Imam-ul-Haq makes fifty as Pakistan batsmen struggle

Kent 39 for 1 trail Pakistan 168 (Imam 61, Gidman 5-47) by 129 runs. A half-century from Imam-ul-Haq was the one bright spot for Pakistan as they began their tour of the UK and Ireland with a warm-up match in Canterbury. The Pakistan XI were dismissed for 168 after electing to bat, Kent’s Will Gidman taking five-for, with Imam the only member of the top order to pass 17.

Imam was sixth out, as Pakistan slid from 111 for 3 to 140 for 8 before Hasan Ali cracked 24 from just 11 balls to lift them to 168. Hasan then struck with his fourth ball, pinning Daniel Bell-Drummond lbw, as Kent moved to 39 for 1 in reply before bad light brought an early close.

The nephew of the selector and former Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imam made his ODI debut last year, scoring a century on his first international appearance. Batting at No. 3 against Kent, he scored nine boundaries while spending almost three hours at the crease, pushing his case for inclusion in the Test side.

“It was difficult, it was a very rainy day and the conditions were favoring the bowlers,” Imam said. “We were working very hard, had a good session in the last two days. I was trying to adapt as quickly as I can, trying to have positive intent.” Pakistan lost both openers with the score on 28, Azhar Ali bowled driving at Gidman and Sami Aslam then trapped lbw by Harry Podmore. Haris Sohail was also out lbw, to Gidman, but Imam and Asad Shafiq added 58 for the fourth wicket.

However, after Shafiq was dismissed for 17, bowled by Ivan Thomas, Pakistan’s lower-middle order melted away. Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed were caught behind, Shadab Khan had his stumps disturbed by Calum Haggett and Gidman completed his five-wicket haul when he had Mohammad Amir lbw for 4. Hasan was last out, a second wicket for Podmore, and although Pakistan struck early in Kent’s reply, Sean Dickson and Joe Denly guided the home side to the close.