Fawad strikes in Aussie tour match

Fawad Ahmed has done his chances of a Test debut for Australia next week no harm with an encouraging start to the three-day tour match in Antigua.

The Pakistan-born leg-spinner has two wickets, including one in his first over, with the West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI reaching 4-167 at tea on day one.

Fawad picked up the wicket of Sharnarh Brooks in a rain-marred opening session before breaking a 99-run partnership between opener Rajendra Chandrika and Shane Dowrich in the middle session when he bowled Chandrika for 74.

Dowrich was unbeaten on 66 at the break with Roston Chase not out on nine.

Fawad finished the session with figures of 2-47 off 14 overs.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood (2-10) also has two wickets, dismissing Test hopefuls Tyron Theophile (4) and Leon Johnson (0) early as the hosts slumped to 3-38.

Hazlewood has been hard for the hosts to get away, with five of his nine overs being maidens.

Speculation is rife Fawad will debut for Australia in next week’s first Test against the West Indies with the tourists set to pick both he and off-spinner Nathan Lyon in traditionally spinner-friendly Dominica.

Lyon also showed good signs without getting a wicket.

The 27-year-old got plenty of turn and bounce from the pitch at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but was perhaps just a bit too straight at times as Chandrika and Dowrich guided the hosts from their shaky start.

He ended the session with 0-48 off 15 overs.

Another first Test hopeful, allrounder Mitchell Marsh, took a catch off Hazlewood’s bowling to start the day but was the least economical of Australia’s bowlers, conceding 30 runs off seven wicketless overs.

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