Pakistan close in on victory against Australia in first Test in Dubai

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Aaron Finch trudges off the pitch having been dismissed by man-of-the-moment Mohammad Abbas in Dubai. (AFP)
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Updated 10 October 2018
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Pakistan close in on victory against Australia in first Test in Dubai

  • Mohammad Abbas takes three quick wickets to leave Aussies staring at defeat.
  • Tourists slump to 136 for three chasing 462 for unlikely victory.

DUBAI: Hard-working fast bowler Mohammad Abbas took three wickets in seven balls to bring Pakistan closer to victory in the first Test against Australia in Dubai.
The right-arm medium pacer dismissed Aaron Finch (49) and the Marsh brothers — Shaun and Mitchell — for ducks as Australia slumped from 87 without loss to finish the fourth day at 136 for three, chasing 462 to win.
At stumps opener Usman Khawaja was batting on a fighting 50 and Travis Head on 34 as the pair had added an invaluable 49 for the unbroken fourth wicket stand to prolong Australia’s resistance on a weary and spinning Dubai stadium pitch.
Pakistan will need seven more wickets while Australia require another 326 runs for an improbable victory to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, with the second Test starting in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 16.
Abbas said he was “happy to be among the wickets.”
“I used the crease to bring the ball in and got wickets from those deliveries,” he said.
“We need seven more wickets so, God willing, we will get them and get this win for which we have worked very hard and it will be good to take a lead in the series.”

DEJA VU FOR BAGGY GREENS

It was an action replay of the first innings as Australian openers put on 87 — they made 142 in their total of 202 on Tuesday — as Finch was trapped leg-before soon after tea with a sharp incoming delivery from Abbas.
Finch, who took an unsuccessful review, hit five boundaries in his knock.
Two balls later Abbas had the elder Marsh caught behind and in his next over trapped Mitchell right in front of the stumps only to get the decision on review.
But it was Finch and Khawaja in the afternoon session who batted with resolve.


Pakistan-born Khawaja, who top scored for Australia with 85 in the first innings, held one end intact with resolute batting, having so far hit six boundaries.
Abbas has figures of three for 26 to add to his four wickets in the first innings, but leg-spinner Yasir Shah was still wicketless in the match.
If Australia still wish to win this match they will have to rewrite the history books as the highest chase in all Test cricket is West Indies’s 418 for seven, made against Australia at Antigua in 2003.
Pakistan, who were 45 for three overnight, declared 7.5 overs after lunch on 181 for six at the fall of Asad Shafiq’s wicket for 41.
Pakistan made 482 in their first innings while in reply Australia were dismissed for 202.
Jon Holland, who took the key wicket of Azhar Ali for four on Tuesday, dismissed opener Imam-ul-Haq for 48, caught and bowled off a flighted delivery.
Debutant Marnus Labuschagne then had Haris Sohail caught close to the slips for 39, leaving Pakistan at 110 for four. Sohail and Imam had added 65 runs for the fourth wicket.
Holland had figures of three for 83 from 20 overs while off-spinner Nathan Lyon took two for 58.


Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri wins historic first gold for the country.
Updated 18 October 2018
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Historymaker: Saudi teen secures Kingdom’s first ever Olympic gold medal

  • The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics
  • I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, said the gold medalist

BUENOS AIRES: It is said that the karate-ka who has given the necessary years of commitment and meditation to the sport is both fearless and tranquil. They can, it is said, be calm even in a burning building.

Last night, inside a furnace-like Europe Pavilion at the Youth Olympic Park, and in front of Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Assiri won the Kingdom its first ever Olympic gold medal. And welcomed it, initially at least, with utmost calm. 

Defeating Masaki Yamaoka of Japan 8-0 in the Men’s Kumite -61kg final, the 17-year-old Saudi immediately thanked his opponent and bowed to the various officials, before turning to his coach, removing his red gloves slowly, and greeting him with a starch salute. Only afterwards, once these rituals of respect were over and his opponent had slipped away, did Al-Assiri explode with joy, his face contorting into beautiful agony as he screamed in guttural Arabic and jumped around the mat.

“I am so happy, so proud,” he said, his prize glinting in the spotlight of the world’s media. “This is the first gold medal for Saudi Arabia and our first medal ever in karate. I have been working towards this moment for 10 years, especially in the past two when my training intensified. I came for gold and this is the result of years of serious work. It was very difficult, but I am just so proud. Thank you to Allah.”

The victory marked Saudi’s third time on the podium at the two-week Youth Olympics, after bronze medals in weightlifting and 400m Hurdles. It is a stellar return for a country that brought only nine athletes to Argentina and has won just one medal at this level before, a bronze in equestrian four years ago. Yousef Jalaiden, the chef de mission for the Saudi delegation, had confidently predicted medals earlier this week, but even he admits expectations have been exceeded.

“We are very happy right now,” Jalaiden said, watching as Al-Assiri, wrapped in the Saudi flag, posed for photos with Prince Fahd bin Juluwe bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the head of the delegation. “It’s our best achievement ever at an Olympics — be it Youth or the full Olympics. We are so happy — we hoped for three medals, like I said before, and we got them,”

Karate is making its Olympic debut this week ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Assiri had secured his place after winning at the first qualifying event in Croatia this summer. In front of vocal support from Saudis and Egyptians, he was handed the historic victory after his offensive front-footed display culminated with Yamaoka fouling four times during their bout.

“During training, people from other countries were all telling us Mohammed would take gold, but for us it was never a certainty,” Jalaiden added. “We expected him to reach the final, but when you get to a final, anything can happen. He has been training exceptionally hard though and it has all paid off.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Egypt’s Yasmin Nasr El-Gewily won the Women’s Kumite 53kg final, defeating Japan’s Rinka Tahata 2-1. “Egypt are our neighbours and we have an excellent relationship with them, so today it is like our nation is one,” said Jalaiden. “We have both enjoyed great success here.”