Sarfraz Ahmed settles for draw after Australia battle back to claim draw in Dubai

Aussie opener Khawaja scored his first century in Asia with a brilliant, match-saving 141 in the UAE. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Sarfraz Ahmed settles for draw after Australia battle back to claim draw in Dubai

  • Baggy Greens display grit and determination to save first Test.
  • Sharfraz happy with character shown by Pakistan over the five days.

DUBAI: Sarfraz Ahmed said he had no regrets after Pakistan failed to secure victory over Australia in the first Test in Dubai.
The hosts went into the last day needing five wickets to win the first of the two-match series. But a brilliant 141 from Baggy Greens opener Usman Khawaja, a 61 not out from skipper Tim Paine and 72 from Travis Head frustrated Pakistan as the tourists finished the day on 362 for eight.
That left the Pakistan captain with a case of what might have been, but Sarfraz said he could not fault the effort of his side.
“We hoped to roll them out but we have to give credit to Khawaja, we must give him credit,” he said.
“We need to work hard — in Tests you learn (quickly).
“We have little things to work on. We should praise (Mohammad Abbas) a lot. The way he bowled on this pitch was tremendous.
“The batsmen who got their opportunities also took them. That’s a positive. We could have won this but Tests are like this. We’re sad, but the opposition also played well and we need to acknowledge that.”
Australia’s hero was Khawaja, who started the day on 50 not out as Australia resumed on 136 for three, chasing 462 for an unlikely victory.
Khawaja and Head added 79 before lunch as Pakistan failed to take a wicket in the first session. The pair eventually put on an invaluable 132 runs for the fourth wicket.
Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan but moved to Australia as a child, batted for eight hours 44 minutes and faced 302 balls before he was sixth man out in the final session. He was trapped leg-before sweeping Yasir Shah.
Khawaja’s innings was the second longest in the fourth innings of a Test, behind England’s Michael Atherton’s 645-minute vigil in scoring 185 not out against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1995. It was the highest fourth-innings score by any visiting batsman in Asia, beating New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori’s 140 made at Colombo against Sri Lanka nine years ago.
Pakistan started the day needing seven wickets to win but nothing worked for skipper Sarfraz, despite multiple bowling changes.
Pakistan could have had Head leg-before off leg-spinner Yasir on 44, but Sarfraz did not review umpire Richard Kettleborough’s not out decision. Replays showed the ball was hitting the stumps.
Pakistan were only rewarded when they took the second new ball as soon as it was due and Mohammad Hafeez trapped Head leg-before with the first ball. Australia wobbled but Khawaja and Paine, who batted for over three hours, ensured a draw.
The second Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Oct. 16.


LEAD — Work to do for BMW’s da Costa after Ad Diriyah victory

Updated 29 sec ago
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LEAD — Work to do for BMW’s da Costa after Ad Diriyah victory

Antonio Felix da Costa praised his BMW garage but said there is still a lot of work for him and the team to do in this year’s Formula E season after winning the inaugural Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday.
Da Costa was on pole from the beginning of the race and led away from the line, despite lining up at the front of the grid pointing toward the outside wall at a dusty and overcast Ad Diriyah circuit.
The Portuguese driver held on for victory ahead of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Jerome d’Ambrosio in the Mahindra car.
Da Costa told Arab News that the new “cooler and futuristic” Gen 2 car gives drivers more power, stability and grip, and that there was “a lot to take in.”
“It is a new car, a new track, a new way of racing, (with) ‘Attack Mode’, and I got the ‘Fan Boost’ for the first time, so there were a lot of things to do and as a team and we executed so well, so I think that is why we won today because we were not the quickest car but we just had a perfect race.
“It is amazing, it’s been really tough and long months of work, but I am really happy with that,” da Costa added.
“We definitely have some work to do as the two Techeetah cars were really fast, and even with (Vergne’s) drive through penalty, he was right there at the end.
“But it’s a good start and we’ll keep working on that and try to keep it going,” he added.
When asked about BMW being involved in Formula E as a factory team for the first time, da Costa said: “It hasn’t been easy the last two years, but as I said it has been a lot work between Indianapolis with Andretti and Munich with BMW, it is great to see and I am so happy for everyone back in Munich.”
Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi had the best start on the grid after he blasted by Jose Maria Lopez around the outside of the first corner from third place.
The front four pulled away from the rest of the pack, before Vergne — who started the race in fifth — passed Lopez on lap one of what would become a 33-lap race, with his teammate Andre Lotterer also getting past the Geox Dragon driver.
As da Costa consolidated his lead, Vergne was closing in on Buemi, eventually passing him in a great move around the outside on lap nine. The Frenchman then set about reeling in da Costa, with the Portuguese offering fierce resistance.
Vergne was then forced to serve drive-through penalties – just after he had used his first “attack mode” – for going exceeding the permitted power while using his “re-gen,” which put paid to him getting a victory.
Reigning champion Vergne, while impressed with the venue, was philosophical after the race.
“I was really hungry for a victory today, but the qualifying in the morning did not go as planned.
“Unfortunately, it was a step down from where I wanted to be, I wanted to win this one.
“I had a fantastic car, it was incredibly fast, but a big congratulations to the BMW guys and Antonio, it was a well-deserved victory.
“What I will take as a positive from this weekend is that we have a strong team and a very strong car and I am very motivated.
“Going forward, we just need to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes that cost us the win today, but it’s a very encouraging first race and I’m looking forward to Marrakech now.”
On his drive through penalty, he said: “Yes, I had quite a few overtakes on the outside, on the inside, but it was a fun race, I honestly had a lot of fun.
“I’m content with P2 today, and hoping to keep this package (on the car) and hopefully get some victories.”
Meanwhile, third-placed d’Ambrosio was delighted with his finish to the race.
“I am super happy, it was a great first race with Mahindra and a great start to the championship, I am lucky to be part of such a great team with some great people.
“I have come from two difficult years, so it’s great to start this new relationship with the team in this way. We worked very hard in the past few months to be ready, I think we were very fast but at the end of the race I didn’t have the confidence in the braking.
“But it makes a great to start to the season, with the podium and banking the points, and we’ll see what happens now.”
When asked about the new “attack mode” in Formula E, he said: “It is great, I actually wasn’t supposed to use it at that point of the race (when I did), but I had a good feeling and I saw Techeetah use it and start to build a gap, so I went for it and when the safety car came in I used it again.”