Benoni: Young batsmen Josh Richards and Marques Ackerman made the touring Pakistanis toil on the first day of a three-day match against a South African Invitation XI at Willowmoore Park on Wednesday.
Opening batsman Richards, who turns 20 on Thursday, failed by two runs to notch his fourth representative century in a row as he made 98, while Invitation team captain Ackerman, 22, scored 103 not out before declaring shortly before close of play. The tourists were two for no wicket at the close.
Richards came into the match on the back of two first-class centuries and one List A hundred for the Gauteng provincial team, which plays in South Africa’s secondary domestic competition.
He made 98 off 134 balls with 11 fours and a six before falling to part-time leg-spinner Azhar Ali. Ackerman made his runs off 132 balls with 14 fours and a six.
The Pakistanis used eight bowlers, with Ali and medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf both taking two wickets.
The match is not a first-class fixture because both teams can use up to 15 players, with 11 batting and 11 bowling.
Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas, expected to be a key figure in a three-match Test series starting on 26 December, did not bowl. He faces a struggle to be fit for the first Test in Centurion.
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Abhimanyu Easwaran compiled a solid hundred in the game but skipper Priyank Panchal missed out on one by only four runs. The bowlers struggled with the hosts piling on the runs.
Deepak and Ishan are currently in Kolkata for the third T20I against New Zealand.
Malan (157*) and de Zorzi (117) shared a 217-run stand for the third wicket to put South Africa A in a strong position in the four-day game.