Mohammad Abbas strikes again to lead Pakistan to Test series win over Australia

Pakistan cricketers celebrate after dismissing Australian cricketer Aaron Finch during day four of the second Test match between Australia and Pakistan at Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 19, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2018

Mohammad Abbas strikes again to lead Pakistan to Test series win over Australia

  • Australia was bowled out for 164 after lunch on the fourth day after given an improbable winning target of 538
  • Right-arm seamer Mohammad Abbas grabbed a match haul of 10-95

ABU DHABI: Seamer Mohammad Abbas grabbed a match haul of 10-95 as Pakistan recorded an emphatic 373-run victory over Australia in the second test to clinch the series 1-0 on Friday.
Australia was bowled out for 164 after lunch on the fourth day after given an improbable winning target of 538.
Usman Khawaja, whose herculean century helped Australia salvage a draw in the first test, couldn’t bat in the second innings after tearing a left knee cartilage in the warmup on Thursday.
Australia sorely missed Khawaja-like grit from any of its batsmen on Friday.
Abbas, on a slow turning pitch, again jolted the top order with four quick wickets in the first hour on day four. The right-arm seamer then had top scorer Marnus Labuschagne caught behind for 43 after lunch to finish with 5-62 to go along with his first innings effort of 5-33.
Legspinner Yasir Shah ran through the tailenders with 3-45, finishing off the match by having Jon Holland caught in the slips on 3.
Looking to hold out for more than two days for a draw, Australia began the day on 47-1.
Travis Head (36) and Aaron Finch (31) stretched their second-wicket stand to 61 runs before Abbas struck four blows in a high-class exhibition of seam and swing bowling.
Head edged to substitute wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, standing in after captain Sarfraz Ahmed went to hospital for precautionary scans when he woke up on Friday and complained of headaches.
Abbas then had Mitchell Marsh lbw on 5 when Pakistan successfully went for a video referral against umpire Richard Illingworth’s not out decision.
Pakistan stand-in captain Asad Shafiq outsmarted Finch’s tactic of standing well outside his crease while facing Abbas, by making Rizwan stand close to the stumps, forcing the batsman inside the crease. The switch paid off as Abbas trapped Finch lbw.
Two balls later, captain Tim Paine was out without scoring while trying to leave a ball that nipped back enough and knocked over the off stump.
Shah then had Mitchell Starc (28) and Peter Siddle (3) both leg before wicket. Siddle could have survived but chose not to go for a video referral as the replays suggested the ball pitched outside leg stump.
Labuschagne shared the best partnership of the innings by adding 67 runs with Starc for the sixth wicket before Abbas returned after lunch and had him caught behind off a short-pitched delivery.


Pakistan: No more international cricket at neutral venues

Updated 10 December 2019

Pakistan: No more international cricket at neutral venues

  • Pakistan Cricket Board chief says the country is safe for international cricket
  • Pakistan’s decade-long isolation from hosting test cricket ends on Wednesday when Sri Lanka will play at Pindi Cricket Stadium

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan will no longer look for neutral venues to stage home international cricket matches.
“The onus will be on the other teams to tell us why they can’t play in Pakistan,” Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“Our default position will remain that Pakistan is safe. We play cricket in Pakistan (and if) you want to play against Pakistan you have to come to Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s decade-long isolation from hosting test cricket ends on Wednesday when Sri Lanka will play at Pindi Cricket Stadium. The second test will be in Karachi from Dec. 19-23. The series is part of the world test championship.
Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test in Pakistan in 2009. Terrorists attacked the team’s bus in Lahore and eight people were killed. Several Sri Lanka players and team officials were injured. The ambush shut the door on international cricket in Pakistan. The PCB organized almost all of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.
In the last four years, the PCB staged short limited-overs tours against the likes of Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and a World XI to show the cricket world it could host tours safely. Sri Lanka agreed to play two test matches in Pakistan only after it visited Karachi and Lahore three months ago and played an incident-free series of one-day internationals and Twenty20s.
“It’s only logical that cricket comes home,” Mani said. “People have a perception of Pakistan which is very, very different to the reality of what is happening on the ground in Pakistan today.
“The concerns that people had about Pakistan, certainly for the last year or two, were not what the ground reality is.”
Top cricketing officials from Australia, England, Ireland, and the international players’ association have visited Pakistan in the last six months.
“When they see the ground reality, it’s a different attitude,” Mani said. “In fact, it was very nicely put by the chief executive of Cricket Ireland. He said, “I have to think of a reason why we shouldn’t be coming to Pakistan.’”
Mani said he’s had discussions with officials from Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board and he hoped that both countries will tour Pakistan in the next three years.
“I am absolutely confident that in 2021 we’ll have England and in 2022 we’ll have Australia,” he said.
“We’re not due to play New Zealand now till about 2023-24, but our default position is that Pakistan will play all its home matches in Pakistan.”
Despite the impending return of test cricket, Mani conceded there might not be a capacity crowd for the test, in stark contrast to the packed stadiums in Lahore in October when Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the T20 series.
“Look, test cricket had been losing (crowd) support in the subcontinent, in fact around the world apart from England and Australia,” he said.
“People prefer to go and watch the white-ball cricket (T20s and ODIs) but it doesn’t mean that people don’t follow test cricket. You’ll probably find that people watch test cricket at home on television and through the telephone or whatever these days as much as they’ve ever done.
“We haven’t had much time to do the marketing for this (Rawalpindi test) but going forward we’re going to be working very hard to ensure that we can get young people in with the schools and college students, support them to come at little or no cost, give them exposure to cricket.”