Will the real Test-match hopefuls please stand up?

Updated November 13, 2019 11:18:25

A star-studded Australia A side has been bowled out for 122 in a calamitous tour match performance against Pakistan in Perth, where forgotten man Cameron Bancroft has provided a timely reminder of his staying powers.

Key points:

  • Australia A were bowled out for 122 in reply to Pakistan’s 428.
  • Cameron Bancroft made 49 from 155 balls as Imran Khan took 5-32.
  • Marcus Harris (16), Joe Burns (0), Usman Khawaja (6), Travis Head (13) and Will Pucovski (5) all disappointed with the bat.

The only gunslinger to fire a shot in the Australia A bat-off, Bancroft still conceded that he probably hasn’t done enough to force his way back into the Test side.

A late conscript for the pink-ball tour match against Pakistan in Perth, Bancroft provided rare resistance as a star-studded Australia A side was skittled for 122.

Joe Burns was clean-bowled for a golden duck and fellow Test hopefuls Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Will Pucovski also fell cheaply, with the hosts finding few answers to an incisive and disciplined Pakistan attack.

Pakistan was 0-7 at stumps on Tuesday, leading by 313 runs in the three-day match at Perth Stadium.

Australia A were reeling at 9-57 before Bancroft (49) and Riley Meredith (19 not out) restored some pride, batting longer for the 10th wicket than the first nine combined.

Bancroft’s ability to dig in and withstand difficult periods was what first elevated him to selection as a Test opener.

Having only been added to the XI when Nic Maddinson withdrew on mental health grounds, Bancroft has at least given national coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns something to think about after coming in at number six and facing 155 balls.

While Harris has the benefit of incumbency, his patchy record means he is no certainty to open the batting with David Warner in the first Test at the Gabba.

But Bancroft concedes he may be coming from too far back to capitalise, having been dropped during the Ashes and out of form in the Sheffield Shield.

“Probably highly unlikely, I would have thought,” Bancroft said.

“But if you’re not winning, you’re learning, aren’t you? I learned a lot today, had a lot of positive little wins out there with my batting.

“I walk away and keep being positive, keep looking to improve. That’s all you can do.”

Pakistan’s fast bowlers have tended to struggle in Australian conditions but the impressive performance of veteran seamer Imran Khan (5-32) and left-armer Shaheen Afridi (2-42) in Perth will buoy the tourists’ confidence.

“They were really consistent,” Bancroft said.

“They didn’t go searching at all. They held a good area and really tested our patience, and I’m sure a lot of us wish we could have gone out there and done it a bit better.”

The Australian batting collapse came despite Pakistan being a bowler down, with 16-year-old quick Naseem Shah withdrawn following the overnight death of his mother.

The tourists opted not to replace Naseem, preferring to retain the tour match’s first-class status.

Topics: sport, cricket, australia, wa, perth-6000

First posted November 13, 2019 09:05:34