Pak vs Aus: Usman Khawaja hundred propels Australia to 251-3 in Karachi
- Usman Khawaja smashes 11th test hundred.
- He forges 159-run partnership with Steve Smith.
- Steve Smith makes 72 before falling to Hasan Ali.
KARACHI: Usman Khawaja smashed his 11th test hundred and forged a 159-run partnership with Steve Smith to power Australia to 251 for three on the opening day of the second test against Pakistan on Saturday.
Islamabad-born Khawaja had fallen agonisingly short of a hundred in the opening test in Rawalpindi where he top-scored for his side with a breezy 97.
The elegant left-hander made amends in Karachi where he shelved the reverse sweep and made an unbeaten 127, which included 13 fours and a six.
Smith made 72 before falling to Hasan Ali in the penultimate over of the day.
Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon had yet to open his account.
“It would’ve been nice to have Smith there at the end too but we had a good partnership,” Khawaja said. “We’ve still got plenty of batting to come.
“It started to reverse in the second session and made it tough to score against the pace bowlers.”
Earlier, Australia got off to a strong start after Pat Cummins elected to bat on a dry surface at the National Stadium.
Khawaja looked in sublime touch and scored freely on the leg-side after being fed regularly on his pad.
His opening partner David Warner was less convincing, though, surviving a couple of LBW appeals and getting hit on his shoulder by a short delivery from Hasan Ali.
Warner hit Sajid Khan for a six to bring up Australia’s 50 in the 11th over.
Sajid conceded two more sixes in his fourth over, prompting Pakistan captain Babar Azam to take the spinner out of the attack.
Seamer Faheem Ashraf broke the 82-run opening stand with a back of a length delivery that Warner, who made 36, could only edge to Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.
Pakistan tasted a second success soon afterwards when Sajid ran out Marnus Labuschagne for a duck with a direct throw from mid-off.
Khawaja and Smith steadied the ship batting through the second session.
Khawaja took a single off Nauman Ali to bring up his third hundred in four tests since his recall in January after more than two years’ absence.
Pakistan spinners resorted to a negative line after tea, bowling way down the leg side, to stem the run flow and the batsmen were happy to just pad them away.
“In the last session, they bowled pretty leg side and had some negative plans to see if we’d play some shots,” Khawaja said.
“We decided not to and didn’t want to give them any free wickets.”
Smith, who made 78 in Rawalpindi, once again failed to convert his fifty into a hundred and edged Hasan for Faheem to take a low one-handed catch at second slip.
Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson makes his test debut, joining Lyon in Australia’s two-man spin attack with Josh Hazlewood sitting out.
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon
WATCH: Babar Azam becomes youngest cricketer to receive Sitara-e-Imtiaz
Pakistan captain Babar Azam on Thursday became the youngest cricketer to be conferred with the country’s third-highest civilian award Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Pakistan’s all-format captain Babar was conferred with the award by Governor Baligh Ur Rehman at an investiture ceremony held at the Punjab Governor House as part of Pakistan Day celebrations.
With the conferment of the award, Babar has become the youngest cricketer to be awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz at the age of 28 for his outstanding achievements in the field of sports.
The skipper called it an “immense honour” to receives the award in the presence of his parrents.
“This award is for my parents, fans and the people of Pakistan,” he tweeted.
Previously, Babar’s predecessor Sarfaraz Ahmed held the record as the youngest cricketer to be awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Sarfaraz, who led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy title in 2017, was conferred with the award by then Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair at the Governor House in Karachi in 2018.
Last year on August 14, the government announced that it will be conferring Babar with the country’s third-highest civilian honour.
Babar made his debut in international cricket in May 2015 against Zimbabwe. His performances eventually led debuts to T20Is and Tests in 2016.
In 47 Tests, Babar has scored 3,696 runs with an average of 48.63, while in 95 ODI’s Babar has scored 4,813 runs at an average of 59.41. In 99 T20Is, Babar has amassed 3,355 runs at an average of 41.41.
Babar, in his ongoing cricket career, has won multiple awards including ICC Men’s ODI Player of the Year, Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. Under his captaincy, Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a world cup match and also reached the finals of the last T20 world cup.
Apart from Babar and Sarfaraz other cricketers that have received the award include Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi for their outstanding contributions.
While Mohammad Yousuf received the award in 2011, Saeed Ajmal in 2015, Inzamam ul Haq in 2005 and Javed Miandad in 1992.
‘Dirty politics’: Shaheen comes out in defence of Shahid Afridi
Star pacer Shaheen Afridi has come out in defence of his father-in-law Shahid Afridi who has been dragged into “dirty politics” by a fake statement about former prime minister Imran Khan.
“I request you all to only think about Pakistan. We should not indulge ourselves into any act which divides us further,” the Pakistani cricketer said in a statement, sharing a video statement of Shahid Afridi.
“Hum Sab ko apni apni fields me positive reh ker Pakistan ka haq Ada kerna hoga. Pakistan Noor hai or Allah pak is Noor Ki Hamesha hifazat farmayain ge, Ameen.”
Earlier, in a hard-hitting video statement, the former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi slammed those dragging him in their “dirty politics”.
“I am observing since yesterday that a statement is being shared on social media under my name about former prime minister Imran Khan is very sad news. Whoever is doing this, is indulging in very dirty politics. Neither I want to be part of this activity nor I am involved in this.”
The former chief selector, in a visibly angry mood, said that he had the courage to say whatever he wants to say.
“I never made any such statement anywhere on my social media. So please don’t involve me in this dirty politics. Aap ko apki siasat mubarak ho. My only politics is to serve this nation.”
Pak vs NZ: PCB revises schedule of New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan
LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday revised the schedule of the limited-overs tour of New Zealand to Pakistan due to “elections in Punjab”.
The Blackcaps are scheduled to play five ODIs and five T20Is with the PCB and New Zealand Cricket “unanimously” agreeing to make “tweaks” to the tour, the board said in a statement today.
According to sources, the itinerary was changed due to the upcoming general elections in Punjab scheduled on April 30.
As per the new schedule, New Zealand will arrive in Lahore and play three T20Is from April 14-17, before traveling to Rawalpindi where the final two T20Is and first ODI will be played from April 20-26.
The tour will end in Karachi with the remaining four ODIs to be played from April 30-May 7.
The PCB said that this is an additional tour by the New Zealand cricket team and the matches will count towards ICC Team Rankings.
The ODIs will also help Pakistan to prepare their side for the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, while the T20I will assist the PCB to continue with their rebuilding of the side for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which will be held in the USA and West Indies in June/July 2024.
- April 14 – 1st T20I, Lahore
- April 15– 2nd T20I, Lahore
- April 17– 3rd T20I, Lahore
- April 20– 4th T20I, Rawalpindi
- April 24– 5th T20I, Rawalpindi
- April 26– 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
- April 30– 2nd ODI, Karachi
- May 3 – 3rd ODI, Karachi
- May 5 – 4th ODI, Karachi
- May 7 – 5th ODI, Karachi
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