Pakistan's Tour of Australia - Men's
Bancroft's backbone gives selectors plenty to ponder
A late call-up to Australia A and batting down at No.6, Cameron Bancroft was the only batter to show some resistance to Pakistan's attack
13 November 2019, 08:16 AM AEST
The only gunslinger to fire a shot in the Australia A bat-off, Cameron Bancroft concedes he probably hasn't done enough to force his way back into the Test side.
A late conscript for the pink-ball tour match against Pakistan in Perth, Bancroft provided rare resistance as a star-studded Australia A side was skittled for 122.
Joe Burns was clean-bowled for a golden duck and fellow Test hopefuls Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Will Pucovski also fell cheaply, with the hosts finding few answers to an incisive and disciplined Pakistan attack.
Pakistan were 0-7 at stumps on Tuesday, leading by 313 runs in the three-day match at Optus Stadium.
Australia A were reeling at 9-57 before Bancroft (49) and Riley Meredith (19no) restored some pride, batting longer for the 10th wicket than the first nine combined.
Bancroft's ability to dig in and withstand difficult periods was what first elevated him to selection as a Test opener.
And it was his stubborn efforts in Australia's high-stakes intra-squad game before the Ashes, where he hit an unbeaten 93 to be far-and-away the game's top scorer, that earned him the nod to open in that series.
Having only been added to the Australia A XI when Nic Maddinson withdrew on mental health grounds, Bancroft has at least given national coach Justin Langer and chief selector Trevor Hohns something to think about after coming in at No.6 and facing 155 balls.
While Harris has the benefit of incumbency, his patchy record means he is no certainty to open the batting with David Warner in the first Test at the Gabba.
But Bancroft concedes he may be coming from too far back to capitalise, having been dropped during the Ashes and out of form in the Marsh Sheffield Shield.
"Probably highly unlikely, I would have thought," Bancroft said.
"But if you're not winning, you're learning, aren't you? I learned a lot today, had a lot of positive little wins out there with my batting.
"I walk away and keep being positive, keep looking to improve. That's all you can do."
Pakistan's fast bowlers have tended to struggle in Australian conditions but the impressive performance of veteran seamer Imran Khan (5-32) and left-armer Shaheen Afridi (2-42) in Perth will buoy the tourists' confidence.
"They were really consistent," Bancroft said.
"They didn't go searching at all. They held a good area and really tested our patience, and I'm sure a lot of us wish we could have gone out there and done it a bit better."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: TBC
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Australia A, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)