Asad Shafiq, Yasir Shah add valuable runs after familiar collapse
It was always going to be a tough battle at Brisbane; the venue where Australia has been undefeated since 1988. Pakistani Captain Azhar Ali’s brave decision to bat first proved correct as the openers played the first session without getting dismissed. However, it was the second session where things went sideways as middle-order collapse dented Pakistan. It was Asad Shafiq’s courageous knock that saved Pakistan from embarrassment, as he continued his good form, unlike Babar Azam.
Middle-order collapse because of middle-order shuffle
There was no need for the Captain or the Coach to shuffle the already-set batting order. In-form Babar Azam was set at number 3, Haris at number 4 and Asad Shafiq at 5, with Iftikhar and Rizwan coming in later. However, by sending Haris before Babar and Asad before Babar didn’t make things right as they both failed with the bat. Iftikhar was unlucky as he fell to a good ball, while Rizwan’s innings ended due to a bad decision. Pat Cummins’ foot was over the line when he delivered the ball yet the third umpire gave the bowler the benefit of doubt. He was batting well at 37 and had he been declared not out, things would surely have been different.
Asad Shafiq saves the day with an impressive knock
The last time Pakistan went to Australia, Asad Shafiq nearly won the match for his side with a century. Three years later he is still the mainstay of Pakistan’s batting, scoring 76 valuable runs against a quality pace attack. He added 84 runs for the seventh wicket with Yasir Shah and then tried to keep the scoreboard moving. However, his innings was cut short by Pat Cummins who bowled him for 76, and with him went down Pakistan’s hopes. He was one of the five batsmen to score in double figures, with Captain Azhar Ali (39), Mohammad Rizwan (37), Shan Masood (27) and Yasir Shah (26).
Australia to face Naseem Shah first thing on Day 2
Thanks to Mitchell Starc (4 wickets), Pat Cummins (3 wickets) and Josh Hazlewood (2 wickets), Australia managed to dismiss Pakistan for 240 runs. It would be interesting to see how the hosts handle Pakistan’s new-look bowling attack where Mohammad Abbas is missing and Imran Khan will be leading in his absence. Sixteen-year-old Naseem Shah would, however, be under the spotlight for he has impressed all with his bowling; how he manages to perform on debut is what will determine his future.
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