Mohammed Abbas destroys Australia to put Pakistan on top in Abu Dhabi

Pakistan's players celebrate dismissal of Australia's Mitchell Marsh during their test match in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (AP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Mohammed Abbas destroys Australia to put Pakistan on top in Abu Dhabi

  • Abbas finished with five for 33 to bowl out Australia for a paltry 145
  • Pakistan have a 137-run lead in the first innings on the second day at Sheikh Zayed Stadium

ABU DHABI: Medium pacer Mohammad Abbas registered a five-wicket haul to steer Pakistan into a dominating position in the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Abbas finished with five for 33 to bowl out Australia for a paltry 145 to give Pakistan a 137-run lead in the first innings on the second day at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Pakistan stretched that lead to 281 as they were 144 for two at close, with Azhar Ali not out on 54 for his first half century in the series and Haris Sohail was 17 not out.
With eight wickets in hand Pakistan were in a great position to force a 1-0 lead in the two-match series after the first Test ended in a fighting draw in Dubai last week.
Azhar, who fell for disappointing scores of 18, four and 15 in the last three innings, batted with resolve, having so far hit three boundaries.
But it was once again debutant Fakhar Zaman who lifted Pakistan with a brilliant 66 following up his 94 in the first innings, before giving a return catch to Nathan Lyon who took an evasive action but still managed to hold onto the ball.
Zaman hit seven boundaries in an enterprising knock.
Zaman said Pakistan were in the driving seat.
“Yes, our position is good,” said Zaman. “If we score 100-150 runs more on Thursday then with a turning wicket we have a very good chance of winning this Test.”
Zaman said he was lucky to have played this Test.
“I was with the squad from the start but during the first Test I was about to return to Pakistan before, unfortunately, Imam-ul-Haq got injured and I got this chance of playing my first Test.”
Mohammad Hafeez, who scored a hundred in the drawn first Test, fell to a lazy shot off pacer Mitchell Starc, caught at short mid-off for six.
Earlier, Abbas and spinner Bilal Asif (3-23) wrecked Australia for 145 in their innings.
Abbas had Shaun Marsh, in the fourth over of the day, for three and Travis Head for 14 before wrapping up the innings by trapping Starc leg-before for 34.
This becomes Abbas’s third five-wicket haul in a burgeoning career of ten Tests.
Asif had removed Aaron Finch (39) and in the last over before lunch trapped Tim Paine leg-before for three.
Marnus Labuschagne offered some resistance during his 25 before falling to a freakish run out, backing up too far as a drive from Starc was deflected to the stumps by Yasir Shah with Labuschagne out of his crease.
Abbas, whose first wicket of the match made him the joint second fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets, gave Pakistan an early wicket in the fourth over of the day, removing Marsh with a catch in the slip.
He then had Head caught in the second slip to leave Australia at 56 for four.
Leg-spinner Yasir made it 75 for five with the wicket of Mitchell Marsh, caught close to the wicket for 13 before Australia lose two more to reach lunch at 91 for seven.
Afer the Tests both the teams will play a series of three Twenty20 international with the first in Abu Dhabi on October 24.
sh/nr


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”