KARACHI: Shan Masood has a point to prove. Brought in as captain for the highly challenging tour of Australia, the left-handed batter faces an uphill task.
On Wednesday, he made a perfect start to the challenge by hitting an unbeaten 156 in Pakistan’s tour opener -- a four-day game against the Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval in Canberra -- making it clear that he and his team won’t be mere push-overs for the home team in the upcoming three-Test series.
Shan registered his 25th first-class century to start off his maiden tour as Pakistan’s captain, taking his team to 324-6 after 89.4 overs on the first day of the practice game.
Right-arm pacer Jordan Buckingham struck early to dismiss opening batter Imam-ul-Haq (9, 24b, 1x4) after Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Shan came to bat at the conclusion of the eighth over of the innings, with Pakistan 18-1. The 34-year-old weaved a brilliant undefeated knock of 156 from 235 deliveries, including 13 boundaries and a six, ensuring Pakistan remain in reach of an impressive total in the first innings. He was the top-scorer for the side and successfully held one end throughout the day while six wickets fell on the other end.
Shan had joined opening batter Abdullah Shafique (38, 76b, 1x4) on the crease. The two stitched a 58-run stand before the latter was caught at short cover after mistiming a length ball delivered by Steketee. Babar Azam then batted together with Shan to add 92 runs to the total. Buckingham struck again to take Pakistan’s most prized wicket as Babar walked back to the pavilion after scoring 40 from 88, including five fours.
The next batter in, Saud Shakeel (13, 35b, 1x4), failed to stay on the crease for too long as he fell victim to off-spinner Todd Murphy. Wicketkeeper-batter Sarfaraz Ahmed produced a brisk 41 from 47, studded with six boundaries before he was caught off Buckingham’s bowling. The partnership between Shan and Sarfaraz yielded a total of 73 runs for the fifth wicket.
Faheem Ashraf (17, 35b, 1x4) was the last batter to fall today as Pakistan ended the day at 324-6 after batting for 89.4 overs.
Scores in brief:
Pakistan 324-6, 89.4 overs (Shan Masood 156 not out, Sarfaraz Ahmed 41, Babar Azam 40, Abdullah Shafique 38; Jordan Buckingham 3-63, Mark Steketee 1-43, Nathan McAndrew 1-55, Todd Murphy 1-90).