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


Riyad Mahrez comes of age at Manchester City in search for glory

Updated 16 November 2018
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Riyad Mahrez comes of age at Manchester City in search for glory

  • Riyad Mahrez signed for City in a $76.6 million move
  • All eyes were on how Pep Guardiola’s only summer signing would add an extra edge to a record-breaking side

MANCHESTER: It took eight games for Riyad Mahrez to show why Manchester City paid a club record £60 million ($76.6 million) for his services.
All eyes were on how Pep Guardiola’s only summer signing would add an extra edge to a side that broke records on the way to claiming the Premier League title last season.
The Algerian winger came off the bench just past the hour mark against Cardiff two months ago and slid home his first City goal from close range before curling in a second with a fine left-foot finish.
The brace provided lift-off for the 27-year-old and his confident displays since have quickly dispelled any doubts that he would struggle to adapt to a system under Guardiola that demands commitment as well as class.
For Mahrez, he has been working to fulfil this footballing dream ever since he was a youngster practicing his skills on the streets of Paris suburb Sarcelles, encouraged by his late father Ahmed.
“I’m proud,” he says of an inspiring journey that began professionally in the French Second Division with Quimper in 2009, then at Le Havre a year later, before joining Leicester City for just £400,000 in 2014.
“It’s not easy to arrive here (at City), to come to a club like this. You need to work very hard to get here and when you do it’s not the final thing.
“You still need to work even more, to perform, to be humble, and to try to go higher. Of course, I want to do even better.
“I didn’t feel any pressure when I came because of the price, I don’t think about this stuff.
“I’m feeling good now at City, playing good at the moment and we are winning games. But it’s not finished yet and we need to keep going. The season is very long and we all have to keep going like this.”
While Mahrez has already won the league title with Leicester during a fairytale 2015-16 season that also saw him crowned the PFA Player of the Year, he remains ambitious and convinced he can still improve.
A yardstick has perhaps been set by Liverpool’s Egyptian frontman Mohamed Salah, who took his game to another level with 44 goals last season, winning the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year awards and named third in the 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player.
“Salah had a very good season. And we have a good team, we can score a lot of goals and I hope to do more, like he has done,” Mahrez told Arab News exclusively.
“But the most important thing is that we keep on winning as a team, and I’m going to try to help the team to do this, to score goals, make assists.”
The performances of Mahrez, who has claimed four more goals since the Cardiff match, and eight-goal Salah on Merseyside could well be integral to how their clubs eventually fare in this campaign.
Both teams are unbeaten in the league after 12 games with City two points clear of Liverpool, a lead confirmed by the impressive 3-1 win over neighbors United in the recent Manchester derby.
But Mahrez knows the mesmerising manner in which they have roared to the top will mean nothing if they are not there next May.
“The derby was special, a good atmosphere, a good win, I’m very happy,” he said after his first experience of the rivalry.
“But it’s not that because we beat United we are going to win the league. You can’t think like that, there’s still a long way to go and we have to keep focus.
“We have a good team, we are playing well. We just need to keep working hard for each other and we know we are going to be there at the end of the season. That’s the target.
“I won the title with Leicester, but I came here to win more trophies.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to win this or that, but of course this is a club that wants to win trophies. Win the Premier League, I don’t know. Win the Champions League, I don’t know.
“But we are going to make everything we can to try to do that. That’s the challenge for us.”