Amir's form among takeaways from Pakistan's tour game win in SA

Waseem Ahmed 20:40 21/12/2018
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Mohammad Amir.

Pakistan warmed up nicely for their upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa with a six-wicket win in their tour warm-up game at Benoni on Friday.

The tourists chased down a target of 195 inside 41 overs in their second innings on the third and final day of their warm-up tie against a Cricket South Africa Invitational XI.

With the upcoming battle against the Proteas set to be a litmus test for Pakistan, we look at the three things they have learned from their sole warm-up clash.

KEY BATSMEN FIND FORM

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has been constantly banging on about the need for his batsmen to put on big partnerships. After what happened over the three days, the wicketkeeper-batsman should be delighted.

Azhar Ali and Babar Azam looked extremely assured in their first innings tons while opener Imam-ul-Haq and Haris Sohail struck form in the second innings with brisk half-centuries.

Uncapped Shan Masood gave a good account of himself too in both the innings while Fakhar Zaman got decent starts in both outings.

The only worry in the batting department is the skipper’s own form with Sarfraz’s struggles with the bat showing no signs of ending.

Babar Azam and Azhar Ali looked solid with the bat.

Babar Azam and Azhar Ali looked solid with the bat.

MOHAMMAD AMIR LOOKING GOOD ON RETURN

Having not been picked for the clashes against Australia and New Zealand in the UAE, all eyes were on how Mohammad Amir.

The Pakistan pacer endured a dismal year in limited-overs cricket before he was finally axed from the squad following his listless showings in the Asia Cup. In a bid to rediscover his form and swing, Amir returned to Pakistan’s domestic circuit.

Based on his display at Benoni, it’s safe to say that the 26-year-old remains a threat in overseas conditions. The left-armed quick picked up just one wicket in the first innings but looked back to his best in the second where he claimed three scalps in his 12 overs.

Amir’s return to form will come as a huge boost for the visitors in South Africa where conditions are set to favour the seamers.

The rhythm was back in Amir's bowling.

The rhythm was back in Amir’s bowling.

ABBAS’ ABSENCE REFLECTING ON PACE ATTACK

While Mohammad Amir did look on his return, Pakistan’s pace attack failed to pack a punch in the absence of Mohammad Abbas who is still nursing an injury.

Hasan Ali picked up one wicket from the 16 overs he sent down in the first innings before going wicketless in the second. Teen pacer Shaheen Afridi was flat in the first innings before picking up one wicket in the second.

Seaming all-rounder Faheem Ashraf chipped in with a three-wicket match haul and he will be crucial to providing the right balance in the Test series.

Although Amir looks in good touch, Hasan and Afridi will need to quickly adapt to the conditions in South Africa in what is their maiden tour of the country.

Hasan Ali failed to look like a real threat in both innings.

Hasan Ali failed to look like a real threat in both innings.

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