New Zealand pair frustrate Pakistan and Yasir Shah in Abu Dhabi

The New Zealand skipper batted well for his 89 in the UAE capital. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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New Zealand pair frustrate Pakistan and Yasir Shah in Abu Dhabi

  • Black Caps dig in after loss of early wickets in winner-takes-all clash.
  • Yasir Shah needs just two more wickets to become quickest man to 200 Test scalps.

ABU DHABI: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson hit a fighting half century while BJ Watling batted with patience to delay leg-spinner Yasir Shah’s bid to become the fastest to 200 wickets on the first day of the third and final Test in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Williamson missed out on a 19th Test century but Watling was unbeaten on 42 as New Zealand closed on 229 for seven, a measured recovery after being reduced to 72 for four by a triple strike from Yasir in the first session.
Yasir began his 33rd Test needing five wickets to become the fastest man to reach the milestone of 200 Test wickets. The record is currently 36 Tests, set 82 years ago by Australian legspinner Clarrie Grimmett.
Yasir ended the day with three for 62 but was then thwarted by the fifth wicket stand of 104 in 249 balls between Williamson and Watling.
He failed to take any more wickets in the last two sessions and still needs another two wickets to hit the 200-mark and claim the record.
Williamson struck seven boundaries but these were the bright points in a day when defense came first.
The normally robust and aggressive Kiwi captain curbed his attacking instinct as he attmpted to carve out a first innings that might give his side some leverage in the match. The scoring rarely got above two an over.
Watling also dug in and the pair batted right through the middle session.
Williamson passed 50 in a Test for the 46th time but he was not able to convert his innings into another hundred. Having reached 89 off 176 balls, he mistimed a clip off Hasan Ali shortly after tea and found a gleeful Asad Shafiq oouching the catch at short midwicket.
Off-spinner Bilal Asif took over from Yasir, claiming Colin de Grandhomme for 20 and Tim Southee for two to finish with two for 57.
But Watling kept one end intact through his patient near-four hour batting, hitting only one boundary in his 180-ball display of self-denial.
With both teams needing a win to seal a series which is currently tied at 1-1, Yasir was the key and the leg-spinner induced a mini-collapse in the morning as the Kiwis slipped from 70 for one to 73 for four at lunch.
Yasir trapped opener Jeet Raval leg before with a faster one for 45. Raval reviewed but ball-tracking showed it would have hit leg stump.
With his next ball, Yasir clean-bowled Ross Taylor as the batsman went back but completely missed the ball.
Henry Nicholls saved the hat-trick but shortly after he attempted to sweep and Yasir flicking the ball as it went through to bowl him around his legs.
Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series in Dubai, has 25 wickets in the series so far.
It was teenage left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi, making his Test debut as a replacement for injured medium pacer Mohammad Abbas, who gave Pakistan their initial breakthrough and claim his first Test victim.
The 18-year-old nipped one back sharply to rap opener Tom Latham on the pads. Pakistan reviewed the on-field not out decision and were rewarded when ball-tracking showed the ball would have cannoned into the stumps.
New Zealand, who won the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi, brought in fast bowler Tim Southee and off-spinner Will Somerville in place of Neil Wagner and Ish Sodhi.


Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

Updated 19 May 2019
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Green triple-double fuels Warriors’ comeback win

  • The Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland
  • The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter

LOS ANGELES: Draymond Green exploded for a seventh career playoff triple-double Saturday as the Golden State Warriors rallied for a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland and a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
The two-time defending champion Warriors trailed by as many as 18 in the second quarter, but with Green driving them they produced another dominant third period to seize control of the contest and the series.
No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win an NBA playoff series. The Trail Blazers will try to fend off elimination when they host game four on Monday.
Green scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists, keeping the Warriors afloat in the first half before superstar Stephen Curry came alive with 21 of his 36 points after the interval.
“There aren’t many guys in the game that can (affect both ends of the floor),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green beforehand. “Draymond can do both.”
His intensity was on display on both ends of the court, and on the sidelines as he exhorted teammates to keep pushing.
Klay Thompson added 19 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Kevin Durant.
“All my teammates, my coaches have been telling me, ‘Draymond, get to the hole, be aggressive,’” Green said of his mindset.
“We’ve got guys out there, Steph, Klay and those guys who draw a lot of attention, so it’s on me to do my job and come through for those guys.”
CJ McCollum led Portland with 23 points. Damian Lillard, relentlessly double-teamed by the Warriors, added 19 points.
Center Meyers Leonard, making just his third start of the season, finished with 16 points.
Leonard made the most of his opportunity early, connecting on five of seven shots from the field in the first half on the way to 13 points.
The Trail Blazers, energized in front of a rowdy home crowd at the Moda Center, quickly built a 10-point lead before the Warriors trimmed it to two — 29-27 — at the end of the first quarter.
But the Blazers kept the pressure on, stretching the lead to 18 in the second quarter.
A steal by Lillard produced a thunderous dunk from Leonard, then Portland’s Seth Curry stole the ball from his superstar brother Stephen and raced for a three-pointer that made it 60-42 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.
Portland took a 66-53 lead into the locker room, but the Warriors responded with a monster third quarter, using a 22-6 scoring run to take their first lead of the game, 77-76 on a layup by Kevin Looney — assisted by Green.
Golden State out-scored Portland 29-13 in the quarter to lead by three heading into the final frame.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 11 with 4:51 remaining and the Trail Blazers wouldn’t get the deficit below eight from there.