Pakistan’s Australia tour gets off to shaky start

Pakistan lost six wickets in the final session under lights.

By: AP | Cairns (australia) | Updated: December 8, 2016 7:22 pm
pink-ball759 Pakistan’s bowlers got their side back in the match, taking four wickets for just three runs in three overs at the start of the Cricket Australia XI innings. (Source: AP)

Pakistan’s cricket tour of Australia got off to a shaky start Thursday when the visitors were all out for 208 on the first day of a three-day tour match against a Cricket Australia XI.

Playing with a near full-strength lineup and with a pink ball in the day-night match in preparation for the first test on Dec. 15 in Brisbane – also a day-night encounter – Pakistan lost six wickets in the final session under lights.

But Pakistan’s bowlers got their side back in the match, taking four wickets for just three runs in three overs at the start of the Cricket Australia XI innings. Mohammad Amir swung the ball back to claim wickets on the first two balls of the innings and another in his second over, while Rahat Ali also took a wicket.

Cricket Australia XI bowler Cameron Valente claimed four wickets, including three of Pakistan’s top six.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors fell to 50-3 midway through the opening session, and wickets went down steadily from there.

Only veteran Younis Khan offered sustained resistance, facing 138 balls before he inside-edged a ball from Ryan Lees that swung back slightly under lights to be caught behind for 54. He was the only Pakistan batsman to reach 50.

Earlier Thursday, Pakistan officials said uncapped 17-year-old left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar would join the team as a backup for injured legspinner Yasir Shah. Shah is doubtful for the first test following a back injury which also ruled him out of the Cairns match.

Asghar has taken 68 wickets in 17 first-class matches since making his debut in 2014.

Shah had been pivotal to Pakistan’s success in test matches for the last two years, taking 116 wickets in only 20 tests.

Pakistan has never won a test series in Australia, winning just four of 32 test matches since its first visit in 1964.

Australia has won just one of its past five tests. The home side is coming off consecutive one-day international wins over New Zealand to clinch that three-match series ahead of the final match Friday in Melbourne.

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