Australia complete great escape after Khawaja heroics

By Sports Desk October 11, 2018

Usman Khawaja made a magnificent resilient hundred before Tim Paine and Nathan Lyon denied Pakistan as Australia produced a monumental rearguard action to draw the first Test in Dubai.

Pakistan needed seven

wickets on the final day to go 1-0 up in the two-match series after Australia resumed on 136-3, needing a highly unlikely 462 to win, but Khawaja (141) and Travis Head (72) frustrated them with a fourth-wicket stand of 132.

Khawaja made the highest scoring in the fourth innings of a Test in the United Arab Emirates, spending 524 minutes at the crease  - taking him to 767 in total -  in a heroic 302-ball knock, but the tourists looked to be heading for defeat when Yasir Shah took three late wickets.

Pakistan had 12.2 overs to claim the two wickets they needed for victory after Yasir (4-114) removed Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in quick succession, but Paine (61 not out) and Lyon (5no) dug in under pressure to complete a great escape, Australia closing on 362/8.

Australia collapsed with a whimper in the first innings, but Islamabad-born opener Khawaja - who top scored with 85 in the first innings - batted with remarkable application and skill as he and Head ensured no wickets fell in the morning session.

Pakistan struck twice before tea and although Yasir produced a huge twist late in the day, Paine faced 194 balls in a brilliant captain's knock and Lyon also showed great character to rescue Australia.

Related items

  • Broad expects sledging to subside in 2019 Ashes Broad expects sledging to subside in 2019 Ashes

    Stuart Broad believes recent events indicate sledging will be less of a factor in the 2019 Ashes between England and Australia. 

    The five-match series begins at Edgbaston on August 1 and Broad expects the tourists to be on their best behaviour as Australia continue to rebuild their reputation following last year's ball-tampering scandal. 

    But the bowler also pointed to the actions of Joe Root last week, the England skipper earning praise for challenging a comment from West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel. 

    "If the stump mics had been turned up in 2017-18, the umpires would have been a lot busier than they have been this week, the way the Australians went about their business," Broad wrote in the Daily Mail. 

    "I don't think it will be an overly verbal series this summer because Australia will be under pressure to maintain their new culture of behaviour, and the kind of guy their captain Tim Paine is, I am not sure he would stand for too much nonsense. 

    "As we have seen this week, Joe Root doesn't either and we saw great leadership from him on the field. It wasn't a set-up, he wasn’t told to say that. Those were his natural emotions coming out." 

    England avoided a whitewash with a 232-run win in the third Test against West Indies last week and Broad is bullish about the team's Ashes chances on home soil.

    "We know it will be fiercely competitive for sure, that they have a strong team and it will arguably be stronger with players like Steve Smith and David Warner coming back," he added. 

    "But we know we're a good team and we got back to our strengths this week, with the return of our engine room of Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali at numbers six, seven, eight, and Joe Root coming into the runs at a good time for us. 

    "I would imagine we will go in as favourites. Australia haven't won an Ashes series in England since 2001 and it's really tough to win away from home these days. 

    "India came to us last year as the world's number one Test team and lost 4-1, then went to Australia and won. Winning away from home is tough and we have to make it as hard for the Australians as we possibly can. 

    "The first Test is in Birmingham and that means it’s going to be lively. It's one of the best atmospheres we get and I don't think those in the Eric Hollies Stand are going to allow Smith and Warner to return quietly." 

  • Du Plessis applauds 'Superman' Perera effort Du Plessis applauds 'Superman' Perera effort

    Kusal Perera deserves all the praise that comes his way for steering Sri Lanka to an unlikely opening-Test win for his "Superman" effort with the bat, said losing South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.

    Sri Lanka appeared to be on a hiding to nothing in Durban when, chasing 304 for victory, the tourists fell to 226-9 from 83-3 on day four.

    But Perera, on 86 at that point, produced a masterclass for the ages and his unbroken stand of 78 with Vishwa Fernando – a record 10th-wicket, fourth-innings partnership for a winning side in Test cricket – steered Sri Lanka to a one-wicket triumph.

    Proteas skipper Du Plessis concedes his side could do nothing to get Perera, who finished a career-best 153 not out, off strike and recognised the match was a great advert for fans of five-day cricket.

    "It was an incredible game of cricket. We're very disappointed to end on the losing side, but to have it to go down to nine wickets and a 78-run partnership at the end is great for the game of Test cricket," he said. 

    "You could tell the fans were excited about it and, I suppose, as fans, that's the kind of Test match you want to see. 

    "Well played to Sri Lanka. Obviously Perera was unbelievable. It took a Superman effort. He deserves all of the accolades that will come to him after this game."

    Du Plessis admitted that the manner of the defeat was a tough one to take.

    "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't emotions going through me on the inside. The legs underneath the water paddling, a little bit of that. It's difficult for a captain," he added. 

    "You want to protect a lead and then you also understand that you want to try to bowl at the tailender. 

    "He played that beautifully. Whatever we tried, he still managed to get one away or a boundary away, every over, every over.

    "Towards the end, we got a few balls at the tailender but unfortunately there were a few plays and misses."

  • Farbrace stepping down as England assistant to take Warwickshire role Farbrace stepping down as England assistant to take Warwickshire role

    Paul Farbrace is to leave his position as England assistant coach after their tour of the Caribbean to take up the role as sporting director at Warwickshire.

    The highly regarded coach is taking up a position left vacant by Ashley Giles, who departed Edgbaston to become managing director of England Men's Cricket.

    Farbrace initially joined the England set-up as assistant to Peter Moores in 2014 having led Sri Lanka to World Twenty20 glory.

    The timing of the 51-year-old's decision comes as somewhat of a surprise with a Cricket World Cup and a home Ashes series against Australia on the horizon in the coming months.

    "I have had five fantastic years with England Cricket. It has been a brilliant experience working with world-class coaches, players and support staff," Farbrace, who will start with Warwickshire in March after England's T20I series against West Indies, told the ECB's official website.

    "I have been fortunate to taste some genuine success and be part of the development of some excellent players, who have the world at their feet this summer.

    "There is never a great time to leave an international set-up and despite what will be a fantastic summer for English cricket, the opportunity to shape the future of one of the game's biggest counties was too much to resist. 

    "It would have been tough for me to have turned down the opportunity once Warwickshire showed an interest in me.

    "Finally, I would like to thank the ECB, and in particular, Trevor Bayliss, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Ashley Giles for their support in what has been a difficult decision to make. 

    "I wish them every success this summer. I believe they have the right attributes to create history by lifting the World Cup in July and winning The Ashes that follows it."

    Alongside head coach Trevor Bayliss, who will not be renewing his own contract when it expires in September, Farbrace has been instrumental in turning around England's fortunes in white-ball cricket.

    Four years ago, England were reeling from being knocked out of the World Cup group stages, but are now the number-one ranked ODI side.

    "I would like to thank Paul for all his efforts over the last five years as a key figure in England's success across the red and white ball formats," Giles said.

    "Paul was integral, alongside, Andrew Strauss, Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan, in transforming our white ball strategy, which has seen us become the best team in the world leading into a World Cup year.

    "His efforts in developing players in the elite environment will benefit him in his new role at Edgbaston.

    "I will now start the process to find a successor and work closely with our existing set-up to ensure we have everything in place ahead of a busy summer of international cricket."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.