Pakistan held at bay by CA XI at the WACA

Justin Chadwick
1 / 2

CRICKET AUSTRALIA XI PAKISTAN

Jonathan Merlo made 78 for the CA XI after Pakistan made two early breakthroughs in Perth

Pakistan's raw pace attack have been given a wake-up call ahead of the Test series against Australia after struggling to fire in a stalemate against a youth-laden Cricket Australia XI outfit.

In reply to Pakistan's 7(dec)-386, the CA XI were reeling at 2-6 in the two-day tour match at the WACA Ground, after Mohammad Abbas and 19-year-old Muhammad Musa struck early on Saturday in scorching heat.

But Pakistan struggled to make further inroads, with a 122-run stand between Jonathan Merlo (78) and Matthew Spoors (58) frustrating the visitors.

The CA XI outfit, featuring just five players with first-class experience, finished at 7-245, with the match ending in a draw.

Bradley Hope finished unbeaten on 50.

Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq went off the field for treatment after jarring his neck while fielding a ball during the morning session.

Although the injury didn't appear serious, he will be monitored ahead of the first Test, starting on Thursday at the Gabba.

Temperatures soared past 40C on Saturday, and Pakistan made the hottest of starts to the day after declaring on their overnight score.

Jake Carder fell for an 18-ball duck when he chopped Abbas onto his stumps.

And Jayden Goodwin made only six before he edged Musa behind, leaving the home side in early strife.

But the prospect of Pakistan ripping through the rest of the CA XI line-up were thwarted by fighting efforts from Merlo and Spoors.

The brave display was in stark contrast to the limp effort Australia A produced when they were rolled by Pakistan for 122 earlier this week.

That performance sent a powerful message to Australia's Test team about the talent of Pakistan's pace attack.

But Pakistan weren't able to back it up against the CA XI.

Naseem Shah, a 16-year-old who had been likened to Dennis Lillee, unleashed some ferocious bouncers on Saturday but wasn't able to snare a wicket.

He finished with 0-58 from 12 overs.

Abbas (2-22 from 14 overs) was the standout bowler, while Musa (2-32 from 14 overs) was economical.

Merlo, who was playing at the WACA for the first time, was impressed by Pakistan's bowlers.

"The two young quicks were quite good, especially being 19 and 16," he said.

"They impressed us boys with their sheer pace and raw talent.

"You don't really like it coming at your head, but you get used to it pretty quick."

Both Imran Khan, who snared 5-32 against Australia A, and 19-year-old Shaheen Afridi didn't bowl in the second warm-up match.

Asad Shafiq's unbeaten 101 was the highlight of day one, with teenage spinner Lloyd Pope (5-100) also impressing.