Pakistan pace sensation Mohammad Amir is set to be the biggest threat to Australia’s batsmen in the first Test in Brisbane after the speedster destroyed the CA XI with the pink ball last night.
Amir struck with his first and second balls, hooping the new pink Kookaburra ball from off to leg to first castle opening bat James Peirson then trap fellow right-hander Will Bosisto lbw to leave the hosts reeling at 2-0 in Cairns.
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The left-armer then bowled nightwatchman Ryan Lees with the last ball of his second over to end day one with the CA XI at 4-4 after they bowled Pakistan out for 208.
He didn't take a wicket on day two, but finished his 10 overs with 3-15.
It’s a frightening preview of what Amir could do against Australia in next week’s first Test under lights at the Gabba, the venue’s first day-night Test with a pink ball.
Amir has had a stop-start international career after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing against England at Lord’s in 2010, but returned to Test cricket in July this year (ironically at Lord’s) and is slowly getting back to his best.
"He's an outstanding talent," champion Australian Mike Hussey told cricket.com.au.
"I know he's been through a lot in a short career really, but I'm personally happy to see him back playing international cricket.
"I feel like he's done his time and he's a class bowler.
"Again, he's someone that bowls extremely well with the new ball but is also very good with the old ball as well.
"He's highly skilled, along with some of their other left-armers, so it's going to be a great contest between bat and ball."
Hussey was dismissed three times in the four Tests he played against Amir in 2009-10 and says he was blown away by the raw talent of the then teenager.
"We've always thought that the Pakistanis have amazingly talented players,” Hussey said.
"They always seem to come onto the scene and you think, 'Wow, this guy's unbelievable', and Mohammad Amir was no different.
"He was young, talented, keen to do well, passionate sort of guy.
"He just kept running in hard all day being young and fresh.
"He certainly gave us a good battle out there.
"It was a shame he had to go through that tough period but hopefully he comes back bigger and better."
With Amir leading the Pakistan pace attack, Hussey says the tourists can cause a major upset and win their first Test series ever in Australia, but the first Test is crucial.
"Of course they can," Hussey said when asked if Pakistan can topple Australia this summer.
"Australia is going to have something to say about that though, and we've got a great record in Australia.
"A day-night Test at the Gabba is going to be challenging for both teams, and so it'll be interesting to see which team can make the adjustments and adapt to those conditions quicker.
"The first Test of any series is always really important, so if you can get off to a winning start, whether it be Australia or Pakistan, then you've got the confidence to move forward.
"So whoever wins that first one will have a huge advantage going into the rest of the series.
"I can't wait – you can't pick it – but I think it's going to be a greatly contested series."