Leicester - Pakistan opener Azhar Ali found some runs on Saturday in a two-day warm-up match against Leicestershire, ahead of a two-Test series against England.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first Pakistan finished the day one on 321-9 in 89.5 overs. Uncapped player Usman Salahuddin was unbeaten on 69. He played brilliantly with tail to add another 114 runs to Pakistan tally as Pakistan lost five wickets for 207 before tea break.

Pakistan rested Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq and M Amir for the warm match while Fakhar Zaman, Sami Aslam, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali and Hassan Aliwere roped in to get some practice to give coaches a fair idea about the selection for the playing XI when Pakistan start two-match Test series against England that starts on Mat 24 at Lord’s.

The format of the practice match is two innings per side, with the side batting first in the first innings allowed to face a maximum of 100 overs of bowling. But it seemed unlikely that a fragile Pakistan batting line-up would consume the whole 100-over quota for their innings. Half the Pakistan team went back to pavilion before Tea break.

Azhar made a patient 73 off 127 balls including 13 boundaries before bein bowled out by Klein. It was a welcome innings for both Azhar and Pakistan as Pakistan’s most experienced and reliable batsman was so far struggling with the bat and his form would be crucial for Pakistan chances against England. His opening partner Fakhar Zaman also excelled with bat by scoring 71 off 98 deliveries including 14 boundaries. Both the openers put up a rare 121 runs partnership for Pakistan in just 28.2 overs before Fakhar fell to Wells. Sami Aslam once again failed with the bat as he was out after scoring just eight runs. Captain Sarfraz’ struggle with the bat also continued as he succumbed to Javid after scoring only 17 runs.

Sarfraz’ dip in form is really a matter of great concern for Pakistan as he is famous for his exploits in the middle in longer version of the game and his quick runs could change the complexion of the game. Sarfraz is also struggling behind the stumps as well as he dropped three catches in Ireland’s second innings against Pakistan. As Sarfraz is the captain of the team and also Pakistan have no back-up wicketkeeper as well in the squad his form and fitness is key to Pakistan’s success.

Uncapped player Saad Ali, who has been added to the team for his to performance in Pakistan’s recently concluding first class season, also failed miserably in his first outing as he could score just two runs.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS:

Azhar Ali b Klein 73

Fakhar Zaman c Javid b Wells 71

Sami Aslam b Klein 8

Usman Salahuddin not out 69

Sarfraz Ahmed c Hill b Javid 17

Saad Ali c & b Ali 2

Shadab Khan b Wells 17

Faheem Ashraf c Wells b Javid 15

Hasan Ali run out 5

M Abbas c Hill b Ali 16

EXTRAS: (b4, lb8, nb9, w7) 28

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 89.5 overs) 321

FOW: 1-121, 2-156, 3-176, 4-199, 5-207, 6-245, 7-267, 8-272, 9-321

BOWLING: D Klein 18-3-44-2, T Taylor 17-2-49-0, R Jones 13-1-73-0, T Wells 14-3-45-2, A Javid 15-3-42-2, B Mike 7-1-28-0, A Ali 5.5-0-28-2

TOSS: Pakistan

UMPIRES: Chris Watts, Peter Hartley