ISLAMABAD, Mar 04 (Alliance News): Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam vowed to give tough time to Australia and Green-shirts proved it by dominating the visitors on day one of the first Test at Pindi Stadium Rawalpindi on Friday.
The Rawalpindi Test saw the historic return of the Australian team to Pakistan after a gap of 24 years, with packed crowd in the Stadium, clapping and cheering for the visitors. The cricket lovers were more than happy to see the Kangaroos play their first Test in Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, after winning the toss, Pakistan chose to bat and were able to empower Aussies on day one as the Pakistani batters reached stumps at 245 for 1.
It was the first time that Pakistan had lost only one wicket in an entire day of a Test against Australia when batting first.
Openers Abdullah Shafuque and Imam ul Haq were able to give a century stand to Pakistan by providing a 105 runs partnership to the first wicket. Australia did the magic just minutes before lunch, as Shafique’s impetuous charge to Lyon resulted in the stand being broken.
Spinner Nathan Lyon struck for Australia in the 34th over of the game, taking the first wicket (Shafique) of Pakistan. Shafique tried to hit the ball but went on a wild heave skying over Lyon’s head and was taken by Australian Skipper Pat Cummins. Shafique was gone for 44 runs on 105 balls (3 fours & a six). Pakistani batters reached 50 runs in 18 overs while 100 in the 33rd over.
After Shafique’s loss, Pakistani batters did not lose their temperament and continued strong. Imam carried on the rhythm along with Azhar Ali who came one down. They both provided a 140 runs partnership to the second wicket on day one.
Imam scored his first test century in the 66th over on 200 balls and ended up making 132 runs on 271 balls, on day one, with 15 fours and 2 sixes.
Pakistan reached 200 runs in the 70th over of the game while Azhar’s 35th Test half-century came in the 74th over. The new ball was taken by Australia in the 83rd over but Pakistani batters stood strong to reach the stumps. Azhar scored 64 runs on 165 balls at the end of the 90th over. A total of 26 boundaries were hit on day one of the first Test.
Speaking after the match, Imam said there was a pattern in which he tried to score runs and he had a plan for playing against Lyon. “I had played against him in Dubai as well, he’s a quality bowler and as an opener I was trying to avoid the short balls and stay in my zone,” he said in the post day one presser.
To a question on playing Test after more than two years, he said it was difficult as there was ODI cricket going on.
“You can’t play without belief which I had and you have to take all these challenges. Fawad Alam is an example for me who made a comeback in Test after so many years.”
Imam said my parents would be more than happy if they had seen my batting. “The feeling I had today after scoring my first Test century and against Australia was different”.
“Will come on day two, it’ll be a new day and will start my innings and will try to contribute as much as I can,” he said and added that Azhar supported him very much in the innings and gave him confidence on scoring the century.
Interim coach Andrew McDonald said it was a tough day for the bowlers, but the game cannot be judged in terms of selection on day one.