Imran Khan makes his case for Pakistan Test selection with five-wicket haul against Australia A

Waseem Ahmed 16:25 12/11/2019
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5-32 for Imran Khan in Pakistan's warm-up game.

After a commanding batting display led by Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq, a five-wicket haul by pacer Imran Khan helped Pakistan rattle Australia A in the day-night warm-up clash in Perth.

Unbeaten tons from Babar and Shafiq on the opening day in Perth, had seen the visitors post 428-9 in their first innings with leg-spinner Yasir Shah chipping in with a half-century.

On the second day, it was 32-year-old Imran Khan who was the star for Pakistan as they sent a home side containing many Australia Test hopefuls packing for just 122 runs in reply.

Imran picked up 5-32 with his medium pace while Cameron Bancroft top-scored for Australia with a 49-run knock. Bancroft was the last batsman to be dismissed with Shaheen Afridi finding his outside edge to end the Australia A innings.

He was one of two wickets captured by 19-year-old Afridi who had earlier castled opener Marcus Harris’ stumps with a peach of a delivery. All-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed’s off-spin fetched the big wickets of Usman Khawaja and Travis Head, who both had disappointing outings in their audition for the first Test in Brisbane.

Earlier, 16-year-old Pakistan pacer was given the day off by the team management following the tragic personal loss of his mother back home. Both teams sported black armbands in support of the bereaved teenager who has been called up to the Pakistan squad for the first time.

Shah is one of three teenage pacers in the Pakistan Test squad with Afridi and Muhammad Musa Khan being the other two. While the attention has very much been on Pakistan’s young pace trio, the second day clearly belonged to veteran Imran who was a surprise call up to the Test outfit.

He picked up a wicket with his very first delivery by dislodging the stumps of opener Joe Burns. Imran later accounted for young Australia batting talent Will Pucovski and Australia A skipper Alex Carey, as the hosts were reduced to 44-6.

He completed a five-for soon enough after dismissing tailenders Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson.

With his excellent pink-ball display, the right-armed pacer is now in firm contention to feature for Pakistan in the first Test which begins at the Gabba on November 21.

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