Yasir Shah waves more magic as Pakistan beat New Zealand in Dubai to set up winner-takes-all clash

Having taken eight wickets in the first innings Yasir took another six in the second to give the hosts a chance of series glory in the UAE. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2018

Yasir Shah waves more magic as Pakistan beat New Zealand in Dubai to set up winner-takes-all clash

  • Leg-spinner records match figures of 14 for 184 the second best match return ever for Pakistan in Test cricket.
  • Series decider starts in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

DUBAI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah followed his extraordinary first innings performance with a six-wicket haul as Pakistan beat New Zealand by an innings and 16 runs in the second Test in Dubai on Tuesday to level the series 1-1.
The 32-year-old, who took eight for 41 on Monday, had figures of six for 143 in the second innings for a match haul of 14 for 184.
New Zealand — following-on after being dismissed for 90 in the first innings — were bowled out for 312 soon after tea on the fourth day.
“I came to know yesterday (about Imran Khan’s record) so it’s an honor that my name will come with him,” said Yasir.
“I haven’t bowled as well as this, especially with the pitch offering turn and bounce like it did. We wanted to put the disappointment of the first Test behind us and set up the series.”
Yasir’s figures are the second best match return ever for Pakistan in Test cricket, bettered only by former captain and current prime minister Imran Khan who took 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.
They are also the best by a Pakistani bowler against New Zealand, beating Waqar Younis’s 12 for 130 in Faisalabad in 1990.
Medium-pacer Hasan Ali was also at his best, taking three for 46 as Pakistan gained a measure of revenge for losing the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi last week.
Resuming on 131 for two and needing a further 197 to make Pakistan bat again, the New Zealand batsmen, led by Ross Taylor (82), Henry Nicholls (77) and Tom Latham (50), dug in to make things tough for the Pakistani bowlers.
Taylor smashed Hasan’s first ball of the day to the cover boundary to reach his 29th half century in Tests, a welcome return to form having scored just 21 runs in the three innings of this series.
Latham completed his 15th Test fifty but was dismissed the following ball, a little edge behind off Hasan, television umpire Ian Gould confirming that Sarfraz Ahmed had taken the catch cleanly.
Harry Nicholls came to the crease and set about frustrating the Pakistan bowlers, adding 52 with Taylor for the fourth wicket and 57 with BJ Watling for the fifth.
Taylor tried to take the attack to the bowlers, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his 82 but grew impatient after being tied down. An attempted sweep off Bilal Asif ended in a top edge that looped to deep backward square leg where Yasir took a comfortable catch.
Yasir trapped Watling leg before for 27 to end another frustrating the stand and get into the Kiwi tail. De Grandhomme made just 14 and Sodhi was bowled behind his legs for four, unwisely trying to sweep Yasir from well outside off-stump.
Nicholls stood firm amid the wreckage, striking Bilal Asif for a straight six, before Yasir nipped one between bat and pad to bowl him for 77.
It was a brave stand from Nicholls but as skipper Kane Williamson later admitted, the damage had been done in the first innings when New Zealand lost all 10 wickets for just 40 runs in 14 overs.
“We batted better in the second innings,” said Williamson. “But that session yesterday, Yasir put us under tremendous pressure and put the ball in the right areas and got us for 90. That low first innings total was always a factor.”
The end came swiftly as Yasir picked up the last two wickets in the space of four balls, Neil Wagner caught at midwicket — another man trying to sweep — and Trent Boult feathering an outside edge to Sarfraz behind the stumps.
The third and final Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Monday.

Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

Updated 08 July 2020

Lin Dan retirement ends era of ‘Chinese sports superstar’

  • The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded

SHANGHAI: The retirement of two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan signals the end of a golden era of Chinese sporting superstars, state media said on Tuesday.

Arguably the greatest badminton player of all time, the 36-year-old said on Saturday that he was bringing the curtain down on a career that also brought five world titles.

NBA All-Star Yao Ming, Olympic gold-medal hurdler Liu Xiang and two-time tennis Grand Slam champion Li Na have all retired in the last decade.

“With the ‘Super Dan’ curtain call, people cannot help but sigh,” Xinhua news agency said.

“The era of the superstar that once belonged to Chinese sports has faded.

“When will the next Lin Dan appear? Or when will the next Yao Ming, Liu Xiang and Li Na appear?

“Where is the next Chinese sports superstar who will create a collective memory for us?”

The quartet were not just world leaders in their sport and popular in China, but also had “considerable influence in the international arena and became a window for the world to understand China,” Xinhua said.

Of prominent Chinese athletes left, women’s volleyball player Zhu Ting has the potential to rise to superstar level, Xinhua said, while disgraced swimmer Sun Yang “enjoys high popularity (in China), but unfortunately he is banned.” 

The 28-year-old is appealing against an 8-year ban for refusing to give a doping sample. The three-time Olympic freestyle champion’s career will effectively be over if he loses his appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

China has world champions in other sports, and finished third behind the US and Britain in the medal table at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but they are not generally well-known even inside the country, Xinhua said.

Table tennis player Zhang Jike, another three-time Olympic gold medalist, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Lin, said the Oriental Sports Daily.

But at 32 his best days are behind him and as far back as 2016 he signaled his intention to retire, before having a change of heart.

“When will the next Lin Dan and China’s next sports superstar appear again?” asked the newspaper.

“This question may not be answered in a short space of time.”