Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

The Australia team look despondent after their thrashing at the hands of Pakistan. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2018

Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

  • Aussie skipper admits side has to sort out batting ahead of Test series against India.
  • Abbas destroys Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series.

LONDON: Tim Paine admitted Australia need to sort out their batting and fast with a Test series against India to prepare for.
The Baggy Greens skipper was speaking after his side had been beaten by 373-runs by Pakistan in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday. That victory gifted the hosts a 1-0 win in the two-Test series and left the Aussies scratching their heads as to what they need to do before they come up against the No. 1 ranked India side on home soil.
Pakistan’s medium pacer Mohammad Abbas did the damage once again as he took his maiden 10-wicket haul in a match to fire his side to victory. Abbas followed his five for 33 in the first innings with figures of five for 62 to bowl out the tourists for 164 after they were set a daunting 538-run target.
It was Australia’s heaviest defeat against Pakistan, beating the 356-run hammering at this same venue four years ago. And Paine admitted the defeat had given his food for thought, especially regarding the side’s brittle batting line-up.
“It is obviously really disappointing to have them five for 57 on day one and we let that opportunity slip,” the captain said.
“When you do that against really good teams in Test cricket you pay the price and I thought they batted really well after that in the first innings, put us under pressure and we weren’t up to the challenge with the bat.
“I thought our bowlers toiled pretty well on that wicket. To bowl them out twice was not a bad effort.
“It’s just our batting. Mohammad Abbas challenged our defense time and time again and as we’ve seen a number of times over the last couple of years we’ve come up short. There’s certainly no sugar coating that we’ve got some real issues with our batting and we need to address it really quickly.”
Paine’s opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed was left to praise Abbas, who in 10 Tests has already taken 59 wickets at an average of 15.64.
“The way Abbas has bowled all series is one of the biggest positives for us,” the Pakistan captain said.
“All the youngsters who have come through in recent times have done well. We have to groom them all. There was pressure, when the team loses there is pressure, the most important is that the team wins. Thankfully my batting performance in this Test contributed to the win.”
It was Abbas who destroyed Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series — becoming the first Pakistani fast bowler to take ten wickets in a Test since Mohammad Asif’s feat against Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2006.
Abbas had jolted Australia with four wickets off just 23 balls while Yasir Shah finished with three for 45 to give Pakistan their tenth series win on the neutral venues of UAE.
They have only lost one series — 2-0 to Sri Lanka last year — since being forced to play their home matches in UAE since 2009.

Maria Sharapova looks back to her best as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal show no signs of slowing down

Updated 18 January 2019

Maria Sharapova looks back to her best as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal show no signs of slowing down

  • Sharapova dumps out defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.
  • Rafa and Roger brush aside young guns in straight sets victories.

LONDON: It is coming up to the end of the first week of the Australian Open, so we thought we would take a look and see how some of the big names fared on day five of the year’s first Grand Slam.


Maria Sharapova warned she is in the sort of form to win the Australian Open after she dumped Carolina Wozniacki out with an impressive 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win. It was the Russian’s best win since her return from a drugs ban and she looked like a winner-in-waiting.
“I thought the level was quite high. I knew I’d get a tough match — she (Wozniacki) is the defending champion,” the five-time Slam champion said.
“I haven’t played many matches in the last year against top players so it was really rewarding to win that last set. These are the kinds of matches I train for.”


Ageless Roger Federer marked his 100th Rod Laver Arena match Friday by storming past Taylor Fritz, then looked forward to a “high quality” last-16 clash against another young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion continued his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 third-round demolition of 21-year-old American Fritz in just 88 minutes of flawless tennis.
Next up is 14th seed Tsitsipas. And the 37-year-old Federer is looking forward to taking on the fiery young Greek, who is 17 years his junior.
Federer played him in the recent mixed teams Hopman Cup, winning a closely contested singles 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), and said he was impressed.
“I think he played really well there. I actually did too. I thought it was really high quality tennis,” Federer said.
“This is obviously a different type of match, it being best of five, it being a fourth round of a Slam.”


Rafael Nadal declared “everything is a step forward” after brutally brushing aside Alex de Minaur at the Australian Open Friday in just the Spaniard’s third match since the US Open.
The world No. 2 was in ominous form as he continued his quest for an 18th Grand Slam by punishing the Australian teenager in a third-round tennis masterclass 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“In general terms, everything is a step forward. So that’s positive news for me,” said the man who won the Aussie Open in 2009.
“I’m very happy for the victory against someone who had won seven matches in a row, winning a tournament.”
On his fitness Nadal added: “Probably 10 years ago it would have been difficult not playing much tennis in the build-up but now I have been in this situation many times with the injuries I have had.
“I have to deal with the ups and downs of my body but I try to enjoy any moment on the court.”


The former US Open champions was made to work for his place in the last 16 as he struggled to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3. Verdasco showed glimpses of the form that once made him a top-10 player and had a match point, one he frittered away with a double fault.
I was just slightly luckier in those crucial moments,” the sixth-seeded Cilic said.
“(It is) unbelievable. Emotions were up and down,” Cilic said.
“When I was down two sets to none, it was a big hill to climb.”
It’s the seventh time in Cilic’s career that he has emerged to win a match after dropping the opening two sets.


Second seed Kerber received a gift ride into the Australian Open fourth round for her 31st birthday when she overpowered local wildcard Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0.
The Wimbledon champion swept world No. 240 Birrell aside in just 58 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with unseeded American Danielle Collins.
Kerber, a winner at Melbourne Park in 2016, said she was used to celebrating her birthday on the road at the season-opening Grand Slam.
“I think it’s the 12th time in a row,” she said. “I’m getting older but I have the best time here and I’ll never forget my birthdays here in Australia.”
Kerber reached the semifinals last year but lost to Simona Halep in a tight three-setter.