Khawaja stars again for Australia as Pakistan pace duo shine

By Sports Desk March 21, 2022

Usman Khawaja's superb series in the country of his birth continued but Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah ensured day one of the decisive Test between Pakistan and Australia ended finely poised.

Draws in the first two Tests set up a winner-take-all contest in Lahore, where the surface appears to have plenty in it for the bowlers to ensure a result this time around.

Shaheen's blistering start suggested as much, as the Pakistan seamer removed David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in the space of three deliveries to leave Australia reeling on 8-2.

But Khawaja, born in Pakistan, once again excelled with the bat, he and Steve Smith leading the Australia response to help them fight back to reach 232-5 at stumps. Khawaja was denied a second century of the series, as a stunning one-handed catch at slip from Babar Azam saw him out for 91.

Bowlers have consistently had to work hard for wickets in an attritional series but when Shaheen had Warner (7) trapped lbw and Labuschagne edged a poor shot behind to fall for a duck, Pakistan had hope of blitzing their way through a frequently steadfast Australia batting order.

Any such prospect was extinguished by the partnership of Khawaja and Smith (59), the latter recording his third successive half-century as they put on 138 for the third wicket.

But Naseem had Smith trapped in front to end his hopes of converting his fifty into a hundred and Khawaja was then denied three figures by Sajid Khan and the brilliance of Babar.

An excellent length delivery from Naseem removed Travis Head for 26, though Cameron Green and Alex Carey's unbroken partnership of 26 from 42 balls gave Australia reason for hope at the close.

Khawaja shows his class again

After falling three short of a hometown century at Rawalpindi in the opener, Khawaja - having hit a brilliant 160 in the second Test - again fell in the 90s here, but his consistency since returning to Test set-up in January has been remarkable. He has now scored at least 90 in five of his last eight innings.

Smith closing on 8,000

Smith did not review the delivery that ended his innings, but there must have been a great deal of temptation to do so given his dismissal left him just seven runs shy of 8,000 in the longest format.

Related items

  • Man of the Match Rovman Powell scores unbeaten 61 to lead West Indies to 35-run victory over Bangladesh Man of the Match Rovman Powell scores unbeaten 61 to lead West Indies to 35-run victory over Bangladesh

    man of the Match Rovman Powell scored a quick-fire unbeaten half-century as the West Indies sealed a 35–run victory in the second T20 International against Bangladesh and take a 1-0 lead in their three-match series in Dominica on Sunday.

    Chasing 194 for victory, Bangladesh scored 158-6 off their 20 overs.

    Shakib al Hasan’s unbeaten 68 took the tourists close but the West Indies bowlers were always on top, notwithstanding a few big overs for Bangladesh near the end.

    Romario Shepherd took 2-38 and Obed McCoy, who took wickets with the first two balls he bowled in the match, returned figures of 2-37, 20 of them conceded in the 19th over of the match.

    Shakib, who during the match, became the only batsman to score 2000 runs and take more than 100 wickets in T20 history, featured in partnerships of 53 with Afif Hossain who scored 34 from 27 balls. The latter was dismissed as the visitors slumped to 78-4 in the 11th over.

    Shakib and Mossadek Hossain added another 53 for the sixth wicket but with the required run rate steadily climbing, Bangladesh’s chances of victory seemed remote.

    The West Indies won the toss and chose to bat, scoring 193-5 from their 50 overs.

    Brandon King scored 50 as the West Indies sought to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first match on Saturday ended in a no-result because of rain.

    After losing Shamarh Brooks for a duck and Kyle Mayers for 17, King and Captain Nicholas Pooran shared in a third-wicket stand of 74.

    Pooran smashed three fours and a six in his 30-ball 34 before he was trapped lbw by Mossadek Hossain. His departure saw the arrival of his vice-captain, who after a tentative start exploded against the Bangladesh attack.

    Powell and King shared in a 63-run fourth-wicket partnership from just 29 balls when King whose 50 came up off 36 balls with six fours and a six, got out caught by Shakib Al Hasan trying to hit Shoriful Islam over the boundary.

    Powell, meantime, showed little mercy racing to 50 from 20 balls. Twenty-three of those runs came in the 16 over when he hit Shakib for three sixes and a four. He remained unbeaten on 61 from just 28 balls. He hit two fours and six sixes, the last of which came from the last ball of the innings when he clubbed Shoriful over the deep midwicket boundary.

    Romario Shepherd made three and was replaced by Odean Smith, who hit the third ball of the final over to end unbeaten on 11 from just four balls.

    Shoriful returned figures of 2-40 while there was a wicket each for Shakib (1-38), Mahedi Hasan (1-31) and Mossadek (1-0).

