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Babar, Haris stake Test claims with hundreds

Babar Azam and Haris Sohail hit hundreds for Pakistan 'A' as Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon took two wickets in a warm-up match in Sharjah on Friday.

Azam, who turned 20 on Wednesday, was 114 not out to stake claims for a Test place whith another hopeful Haris Sohail batting on an unbeaten 103 as Pakistan 'A' reached 306-3 at close on the third of the four-day match at Sharjah stadium.

That gave Pakistan 'A' an overall lead of 338 after Australia declared their first innings at the overnight total of 273-8. 

Pakistan 'A' had made 305-8 declared in their first essay.

Azam, who led Pakistan in the Junior World Cup in Australia in 2012, hit nine boundaries and three sixes during his stylish display after openers Ahmed Shahzad (59) and Shan Masood (19) gave the home team a sound 62-run start.

Sohail, who is in Pakistan's initial squad of 19 for the Tests, has so far hit nine fours and three sixes.

Australian bowlers had another good work out with Lyon standing out.

Lyon, who will spearhead Australia's spin attack in the two-match Test series starting in Dubai from October 22, removed Masood and Israr Ullah off consecutive deliveries to finish with 2-49.

Shahzad was run out after hitting eight boundaries in his second half-century of the match, a much needed boost for Pakistan's struggling batting which saw them lose the preceding three-match one-day series 3-0.

Australia also had the consolation of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh bowling seven overs without showing signs of the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the limited over series.

Marsh is also likely to fill in as fifth bowler in the Test series.

Lyon said Australia were happy with the practice.

"We're pretty happy," said Lyon. "This game is really about an opportunity for all the players in our squad (before the Test)."

Azam hoped his hundred would earn him some recognition.

"Scoring a hundred is always a great honour and to have done it against a team like Australia is even bigger," said Azam. 

"It's my aim to score runs and play for Pakistan seniors."

The second Test starts in Abu Dhabi from October 30

Brief scores:

Pakistan 'A' 305-8 dec (Asad Shafiq 108 not out; S. O'Keefe 3-76) and 306-3 (Babar Azam 114 not out, Haris Sohail 103 not out; N. Lyon 2-49) 

Australia 273-8 dec (A. Doolan 104, S. Smith 58)

First Test pre-match media conference (English)