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.


FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

Updated 18 July 2019
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FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

  • Iran will host their first World Cup qualifier in October
  • FIFA wants the issue of women attending men’s games to be resolved before the game

ZURICH: FIFA says Iran’s football federation supports letting women attend 2022 World Cup qualifying games of its men’s national team, though government approval is still needed.
FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Some women were allowed to watch the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November when FIFA President Gianni Infantino also attended.
FIFA wants the issue resolved before Oct. 10 when Iran — the top-ranked team in Asia — hosts its first home World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. The next is March 26 against Hong Kong.
Football’s world body says Iran federation president Mehdi Taj has replied to Infantino saying “the matter has been taken up directly with the minister of sports and youth.”