Australia A crumbling as Test selection looms, Wustoo

Australia A crumbling as Test selection looms

Babar Azam has reinforced his standing as Pakistan's talisman with a commanding knock in the pink-ball tour match against Australia A in Perth.

Pakistan were 3-196 at dinner on day one of the three-day clash with Babar unbeaten on 81 and Asad Shafiq 56 not out.

A strong Australia A pace attack led by Michael Neser (1-33) and Jhye Richardson (0-33) endured a wicketless afternoon session as Babar, scoring freely on a relatively tame Optus Stadium pitch, continued his sparkling run of form.

Pakistan's T20 skipper reached his fifty off 60 balls with his ninth boundary of the day – a glorious straight drive off the bowling of Sean Abbott.

Australia A crumbling as Test selection looms, Wustoo

Having stamped himself as one of the world's best white-ball batsmen, Babar will be looking to carry his form into the Test arena.

Babar top-scored with 99 when Australia and Pakistan squared off last October in Abu Dhabi, where the hosts won by 373 runs to claim the series.

The right-hander has averaged 53 from his past 11 Test innings including that knock.

Test prospect Riley Meredith earlier continued his impressive form, snaring two wickets after Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat.

Tasmanian speedster Meredith delivered the highlight of Monday's opening session, coming around the wicket to left-hander Shan Masood (22) and sending down a vicious bouncer which the opener fended to Abbott at point.

The day-night match is doubling as a national selection shootout ahead of the first Test at the Gabba starting on November 21, with Travis Head, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Will Pucovski all lining up for Australia A.

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Head is in the box seat to edge out talented youngster Pucovski and fill the middle-order vacancy in Australia's Test side.

Coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns will sit down on Wednesday to pick their squad for the Gabba, with Harris, Khawaja and Burns competing to open the batting alongside David Warner.


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