     

     

     

     

     

  • Wimbledon: Sinner labels Alcaraz triumph one of his best after sinking Spanish star's hopes Wimbledon: Sinner labels Alcaraz triumph one of his best after sinking Spanish star's hopes

    Jannik Sinner said his win over Carlos Alcaraz ranked among the highlights of his young career after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals with an impressive 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 victory.

    The 20-year-old Italian converted his sixth match point of an enthralling encounter on Centre Court to reach his third grand slam quarter-final.

    The contest had been billed as a clash between two of the sport's future superstars, with their combined age the lowest in a fourth-round grand slam match since Juan Martin del Potro faced Kei Nishikori at the 2008 US Open.

    At 19 years and 66 days old, Alcaraz had become the youngest male player to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon since 2011, and Sinner was keen to credit his opponent after a battle which lasted three hours and 35 minutes.

    "First of all, Carlos is a very tough opponent and a very nice person, so it's always a huge pleasure for me to play against him," Sinner said.

    "Today was such a great crowd and especially today, 100 years [since Centre Court opened]… it's just amazing.

    "It's tough when you have match point and you still have to play. It's part of the game, part of tennis, and obviously I'm very happy with how I reacted.

    "I'm very happy to be in the next round, and hopefully I can play some good tennis also in the next round."

    Sinner, who boasts a 5-0 record against Spanish players in 2022, was asked where the triumph ranked among the best moments of his career.

    He said: "In the top list, for sure. I didn't expect it because I was not playing so well on the grass.

    "Then match after match I was better, I won my first grass-court match here in the first round, and now I'm here in the quarter-finals. I tried to adapt myself and the crowd helps me a lot."

    Sinner had previously lost four fourth-round meetings with top-10 players at grand slams, being beaten by Alexander Zverev at the 2020 French Open and 2021 US Open, Rafael Nadal at the 2021 French Open, and Andrey Rublev at Roland Garros last month.

    Sinner also improved his 2022 record against top-10 opponents to 2-5 with the victory, with his only previous win coming against Rublev at the Monte Carlo Masters.

  • India recover from Bairstow century to build commanding third-day lead over England India recover from Bairstow century to build commanding third-day lead over England

    India recovered from Jonny Bairstow clinching yet another century to finish an eventful third day of the fourth Test against England with a healthy 257-run lead.

    Bairstow led a fine England counter in a thrilling morning session, bringing up his third century in as many Tests as the hosts looked to make up for a poor start to their first innings.

    But after Bairstow's team-mates toiled in being bowled out for 284, India recovered from the early loss of Shubman Gill to reach 125-3 by close of play, leaving the hosts with it all to do on day four. 

    The hosts enjoyed some good fortune upon resuming, with skipper Ben Stokes (25-36) being dropped in inexplicable fashion by Jasprit Bumrah before gifting the visiting captain a catch with an identical shot off the very next ball.

    As has often been the case since Brendon McCullum took charge, England were left to rely on the brilliant Bairstow, who dragged them into contention by bringing up his century – the 11th of his Test career - off 119 balls shortly after lunch.

    But their momentum dissipated when Mohammed Shami had him caught for 106 off 140 to reduce England to 241-7, before Mohammed Siraj dismissed Stuart Broad (1-5) in the very next over and finished the innings 4-66 after accounting for Sam Billings (36-57) and Matthew Potts (19-18).

    Needing a fast start to have any hope of teeing up another successful chase, England were boosted when James Anderson had Gill (4-3) caught at slip, his fourth Test dismissal of the India opener.

    Broad and Stokes then claimed a wicket apiece as Hanuma Vihari (11-44) and the out-of-form Virat Kohli (20-44) were felled, before Cheteshwar Pujara bought up a slow half-century off 139 balls. 

    He and Rishabh Pant (30 not out) were then content to see the day out in quiet fashion, with England now requiring wickets to fall quickly on Monday.

    Brilliant Bairstow drags England into contention

    The pressure was on when England resumed on Sunday, and Bairstow – so often the key man in the early days of McCullum's red-ball revolution, stepped up after a bout of sledging from Kohli.

    In recording his first century against India in Test cricket, Bairstow went from 13 off 61 balls to 100 off 119, going up through the gears in rapid fashion when England needed him most.

    Siraj halts hosts' progress

    With England having recovered from 84-5 to 241-7 by Bairstow's dismissal, India could have been forgiven for thinking back to the way McCullum's men conducted three successful chases of over 250 against New Zealand in their recent series whitewash.

    But Siraj stepped up to claim a four-wicket haul as India held off their hosts, leaving England requiring something special to level the series at 2-2.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.