Sarfraz Ahmed settles for draw after Australia battle back to claim draw in Dubai

Aussie opener Khawaja scored his first century in Asia with a brilliant, match-saving 141 in the UAE. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018

Sarfraz Ahmed settles for draw after Australia battle back to claim draw in Dubai

  • Baggy Greens display grit and determination to save first Test.
  • Sharfraz happy with character shown by Pakistan over the five days.

DUBAI: Sarfraz Ahmed said he had no regrets after Pakistan failed to secure victory over Australia in the first Test in Dubai.
The hosts went into the last day needing five wickets to win the first of the two-match series. But a brilliant 141 from Baggy Greens opener Usman Khawaja, a 61 not out from skipper Tim Paine and 72 from Travis Head frustrated Pakistan as the tourists finished the day on 362 for eight.
That left the Pakistan captain with a case of what might have been, but Sarfraz said he could not fault the effort of his side.
“We hoped to roll them out but we have to give credit to Khawaja, we must give him credit,” he said.
“We need to work hard — in Tests you learn (quickly).
“We have little things to work on. We should praise (Mohammad Abbas) a lot. The way he bowled on this pitch was tremendous.
“The batsmen who got their opportunities also took them. That’s a positive. We could have won this but Tests are like this. We’re sad, but the opposition also played well and we need to acknowledge that.”
Australia’s hero was Khawaja, who started the day on 50 not out as Australia resumed on 136 for three, chasing 462 for an unlikely victory.
Khawaja and Head added 79 before lunch as Pakistan failed to take a wicket in the first session. The pair eventually put on an invaluable 132 runs for the fourth wicket.
Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan but moved to Australia as a child, batted for eight hours 44 minutes and faced 302 balls before he was sixth man out in the final session. He was trapped leg-before sweeping Yasir Shah.
Khawaja’s innings was the second longest in the fourth innings of a Test, behind England’s Michael Atherton’s 645-minute vigil in scoring 185 not out against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1995. It was the highest fourth-innings score by any visiting batsman in Asia, beating New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori’s 140 made at Colombo against Sri Lanka nine years ago.
Pakistan started the day needing seven wickets to win but nothing worked for skipper Sarfraz, despite multiple bowling changes.
Pakistan could have had Head leg-before off leg-spinner Yasir on 44, but Sarfraz did not review umpire Richard Kettleborough’s not out decision. Replays showed the ball was hitting the stumps.
Pakistan were only rewarded when they took the second new ball as soon as it was due and Mohammad Hafeez trapped Head leg-before with the first ball. Australia wobbled but Khawaja and Paine, who batted for over three hours, ensured a draw.
The second Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Oct. 16.


Masters champions Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia join Henrik Stenson in returning for Saudi International

Updated 11 November 2019

Masters champions Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia join Henrik Stenson in returning for Saudi International

  • Dustin Johnson and world No. 1 Brooks Koepka confirmed their return last month
  • They will be joined by Ireland’s latest major winner Shane Lowry

JEDDAH: Former Masters champions Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia will return for the 2020 Saudi International, with 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson also returning, after making their Royal Greens Golf & Country Club debut earlier this year, it was announced on Monday.
They will be joined by the reigning Open Champion, Shane Lowry, who will make his first appearance when he arrives to compete for a prize fund of $3.5 million.
This follows on from defending champion Dustin Johnson and world No. 1 Brooks Koepka confirming their return last month as the event looks to build on an official strength of field rating that saw it ranked the third highest non-Major event of 2019.
Reed, who plays most of his golf on the PGA Tour but joined the European Tour in 2015, is the third high profile American to confirm their attendance and is excited to build on the positive effect the event had on introducing the game to the people of Saudi Arabia back in January.
“I loved playing in Saudi Arabia last year,” he said.
“The golf facilities at Royal Greens are world class and I was honored to be part of history at the Saudi Golf Federation’s first professional event. I was also lucky enough to be invited to one of the local schools and it was really rewarding to meet the kids and talk to them about golf and what we were doing there that week.
“To see all those school kids come out to the course and watch us play on the weekend was an incredible experience. Golf Saudi is doing a fantastic job of growing the game and I hope I can help further their progress in the future,” he added.
European Ryder Cup stars Stenson and Garcia will return to Royal Greens Golf & Country Club for a second year having both previously captured titles in the Middle East – in Dubai and Qatar, respectively – and are currently ranked 40 and 39 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
They will be joined by Ireland’s latest major winner, Lowry, who himself tasted success in the Middle East, claiming the title in Abu Dhabi en route to his famous victory at Royal Portrush back in July. He will therefore head to the Kingdom off the back of a sensational season that has seen him climb to 19 in the rankings, as he sets his sights on a maiden Ryder Cup appearance next September.
“I’ve heard a lot of the guys on Tour saying they really enjoyed the Saudi International tournament last year, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it for myself,” said Lowry, who has won five times on the European Tour.
“The golf course sounds like it’s in great condition and by all accounts the hospitality around the event is first class. I’m looking forward to playing there for the first time and continuing the European Tour’s goal of growing the game of golf in new countries.”
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “We have a vision for golf to help transform Saudi Arabia and become a premier golf destination. It is therefore extremely important for us drive the game forward both here and around the world by hosting the best players at the Saudi International.
“Last year we were extremely pleased with the support we received and it will be a pleasure to welcome these four world-renowned major champions to King Abdullah Economic City and Royal Greens Golf & Country Club for the second hosting of the tournament.”
“We are delighted to have this unique international golf tournament in its second edition and excited to be welcoming back the world-renowned golfers to King Abdullah Economic City,” said Mr. Ahmed Linjawy, Group CEO of KAEC.
“KAEC aims to make the city among the top attractive tourism destination on the Red Sea in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The Royal Greens Golf & Country Club is a stunning multi global award winning development and proud jewel of the city’s rapidly growing leisure and sport facilities offering.”
Royal Greens Golf & Country Club lies along the spectacular Red Sea coastline and is set alongside stunning residential and recreational facilities. The club not only boasts a championship golf course and world-class practice facilities but a state-of-the-art clubhouse which was recently voted the ‘Best Golf Clubhouse 2019’ and ‘Best Course in Saudi 2019’ by the World Golf Awards.
Aiming to attract the best players in the world, the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will place a special focus on families, community, charity and junior development as the Kingdom looks to develop its golfing pedigree.
Partner support as the tournament heads into the second year remains as strong as ever with SoftBank Investment Advisers, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Rolex, Saddik & Mohamed Attar, Saudi Cargo and Invest Saudi all committing to the championship for another year, with Samba joining for 2020.