Phillip Hughes scored a half-century but Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers missed out on their last chance for some decent time in the middle ahead of the first Test, as Pakistan A wrapped up a 153-run victory in the tour game in Sharjah
Pakistan A 305 for 8 dec (Shafiq 108*) and 306 for 3 dec (Azam 114*, Sohail 103*) beat Australians 273 for 8 dec (Doolan 104) and 185 (Hughes 65, Talha 3-32, Hasan 3-60) by 153 runs Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Phillip Hughes scored a half-century but Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers missed out on their last chance for some decent time in the middle ahead of the first Test, as Pakistan A wrapped up a 153-run victory in the tour game in Sharjah. The result was not so much the issue for the Australians as giving players the chance for some match practice; on that front the last day was disappointing as well.
Mitchell Marsh, who had made a third-ball duck in the first innings, stuck around for 35 from 54 deliveries as his audition for a Test debut gradually improved, but he was unable to post an attention-grabbing score. Most notably, Clarke and Rogers, who watched on in the ODI series, both fell cheaply for the second time in the game, meaning they will enter the Test without any real local form behind them.
Clarke, on the comeback trail from a hamstring problem, promoted himself to No. 3 and punched a beautiful straight drive for four before he was bowled by a Rahat Ali delivery that stayed a touch low. Rogers must also have been particularly frustrated at his luck. Having made a golden duck in the first innings, he got off the king pair first ball with a confident punch through cover, but fell for 3 in an ugly mix-up.
Rogers had pushed a single to mid-on and a wayward throw to the bowler's end opened up the possibility of an overthrow. Rogers committed, Hughes set off and stopped, and Rogers had to turn back from halfway down the pitch. A dive was not enough, and as Rogers trudged off, Hughes sheepishly avoided looking at his dismissed partner.
Glenn Maxwell, who did not bat in the first innings, came in at No. 4 and struck three boundaries during a breezy 18 from 20 balls before edging behind when he tried to cut Mohammad Talha. That brought Marsh to the crease to join Hughes and they put on 68 for the fourth wicket, although there were a few nervy moments for Hughes in particular.
The unpredictable bounce led to a few balls kicking off the pitch and rapping Hughes on the gloves, and he picked up a lucky six when he top-edged a hook off Talha that landed just over the man at fine leg. Although he has never been the strongest player against spin, Hughes showed signs of improvement and was keen to sweep Raza Hasan and Karamat Ali, also pulling well if they dropped short.
Marsh got going with a pair of pulled boundaries in a Talha over and also clubbed Hasan down the ground for six. The pair made it through until lunch but the wickets began to tumble soon after, starting with Marsh, who edged Hasan to slip for 35 and was followed next ball by James Faulkner in almost identical fashion.
Given the match did not have first-class status, the Australians changed their batting order and let Alex Doolan and Steven Smith rest after good scores in the first innings, which meant Peter Siddle came out at No. 7. Hughes brought up his fifty with a clip through midwicket off Rahat Ali from his 92nd delivery but on 65, edged behind off the same bowler.
After that it was a matter of how long the bowlers would survive, and although Siddle enjoyed some time in the middle with 41, the wickets kept falling. Mitchell Starc was bowled by Imran Khan, Steve O'Keefe was trapped lbw by Talha, Siddle edged behind off Hasan and the result was decided when Talha rattled the stumps of Ben Hilfenhaus to dismiss the Australians for 185.
Talha bowled well in the second innings and finished with 3 for 32, while Hasan claimed 3 for 60. Rahat was again impressive with two wickets after bowling well in the first innings, and has done his Test chances no harm. The Australians were due to return to Dubai on Saturday night ahead of a day off on Sunday, before two days of training in the lead-up to the first Test.