KARACHI: Openers Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam earned plaudits for a rare century stand as Pakistan took firm hold of proceedings on day one of their first-ever day-night Test at the Dubai Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Pakistan, playing in their 400th Test, were on top right from the moment skipper Misbahul Haq won the toss and opted to bat first as the openers continued to pile on the runs at a slow but steady rate.
“It’s a great start for Pakistan,” former chief selector Mohsin Khan told The Express Tribune. “If they manage to score more than 400 then that will bring the West Indies under some real pressure. Both Azhar and Aslam were flawless.”
Future looks pink for Pakistan’s ball-makers
Despite the impressive start afforded to Pakistan by the openers, Mohsin felt the hosts should have given an opportunity to Ahmad Shahzad or Khurram Manzoor at the top of the innings.
“They should be preparing for tough forthcoming series against New Zealand and Australia,” he said. “The UAE series is the best time to give confidence to other potential openers as Azhar has enough experience and could have batted at one-down.”
The former Test opener lauded the management’s decision to hand middle-order batsman Babar Azam and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz Test debuts.
“Coach Mickey Arthur is doing a good job in giving chances to promising youngsters,” he said.
Refined pink ball provides renewed optimism
Giving his initial assessment over the pink ball Test, Mohsin said: “I don’t see any problems. A lot has been said that batsmen struggle to see the ball under lights. But visibility didn’t seem to be an issue.”
Another former cricketer, Haroon Rasheed, however, said that the assessment of the pink ball cannot be given on the basis of the Dubai pitch.
“A lot of players complained about visibility during Quaid-e-Azam trophy matches before but the batsmen obviously are not facing those in this Test because it’s a docile pitch in Dubai,” said Rasheed.
However, Rasheed, did heap praise on the openers.
“Aslam is again proving he is a fine player with a good technique,” he said. “The best thing about him is he is not giving chances to the bowlers and judging deliveries very well. On the other hand, Azhar now has good experience and they can form a good pair at the top for Pakistan.”
‘Pink ball easier than red ball’
Manzoor, who became the first Pakistani to score more than 250 runs with the pink ball in an innings during a Quaid-e-Azam
Trophy match last week, endorsed the pink-ball experiment.
“There are some visibility problems in the beginning. But if you stay at the crease for some time it becomes easy to spot the ball,” he said. “I found the pink ball easier than the red ball as it provides less swing to the bowlers.”
Manzoor did admit though that the fielders also faced problem seeing the pink ball under lights.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2016.
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Courtesy : Express Tribune