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Imam-ul-Haq impresses in Pakistan tour opener against Kent

CANTERBURY: Imam-ul-Haq guided Pakistan to 79 for three before bad light forced an early lunch on the first day of their tour opener against Kent at Canterbury on Saturday.

Left-hander Imam, the 22-year-old nephew of Pakistan chief selector and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, was 37 not out, with Asad Shafiq unbeaten on two.

If Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed wanted his top-order to experience typical early season English conditions, he could hardly have made a better decision than to bat first in this four-day fixture after winning the toss on an overcast morning.

Openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali started steadily before Azhar (15), going for a booming drive, was clean bowled by Will Gidman.

And 28 for one became 28 for two when Aslam (13) was lbw to Harry Podmore.

Gidman also had Haris Sohail lbw for five in a miserly return of two for 16 in eight overs.

Uncapped at Test level, Imam — who made a century on his one-day international debut against Sri Lanka in October — cover-drove two stylish fours off seamer Calum Haggett.

He then advanced down the pitch to drive off-spinner Adam Riley for a boundary — one of six fours in his 61 balls faced.

Although the floodlights were on, play was halted shortly before the scheduled lunch break when the umpires ruled conditions had become unsafe.

After this match, Pakistan face Northamptonshire before providing the opposition for Ireland’s inaugural Test, in Malahide, from May 11-15.

They then return across the Irish Sea for a two-Test series against England.

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