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Pakistan declare at 476-4 in first Test against Australia

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Pakistan declared their first innings at 476-4 on Saturday in the first Test against Australia after brilliant hundreds from Azhar Ali and Imamul Haq on the second day in Rawalpindi.

Ali scored 185 and Haq 157 as Australia toiled hard after Pakistan won the toss and batted on a flat, batting-friendly Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium pitch. The 37-year-old lofted spinner Nathan Lyon for his eighth boundary towards mid-wicket to complete his 19th hundred in his 92nd Test. With that, Pakistan reached 312 without losing another wicket after starting the day on 245 for one.

He has been Pakistan’s mainstay in the Test batting line-up since making his debut in 2010, and boasts a triple hundred against the West Indies — the first since day-night Tests were introduced. Haq was the slowest of the Pakistan pair on Saturday morning, adding just six runs in the first hour and not hitting a boundary until the 90th minute. Haq was lucky to survive a caught-behind appeal on 143 off Lyon the Australians didn’t challenge when replays showed it hit the bat. Meanwhile, Skipper Babar Azam made 36 while Mohammad Rizwan (29) and Iftikhar Ahmed (13) remained not out.

For Australia, Pat Cummins, Lyon and Marnus Labuchagne took a wicket apiece while Azam was run out. Earlier today, the Australian and Pakistan teams paid tribute to legendary spinner Shane Warne with a minute’s silence as play resumed.

“It’s a sad way to start the day,” the television commentator said as players wore black armbands to pay homage to Warne, who died of a heart attack in Thailand on Friday.

The handful of early-morning spectators in the stands also stood in respect. The Australians were playing in Pakistan for the first time since 1998, having declined to tour previously because of security issues. Warne was widely regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time — a larger-than-life character whose tally of 708 Test wickets has been surpassed only by fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. His death is a double blow for Australia after another cricketing great, Rod Marsh, also died on Friday after suffering a heart attack. Cummins admitted the team was shaken. “Yeah, these are really tough times with, you know, both Rod and Shane gone,” the Australian skipper told the host broadcaster ahead of the day’s play.

“I just encourage everyone to talk about it.”

Cummins said Warne was popular around the world. “You know, his showmanship and all those things that he brought to Australian cricket are probably my longer-lasting memories.

“I think playing across the world, you realise just it wasn’t only Aussies that felt that it was … in all corners.”

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Pakistan has advanced to the Women’s Asia Cup 2024 semifinals.

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GreenshirtsWith a 10-wicket victory over the UAE, the Pakistani women’s cricket team advanced to the Women’s Asia Cup 2024 semifinal. Target: 104 runs in 14 overs were pursued by the Greenshirts.

When playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Pakistani women’s team won the toss and chose to field.

Captain Nida Dar of the Pakistan women’s cricket team remarked, “The bowlers’ performance in the last match was excellent, and the win against Nepal boosted morale.”

Pakistan’s starting eleven remains unchanged.

Dambulla, a town in Sri Lanka, is the site of the match.

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The ICC has approved the budget for Pakistan’s 2025 Champions Trophy.

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The specifics state that on the final day of its yearly meeting, the ICC approved the budget.

High-ranking representatives from various cricket boards, including Mohsin Naqvi, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), attended the ICC’s annual meeting.

Ankur Khanna, the chief finance officer of the ICC, and Javed Murtaza, the chief finance officer of the PCB, created the budget for the eight-team competition.

For those who are unaware, the Champions Trophy 2025 is set to take place in Pakistan in February and March. India is expected to participate in the tournament, although this is subject to change as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is awaiting government consent to travel there.

The Indian squad will not be visiting Pakistan for the forthcoming ICC event, according to reports that surfaced in Indian media, which cited a BCCI source.

Additional reports stated that the board intends to formally suggest Sri Lanka and Dubai as possible locations for India’s matches.

However, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla claimed in a phone interview with an Indian media outlet that the cricket association has not released any information about their team’s Champions Trophy 2025 participation.

The source of this information is unknown to us. Shukla said over the phone to ThePrint that BCCI has not released any formal information on this.

Recall that India declined to go to Pakistan in order to compete in the 2023 ACC Men’s Asia Cup. Consequently, Sri Lanka assumed the role of co-host for the continental event, which was conducted using a hybrid approach.

It is noteworthy that because of the protracted political tensions between the two neighbours, India has not visited Pakistan since the Asia Cup in 2008.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has visited India four times in the previous 16 years. They were in town for the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 last year, which was their most recent visit.

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Babar Azam identifies the most challenging bowler he has encountered.

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Azam made an appearance on AB de Villiers’ official YouTube channel, where he was questioned about the most challenging bowler he has encountered.

The Pakistan captain promptly replied, “Pat Cummins.”

De Villiers concurred with Azam’s statement, affirming, “Indeed, I concur.” He is in close proximity. “He is one of the most resilient bowlers I have ever encountered.”

It is noteworthy that Cummins has dismissed Babar Azam three times in Test cricket and only once in white-ball cricket.

The opening batter also stated that he seeks guidance from Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root to further his batting skills.

“I engage in frequent conversations with Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root.” They consistently offer valuable advise that greatly benefits you. “I have gained a wealth of knowledge from these players,” he declared.

The prominent hitter also said that his family encountered economic difficulties during his early years, but they offered him steadfast encouragement on his path to achievement.

“I come from a modest background, and we didn’t have a constant flow of money.” However, my parents provided me with significant assistance. “During my childhood, I used to engage in street cricket, and I found it quite challenging to play with a hard ball,” he remarked.

Babar Azam is presently preparing for the forthcoming two-match domestic Test series against Bangladesh, slated to take place in August.

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