Pakistan's match against PM XI side ends early after electrical storm and rain

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Pakistan’s preparations for its three-test series against Australia ended a day early after a strong electrical storm hit the region around Canberra's Manuka Oval.

Winds from the storm Friday night blew off the protective covers over the pitch and exposed it to driving rain. Umpires and team captains inspected the pitch late on Saturday morning and called the game off over safety concerns, confirming the match with the Prime Minister’s XI would end in a draw.

The first test begins next Thursday in Perth with later matches scheduled for Melbourne and Sydney.

The form of new skipper Shan Masood (201 not out) and star Babar Azam (40) looked strong in Canberra. Pakistan's bowling contingent will be completely different for the first test, with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim set to be named after resting for the Canberra match.

The early end to the Canberra match denied Matt Renshaw a chance to build on his unbeaten 136 and press his case to Australian selectors to replace David Warner as an opener when Warner retires.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket