Pakistan batting struggles

Pakistan’s middle-order faltered after the openers started off promisingly, on the rain-affected opening day of their only warm-up match before the first Test, against Board President’s XI in Dharamshala.

Only 2.4 overs of play was possible in the first session, during which it became evident that the pitch was on the slower side, and that the batsmen would have to work hard for the runs. Despite being stiff, the Pakistani openers did a fair job, putting together 54 runs, and that too in quick succession.

However, a collaspe, during which they lost four wickets for a mere 29 runs, saw them reduced to 83 for 4, as the batsmen failed in their prime target for the match, that is spending the time in the middle. It required an important 72-run fifth wicket partnership to provide some credibitlity to Pakistan’s exploits for the day.

The partnership involved the captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Asim Kamal, the wicket-keeper who so conveniently has replaced the ranks of Moin Khan and Rashid Latif, and has made their absence feel negligible. While Kamal managed to battle through till stumps, Inzamam lost his concentration just before play was called off for the day due to bad light, incidentally falling for exactly 35 on his 35th birthday.

Kamal was still there in the middle, looking solid as he has on the opportunities he has received during the past few months, as Pakistan reached 165 for 5, at the close of play, and hoping for a better weather tomorrow to gain some valuable match practice.

Pakistan: 165 for 5 in 45 overs
Taufeeq Umar 37, Inzamam-ul-Haq 35, Asim Kamal 43*, Gagandeep Singh 1/40, SS Paul 1/23, Y Venugopal Rao 1/23

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