Pakistan make most of time in middle
Umar Amin and Fawad Alam hit half-centuries as Pakistan garnered vital batting practice in the opening first-class match of their tour, which petered out into a draw in Canterbury.
The visitors made the most of an excellent track at the St Lawrence Ground by batting well into the final afternoon in reaching 264 for four before their acting captain, Salman Butt, declared to give his bowlers a gentle work out either side of tea.
Facing a match deficit of 365, Kent openers Joe Denly and Chris Piesley showed good concentration by posting the county’s maiden century first-wicket stand this season, but both fell to rash shots in the final half-hour.
Denly swept across a quicker ball from Abdur Rehman to go leg before for 69, while Piesley, when seven short of his maiden first-class fifty, nicked behind off Shoaib Malik.
Young all-rounder Alex Blake then danced past one from the same bowler to be stumped for 28.
The sides shook hands on the draw soon after and for the tourists it was pretty much mission accomplished. Their only concern was the niggling side injury that left captain Shahid Afridi a virtual spectator over the three days.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis moved to play down the injury, saying: “Our physiotherapist has just arrived back from London with Shahid Afridi and the scan showed a small muscle rupture in his side.
“He has been asked to rest for two days and have some treatment, then we will reasses things, but we’re hopeful he will be fine.”
The final day started with brighter news for the tourists, who compiled an excellent second-wicket alliance worth 141 through Amin and Alam.
The stand ended shortly before lunch when Amin, in aiming to pull a Mark Lawson top-spinner on 68, top-edged a comfortable catch to deep midwicket.
To give his team-mates some time for batting practice, Alam retired out on 73 during the interval, but Kamran Akmal failed to make the most of his opportunity when he nicked a drive to slip off Lawson soon after the resumption.
Malik and teenage all-rounder Mohammad Aamer made much more of the opportunity, however, hitting 48 and 44 respectively in an unbroken stand of 85 that ended with Butt’s declaration following two successive sixes from the exciting Aamer.