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Sport Pakistan 3-336 against Australia A at stumps on day one of day-night tour match in Perth

11:55  12 november  2019
11:55  12 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Babar Azam led the way in an unbroken 276-run partnership with Asad Shafiq for Pakistan against Australia A. © ABC News Babar Azam led the way in an unbroken 276-run partnership with Asad Shafiq for Pakistan against Australia A.

The Australian team may be warm favourites for the upcoming Test series against Pakistan, but they have been given a reminder that the men in green have a real dangerman in Babar Azam.

A 276-run partnership between Azam and Asad Shafiq has given the side a boost on day one of its three-day tour match against Australia A in Perth.

Pakistan's batsmen struggled in the recent T20 international series against Australia, and the visitors needed to find some form as they switched to the longer game ahead of the first Test in Brisbane on November 21.

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Babar Azam has reinforced his standing as Pakistan 's talisman, scoring a commanding unbeaten century in the pink-ball tour match against Australia A in Perth . Test stalwart Asad Shafiq also reached triple figures before Pakistan went to stumps at 3 - 336 on day one of the three- day clash.

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The signs were not great early as skipper Azhar Ali was back in the pavilion for 11, bowled by Michael Neser, then fellow paceman Riley Meredith struck twice, removing Shan Masood and Haris Sohail to leave Pakistan at 3-60.

But that was as good as it got for Australia A.

Azam came to the crease and showed his intent with consecutive fours off Meredith to start his innings — although the second of those deliveries nearly undid him, as he glanced it down the leg side and keeper Alex Carey only got a fingertip to it.

He and Shafiq got through to tea unscathed on 3-95, but the next two sessions were definitely Pakistan's.

A strong Australia A pace attack led by Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson toiled as Babar (157 not out) and Shafiq (119 not out) piled on a huge unbeaten partnership.

The hosts weren't helped by a pink Kookaburra ball which quickly lost its hardness and didn't offer much even under lights on a tame Perth Stadium pitch.

Second ball aside, it was a chanceless and masterful knock by Azam, highlighted by the frequent use of a beautifully timed straight drive.

Pakistan's T20 skipper reached his century off just 126 balls and had plundered 24 boundaries by the time he walked off the ground.

"He's an exceptionally good player," Australia Test hopeful Travis Head said.

"He's obviously translated that (white-ball) form nicely today.

"We'll think of some plans over the next couple of days and the next couple of weeks, I guess, for the guys playing the first Test against him."

Having stamped himself as one of the world's best white-ball batsmen, Babar will be looking to carry his sparkling form into the Test arena.

Babar top-scored with 99 when Australia and Pakistan squared off last October in Abu Dhabi, where the hosts won by 373 runs to claim the series.

The right-hander has averaged 53 from his past 11 Test innings including that knock.

Riley Meredith took two early scalps for Australia A, but he went for 73 runs off his 12 overs against Pakistan. © ABC News Riley Meredith took two early scalps for Australia A, but he went for 73 runs off his 12 overs against Pakistan.

Tasmanian speedster Meredith delivered the highlight of Monday's opening session, coming around the wicket to left-hander Masood and sending down a vicious bouncer which the opener fended to Abbott at point.

Like the rest of the Australia A attack, Meredith took some tap after snaring his wickets, ending up with figures of 12 overs, 2-73.

The day-night match is doubling as a national selection shootout ahead of the first Test, with Head, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Will Pucovski all lining up for Australia A.

Head appears likely to edge out talented youngster Pucovski and fill the middle-order vacancy in Australia's Test side.

Coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns will sit down on Wednesday to pick their squad for the Gabba, with Harris, Khawaja and Burns competing to open the batting alongside David Warner.

ABC/AAP

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