Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

Pakistan were under the cosh for large parts of the first day of the second Test in the UAE capital. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018
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Sarfraz Ahmed happy after Pakistan fight back against Australia in Abu Dhabi

  • Pakistan captain scores 96 after criticism having made just 74 runs in previous six Test innings.
  • Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs.

ABU DHABI: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said he was happy that he responded to pressure from all sides with a brilliant 96 on Tuesday on the first day of the second Test against Australia.
The 31-year-old added 147 runs for the sixth wicket with opener Fakhar Zaman — who also scored 96 — to lift Pakistan from a precarious 57 for five to 282 all out at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Australia closed the day at 20 for two, trailing by 262 runs with eight wickets in hand.
After his below-par 15-run innings and weak wicketkeeping in the first Test which ended with his team unable to turn a strong position into a victory, Sarfraz faced calls for his sacking as Test captain.
“Yeah the pressure was there, definitely,” said Sarfraz, who had made just 74 runs in the his six previous Test innings.
“A lot of it. You know it’s coming from all corners. Somebody is saying leave Test cricket, somebody is saying leave captaincy, some are saying leave him out of the team.
“When all this happens and you score runs then it’s a bit of relief and then to do it in a situation where you were 57 for five and in a really bad shape...”
Sarfraz said Pakistan had fought back admirably having seen Australia spinner spinner Nathan Lyon had rocked Pakistan in the morning, reaching lunch with figures of four for 12.
“It’s good that we scored 282 and then got two wickets, including that of Usman Khawaja because he can play a long innings, so I think it has become even for both the teams now,” said Sarfraz.
Sarfraz praised Zaman, who is playing his first Test.
“Fakhar played a brilliant knock and I got very good confidence from him because I like that the other batsmen rotate the strike and he did that and played brilliantly in his first match.
“He deserved credit for doing so well.”
The first Test in the two-match series ended in a draw in Dubai last week.


Jordan ready to unleash more shocks in Asian Cup second round

Updated 38 min 42 sec ago
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Jordan ready to unleash more shocks in Asian Cup second round

  • Borkelmans' boys not finished with the giant-killing in the UAE.
  • Jordan beat both Australia and Syria in the group stage and are confident they can go far.

LONDON: They may have surprised a few fans and rivals, but Jordan insist they have not stopped with the shocks in the UAE.
Australia and Syria were the two teams widely expected to coast through to the knockout stages from Group B. But Vital Borkelmans’ team ignored the form book and beat both the Socceroos and Syrians, before the final game 0-0 draw with Palestine, to top the pool.
And having got a taste of giantkilling Jordan are after more.
“We tried to get a maximum nine points from the group stage, but we couldn’t. We are, though, grateful we got a point from the game against Palestine and that we have qualified as group leaders,” Jordan midfielder Abdel Rahman said.
“This is the fourth Asian Cup for (us) and we have managed to advance and keep a clean sheet in all three of our group stage games.
“The Jordanian team doesn’t fear any other team. We are a humble side and we respect any team that we play. We will strive to do our best in the next round.”
Borkelmens’ boys are yet to concede a goal in the UAE and that dogged defense will be key as to whether they can continue their run at a first Asian Cup title. They are yet to learn who they will face in the second-round clash in Dubai on Sunday but it is clear that along with the defense, the side’s passionate fans will also be key to their chances of making the quarterfinals.
“The fans (have been) great. I really hope they keep supporting us in the upcoming stages,” Rahman said.

The message of confidence is clearly permeating through the camp with Borkelmans saying his team fear no one. 

“I am happy, we got seven points and three clean sheets, something I would have taken before the tournament,” the coach said.

“We do not know our Round of 16 opponents yet, but I know that we have already started working. My players have a lot of confidence and they are positive.

“I hope we can do something in the next round. Indeed, every round we progress to, we will have the confidence to go even further.”