Watson and Haddin put Australia back on track

Australia A 5 for 307 (Watson 72*, Haddin 68*, Cosgrove 61, Jaques 60) v Pakistan A

Australia A began well, slipped up for a brief period, and came back strongly to take the first day's honours against Pakistan A at Darwin. Thanks to fifties from Phil Jaques, Mark Cosgrove, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson, the hosts finished the day on 5 for 307.

Despite the loss of Chris Rogers for 9, Jaques and Cosgrove put on a fine 117-run stand on a seaming pitch. Though the ball moved around, Jaques and Cosgrove were in fine form and their association promised much more before Cosgrove held out to Mohammad Khalil in the deep off Mohammad Hafeez for 61 shortly after lunch. Jaques departed soon after, bowled by Hafeez's part-time offspin for 60. The slide ensued, with Pakistan hitting back with the wickets of Brad Hodge, the Test discard, and Travis Birt, caught at bat-pad for 0 off Adbur Rehman, the slow left-arm spinner.

Going into tea on 5 for 187, Australia were given a consolidating hand by Haddin and Watson. The final session was entirely Australia's as Watson and his captain, who struck consecutive fifties against this same opposition and New Zealand A before this match, buckled down and tormented the bowling. Watson finished the day on 72 from 140 deliveries and Haddin 68 from 118, and the duo have so far combined for 141runs.

For Pakistan, Hafeez finished the day with figures of 2 for 52, while Rehman bagged 2 for 70. Neither of these sides faced off in the 50 and 20-over clashes that were staged at this venue, but Australia have begun the face-off well.

Jaques, glad to have gotten solid batting time after a poor run in the one-day games, said the team was hoping to build a strong lead tomorrow. "The boys recovered really, really well," he told AAP. "We got off to a reasonable start I guess and just lost our way a little bit in the middle, but the boys recovered really well at the end. Brad and Shane just batted outstanding so we are sitting pretty at the minute and hopefully we can get off to a good start in the morning and get a big score on the board."