Fakhar and Sarfraz lead Pakistan fightback after Lyon strikes

Pakistan's batsmen Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed run between wickets during their test match against Australia in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Fakhar and Sarfraz lead Pakistan fightback after Lyon strikes

  • Sarfraz was frustrated to miss his fourth Test hundred but happy with the fightback
  • Lyon then took four wickets in six balls at the total of 57

ABU DHABI: Debutant opener Fakhar Zaman and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed missed hundreds by six runs each but still revived Pakistan on the first day of the second and final Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Fakhar and Sarfraz scored 94 each and helped Pakistan recover from 57-5 to a total of 282 after winning the toss and electing to bat on a slow turning pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Before the close Pakistan grabbed two wickets, including that of Usman Khawaja for three, as Australia finished on 20-2, with Aaron Finch on 13 and nightwatchman Peter Siddle dismissed off the last ball of the day for four.

Australia trail Pakistan by 262 runs with eight wickets intact.

Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas had Khawaja -- who scored a fighting 141 to lead Australia's fightback for a draw in the first Test in Dubai last week -- caught behind for his 50th Test wicket in 10 Tests.

Abbas became joint second-fastest Pakistani to the milestone of 50 wickets with Waqar Younis, Mohammad Asif and Shabbir Ahmed. The record is held by team-mate Yasir Shah who completed 50 wickets in nine matches.
Abbas then trapped Siddle to finish on 9-2.

Sarfraz was frustrated to miss his fourth Test hundred but happy with the fightback.

"Yes, its disappointing to miss a hundred but I am happy the way we revived the innings and then got two wickets, including that of Khawaja, so for me it is an even position," said Sarfraz who was hit on the left forearm by a rising delivery from Mitchell Starc.

"At the moment I am feeling discomfort and if there is swelling tommorrow then we can summon reserve wicketkeeper as per the new rules," said Sarfraz.

Earlier Zaman and Sarfraz found form with fighting and innings-reviving knocks, taking the attack to the Australian bowlers after spinner Nathan Lyon had rocked Pakistan in the morning, reaching lunch with figures of 4-12.

Zaman hit eight boundaries and a six in his enterprising knock as he and Sarfraz added 147 runs. Zaman was trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Marnus Labuschagne for 94, becoming the fourth Pakistan batsmen to be dismissed in the 90s on his debut.

Sarfraz then holed out to Labuschagne, who finished with 3-45. Sarfraz hit seven boundaries in his 94.

In the first session, pace bowler Starc provided Australia with an early breakthrough in the third over when Mohammad Hafeez fell to a freakish catch at short leg by Labuschagne for four.

Lyon then took four wickets in six balls at the total of 57.
He dismissed Azhar Ali, caught and bowled for 15 in his fourth over, and next ball had Haris Sohail caught close to the wicket for nought.

In his next over, Lyon had Asad Shafiq caught at short leg and two balls later bowled Babar Azam, who had come dancing down the wicket.

Australia kept the same eleven from the drawn first Test in Dubai while Pakistan replaced injured Imam-ul-Haq and Wahab Riaz with Zaman and Mir Hamza.


Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

Updated 13 November 2019

Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

  • Austrian fifth seed took fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph

LONDON: Dominic Thiem produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing a shootout against Roger Federer.

In the standout match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian fifth seed took the fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)

Earlier, Federer put himself back in the mix at the end-of-season event with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.

Federer and Djokovic will face off on Thursday in a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg.

Thiem was forced to play high-stakes tennis against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, taking the breath away with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands

Forced to play at his limit, he hit 50 winners compared with Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced errors.

“This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practiced all my life for, all my childhood for,” Thiem said.

“Really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game. And also I’ve qualified for the semifinals, which is the best.

“Coming back from 1-4 (down in the deciding tie-break) was a little bit of luck, but it was an unbelievable match and one I’ll never forget. Novak is the best player in the world and I had to do something special.”

In a captivating first set the players swapped a break apiece but Djokovic, a five-time ATP Finals champion, edged the tie-break.

Undaunted, Thiem broke his opponent at the first opportunity in the second set and, with Djokovic’s error count climbing, went on to level the match.

Thiem also drew first blood in the decider but cracked in the sixth game as Djokovic levelled the match and appeared to have engineered a switch in momentum.

The Austrian successfully challenged at 30-30 in the 10th game after his forehand was ruled out, preventing a match point for Djokovic and he toughed it out to level at 5-5.

He then broke Djokovic to love to earn a chance to serve for the match but stumbled and the decider went to a tie-break.

Still the drama was not finished. Thiem slipped to 4-1 down but battled back to win it on his second match point when Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net.

Third seed Federer had put himself under the cosh by losing his opening round-robin match to Thiem. The six-time champion was not at his fluent best on Tuesday but ultimately had too much for his Italian opponent.

The Swiss upped his game to take the first set tie-break comfortably and broke immediately at the start of the second set to leave the big-serving Berrettini with too much to do.

Federer was asked after his win against Berrettini whether his defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon had left emotional or mental scars.

“We’ll find out, but I think it’s all flushed away from my side,” said the Swiss.

“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Djokovic is hunting a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer’s record and is also seeking to pip Rafael Nadal to the year-end number one ranking.

On Monday, top seed Nadal lost his opener in Group Andre Agassi to defending champion Alexander Zverev while Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev.