It was always going to be a memorable occasion for 16-year-old Naseem Shah as he made his Test debut against mighty Australia in the Gabba bear pit.
But the 16-year-old fast-bowling sensation would not have expected his batting exploits to be firmly under the spotlight on Day 1 of the first Test.
Naseem's day began with an emotional presentation of his first Test cap, saw him prevent a Mitchell Starc hat-trick with the first ball he faced, then hit an attempted yorker from the fearsome Australian quickie for four, before finally giving the bowler a simple return catch to end Pakistan’s innings at 240.
Naseem’s inclusion in Pakistan’s starting XI made the rookie fast bowler the youngest player to make his Test debut in Australia.
It all happened little more than a week after his mother’s death in Pakistan, and Naseem wiped away tears after one his country’s greatest bowlers, Waqar Younis, presented him with his green cap before the start of play on Thursday.
When Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat, it appeared Naseem’s involvement on day one of the two-Test series would be limited.
But after five wickets fell in the second session, and Starc took two wickets on consecutive deliveries in the first over with the new ball, suddenly Naseem was at the crease with Pakistan in serious trouble at 227-8 and struggling to survive.
It was as daunting a debut as he could have received. Starc had bowled Yasir Shah (26) and had Shaheen Shah Afridi (0) caught behind on the two previous deliveries and Naseem knew to expect a full, fast ball aimed at his feet.
He managed to get bat on ball, squeezing an inside edge away to the leg-side and taking off for a quick single, hoping to register his first run in Test cricket.
But senior batsman Asad Shafiq sent him back, not wanting to expose the youngster immediately to Pat Cummins potentially for a full over.
The protective instinct cost Shafiq, his 134-ball stand ending when he was bowled four balls later by Cummins for 76. It was the third Pakistan wicket to fall with the total at 227.
Naseem got off the mark, even hit a boundary, and put on 13 for the last wicket with Imran Khan (5) before he was finally out for seven. He’ll get the ball in his hand early Friday, when he can really show why he is in the team.
Two collapses cost Pakistan after a solid start. Openers Azhar (39) and Shan Masood (27) put on 75 for the first wicket before Cummins triggered the first of the collapses.
The Australian quicks found their length and removed both in three deliveries before swiftly adding the wickets of Haris Sohail and Babar Azam for one run apiece.
Nathan Lyon claimed his only wicket of the day when he had Iftikhar Ahmed (7) caught at short leg to make it 94-5.
Shafiq then added 49 for the sixth wicket before Mohammad Rizwan (37) was contentiously dismissed by what appeared to be a no-ball off Cummins. The TV umpire decided there wasn’t enough evidence to give Rizwan a reprieve.
"I look at the scoreboard, it says a wicket," Cummins said. "I'll take it but I was really nervous until they put the finger up."
Shafiq and Yasir Shah (26) continued together in an 84-run stand in 27 overs before the Australians took the new ball after one delivery in the 80th over, and Starc swung the momentum back to the home team. Starc finished with 4-52 and Cummins took 3-60.
"We are not too unhappy but it could have been a lot better," said Pakistan bowling coach Younis.
"The first session we thought would be difficult we got through pretty well, but then we gave it away. We need a really good session tomorrow to be in the game."
Australia captain Tim Paine was pleased with the way his team hit their stride after a difficult start.
"In the end, not a bad result," he said. "We weren't quite at our best in that first session, we thought we bowled a bit short ... but apart from that we stuck to the task and got better as the day went on."