Mitchell Marsh 162, Travis Head 90* extend Australia’s lead to 216 vs Pakistan A
Mitchell Marsh dug his way to 162 on day three in Dubai. @Getty

The allrounder Mitchell Marsh made a strong statement ahead of the Pakistan vs Australia Test series starting this weekend by scoring a watchful 162 on day three of the tour match against Pakistan A. At stumps on Monday at the ICC Academy in Dubai, Australia were 494/4, a lead of 216, with Test hopeful Travis Head batting on 90 off 200 balls on a flat surface.

From an overnight 53, Mitchell Marsh progressed to 162 and with his older brother Shaun (94) extended his alliance to 207 until the senior Marsh was bowled by Iftikhar Ahmed. The brothers defied Pakistan A for nearly five hours while batting two consecutive sessions together, with Shaun Marsh clanged on the helmet by a Wahab Riaz bouncer and the pair nearly run out during a mid-pitch scramble in the morning.

Mitchell Marsh and Head then combined to add 106 for the fourth wicket, which was the last success Pakistan A’s attack managed on a chastening day.

Head, uncapped at Test level but a regular in Australia’s ODI and T20I teams, pushed his claims for a debut with a watchful innings. Fellow Test aspirant Marnus Labuschagne -  graciously allowed to bat by Pakistan A after being called in as replacement for the injured Matt Renshaw – was batting on 39, the stand with Head worth 77 in 25.2 overs.

Iftikhar Ahmed, the 28-year-old pace bowler who played one Test for Pakistan in 2016, has so far bowled 65 overs in oppressive conditions for returns of 2/149. The Pakistan A skipper Asad Shafiq has bowled 33 overs of offspin.

Brief scores: Australia 494/4 in 170 overs (M Marsh 162, S Marsh 94, Head 90*) lead Pakistan A 278 by 216 runs