Cricket – Hafeez, Imam help Pakistan to bright start against Australia


Pakistan got off to a strong start against Australia, reaching 89 for no loss at lunch on the first day of the series-opening test match in Dubai on Sunday.

Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, playing his first test since 2016, was at the crease on 48 while the 37-year-old’s opening partner Imam-ul-Haq looked equally comfortable on an unbeaten 36.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had earlier won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry wicket at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Australia captain Tim Paine introduced spin after only eight overs, bringing on off-spinner Nathan Lyon first change inside the first hour and left-armer Jon Holland shortly afterwards.

Hafeez looked in total control against the Australian attack with six boundaries in a chanceless knock to close in on his 13th half-century in test cricket.

Imam, meanwhile, used his feet well against the spinners and smashed four boundaries and a mighty six over deep mid-wicket off Holland in the 20th over.

Australia toiled hard on the field in tough conditions, with Lyon bowling 12 of the 31 overs in the first session. While the 30-year-old managed to keep things tight, Holland gave away 32 runs in his six overs.


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