Yasir Shah in shock as star spinner sends New Zealand tumbling in Dubai

Yasir wreaked havoc in Dubai as New Zealand fell from 50 without loss to 90 all out. (AFP)
Updated 26 November 2018
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Yasir Shah in shock as star spinner sends New Zealand tumbling in Dubai

  • Yasir becomes the first bowler to take 100 Test wickets in the UAE.
  • Black Caps need another 197 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

LONDON:

Yasir Shah said that he was shocked to have taken 10 wickets in a day as Pakistan took a stranglehold on the second Test against New Zealand.

The hosts were already in a dominant position heading into day three with their batsmen putting on 418 for five declared. 

But once the teams made it out to the middle after a rare rain delay in the UAE, Yasir weaved his magic, taking eight for 41 as the Black Caps were bowled out for 90. 

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed enforced the follow-on and his star spinner took another two scalps as the tourists showed some fight to end the day on 131 for two. 

There was little doubting who the day belonged to as Yasir claimed his best Test figures — the third best by a Pakistani — and became the first bowler to take 100 Test wickets in the UAE. 

The 32-year-old has long been viewed as the best leg spinner in the world, but even he admitted to being surprised that he took 10 wickets on an eventful day in Dubai. 

“When I was coming to the ground I was thinking that I must get ten wickets in the match, but never thought it (would) come in a single day,” Yasir said.

“I came from injury and didn’t get the needed rhythm against Australia (last month) but now I am getting it and very happy to achieve this feat.”

Even though the pitch was turning from the first ball, New Zealand looked comfortable at 50 without loss. But then Yasir wreaked havoc as Kane Williamson’s side crumbled, losing all 10 wickets for just 40 runs. 

Yasir dismissed Tom Latham (22), Ross Taylor (nought) and Henry Nicholls (nought) in his ninth over, and from that moment Pakistan sniffed the possibility of a huge first-innings lead. 

It was Yasir who ran Bradley-John Watling out soon after lunch for one before dismissing Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult — all without scoring in the space of nine balls.

Six Kiwi batsmen fell without scoring, making it the fifth occasion in a Test when six batsmen failed to score in an innings.

At stumps New Zealand were 131 for two following on, and once again it was Yasir who did the damage, taking both wickets. New Zealand needing another 197 runs to avoid an innings defeat. 

Pakistan can level the series by taking another eight wickets with two days to play.


Fognini tops Lajovic to claim Monte Carlo Masters

Updated 21 April 2019
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Fognini tops Lajovic to claim Monte Carlo Masters

  • Fabio Fognini defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday
  • Fognini is only the fourth man to win the clay-court event since Nadal’s first of a record 11 wins in 2005

MONACO: Fabio Fognini won the biggest title of his career after beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the Monte Carlo Masters final.
The 13th-seeded Italian’s first title of the year was his ninth overall but first at Masters level.
It came the day after he stunned defending champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets, becoming the first player to beat Nadal here since Novak Djokovic in the 2015 semifinals.
“It has been an incredible week, I will keep working,” Fognini said. “I started the season badly so this is unbelievable.”
After going out in the third round of the Australian Open, Fognini had won only one match and lost six times before this tournament.
Playing here may have given him a boost, however, since he grew up in nearby San Remo — just over the Italian border and a short drive or train ride away along the glittering Mediterranean coast.
The 48th-ranked Lajovic’s run to his first career final was unexpected. But the unseeded Serb rarely threatened in humid, overcast and slightly windy conditions.
Fognini needed a medical timeout to receive treatment to his right foot and right thigh after the fifth game of the second set.
But it did not impede him as he served out the match, clinching victory on his second match point when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.
The players hugged warmly at the net.
The 31-year-old Fognini is only the fourth man to win the clay-court event since Nadal’s first of a record 11 wins in 2005. Djokovic, twice, and Stan Wawrinka also won.
The last Italian before Fognini was Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968.
The 85-year-old Pietrangeli, a two-time French Open winner, stood and applauded as Fognini dropped to his knees to kiss the surface.
Pietrangeli walked gingerly onto the court and the pair hugged. Pietrangeli posed alongside Fognini as he held the trophy
The match started evenly enough, but Fognini broke for a 4-2 lead when Lajovic made an unforced error on forehand. Fognini then held his serve with a typically flamboyant one-handed, cross-court backhand to take control.
Serving for the set, Fognini saved a break point with a forehand winner down the line, and then clinched it with an equally good backhand.
Fognini broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.
After Fognini’s medical timeout, Lajovic missed an easy smash at 30-30 in the next game.
With that miss, his slim hopes faded.