pakistan hope for the Melbourne match and a third Test to follow in Sydney beginning Jan. 3.
At Brisbane on the fifth day, Asad Shafiq led the Pakistan tail-enders from 173-5 to 449-8 in pursuit of the improbable target of 490, scoring 137 from 207 balls before he was caught at gully.
Four balls and one run later, skipper Steve Smith threw down the stumps from second slip to run out Yasir Shah for 33. That ensured Australia maintained its unbeaten at the Gabba since 1988.