LAHORE - Pakistan’s seasoned Test batter Azhar Ali has fond memories of Pakistan-Australia battles of the 90s saying there used to be an intense pace battle between Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee and it was always fun to see who would bowl faster.

Azhar would start preparations for Australia’s first tour to Pakistan in 24 years with his participation in the pre-tour camp at the National Stadium, Karachi from Wednesday. “In the late 9os onwards there used to be an intense pace battle between Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee. It was always fun to see who would bowl faster and it was a treat for the fans. I also remember the 1998 triple century by Mark Taylor, as a Pakistan fan it was a tough watch but from the perspective of a cricket fan it was a huge accomplishment from Taylor to score a triple century against a quality attack,” he said.

Azhar Ali said, “Australia and Pakistan always used to play tough and competitive matches. We really used to enjoy the tri-series ODIs that used to start early morning Pakistan time. It used to be tough to get up but we had fun watching those games. Pakistan used to fight hard and I remember we even defended 150-run totals at times.

“We always knew that Wasim and Waqar could trigger a collapse and win us games that seemed lost. Amongst the Australia players of the 90s, I used to admire Steve Waugh who was a great fighter and a quality player. There was so much to learn from his batting.

“I have some memories of the 1994 Karachi Test that Pakistan won by one-wicket through that amazing 10th wicket partnership between Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed. While I don’t remember the entire match, I recall the ending fondly with Ian Healy’s missed stumping bringing Pakistan a thrilling victory.

“Amongst contemporary cricketers, Steve Smith and I made our debuts together, like me he also started playing as a bowler. We both transformed into number three batters for our Test sides so yes in a way we do have similar back story. I always enjoy talking to Smith and share different ideas about batting and cricket since for a cricketer, the learning process never ends,” he said.