Team Green 113 and 133 for 3 (Masood 49) lead Team White 198 (Alam 43, Naseem 4-53) by 48 runs
Pakistan’s frontline pace attack impressed on the third day of the final scheduled intra-squad match at the Incora County Ground in Derby. Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah each took three wickets while Mohammad Abbas bowled throughout the morning and conceded only 20 runs.
It was encouraging for the tourists, 10 days out from the first Test against England, although question marks over the batting remain with Abid Ali and captain Azhar Ali failing for a second time in the match. Fawad Alam top scored with 43 for Team White who led by 85 after being bowled out for 198. At the close, Team Green were 133 for 3, 48 in front.
After losing all but seven overs of day two, it was a relief for the tourists to see patches of blue sky over the ground when play began on time with Abbas embarking on an unbroken spell of 12 overs. The former Leicestershire fast bowler gave an object lesson in control with his relentless accuracy contributing to the success of Naseem and Afridi.
His one wicket came when Alam, who is a candidate for next week’s opening Test, was beaten by a full-length swinging delivery that plucked out middle stump.
Abbas was certainly the pick of the attack with Naseem and Afridi both struggling with their line at times although they were better after lunch when the innings quickly folded.
Naseem got through the defences of Kashif Bhatti and Usman Shinwari who were both undone by swing while late away movement found the edge of Sohail Khan’s bat. Imran Khan clipped Afridi to short midwicket leaving Imam-ul-Haq, who retired hurt when he was hit on the left hand on day one, unbeaten on 41 from 140 balls which could make a case for his inclusion at Manchester.
Certainly openers Abid Ali and Shan Masood have looked far from convincing in this game with both missing out on a big score to cement their place following first-innings failures.
Abid, who made one on the first day, faced 42 balls for 16 but in the last over before tea, fell across the crease and was lbw to Faheem Ashraf. Masood was badly dropped at second slip off Sohail on 28, one of a number of catches that have gone down in the cordon in this game, but was bowled by Imran, one away from a half century.
That brought together the tourists’ best two batsmen who had both made runs in last week’s warm-up match with Azhar scoring a century and Babar Azam 58. But they had made only 38 between them in this game so it was important they spent time in the middle and both applied themselves after tea.
They added 55 in 22 overs with few problems and were close to seeing out the day until Azhar played only half forward to Sohail and was lbw for 28 from 91 balls.
At stumps, Azam was unbeaten on 25 and will look to make a significant score on the last day although the forecast is for more rain in Derby on Monday.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.