Pakistan's newly appointed red-ball team captain Shan Masood kicked off the Australia tour with a brilliant unbeaten hundred in a warm-up game on Wednesday, December 6. Pakistan dominated Day 1 of the practice match against Australia's Prime Minister's XI in Canberra to gain a boost in confidence for the three-match Test Series starting on December 14.
The star batter Babar Azam stepped down from captaincy duties from all formats after the team's abysmal ICC World Cup 2023 campaign in India. The PCB shocked many with Masood's appointment as the new skipper for the Test team but the experienced left-handed batter made an immediate impact on his captaincy debut.
The 34-year-old batter led by example after Pakistan's lost opener Imam-ul-Haq early. Masood batted in the no.3 position and pulled off two fifty-plus partnerships with Abdullah Shafique and Babar Azam. Both Masood and Babar added 92 runs for the third wicket with the latter scoring 40 runs off 88 balls.
Experienced wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed also scored crucial 41 runs to get it going ahead of a crucial tour. Umpires called stumps when Pakistan lost their sixth wicket in the form of Faheem Ashraf in the 90th over. But Masood remained unbeaten on 156 runs off 235 balls to put 324 runs on the scoreboard.
Young pacer Jordan Buckingham took three wickets for PM XI, including a valuable wicket of Babar's, praised Masood's 'outstanding' innings.
"Shan's innings was pretty much flawless. He played brilliantly," Jordan Buckingham said. "The wicket was obviously conducive to batting but you still have to get out there and get the runs. For him to barely give a chance, it was an outstanding innings. Think he'll be in for a pretty good summer."
Masood will be under pressure to prove his worth and make an impact as a captain on the three-match tour which will be Pakistan's first series of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle.
Prime Ministers XI Playing XI: Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft, Matt Renshaw, Cameron Green, Nathan McSweeney (c), Beau Webster, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Nathan McAndrew, Todd Murphy, Mark Steketee, Jordan Buckingham
Pakistan Playing XI: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Jamal, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Abrar Ahmed