Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Khawaja, Finch share 137-run opening stand for Australia

Safraz Ahmed Tim Paine Sarfraz Ahmed has accepted Tim Paine's request for a gesture of respect – the pre-match handshake. Pic GettyMore
Sidney Guerrero | 10 October, 2018, 19:40

"When I came back in the team all the players welcomed me and gave me confidence, and that increased my inner energy so I am very happy at the comeback", Hafeez told reporters after the first day's play.

Part-time leg-spinner Marnus Labuschagne finally broke through just before the tea break when he lured Shafiq to drive the ball away from his body and got the thick outside edge to Paine behind the wickets.

Aaron Finch will make a first Test appearance opening alongside Usman Khawaja while Travis Head has also earned a debut Test berth and will bat at No.5 for the series-opener starting on Sunday.

The two shared an unbeaten partnership of 49 runs for the fifth wicket to ensure Australia end the fourth day with some hope of saving the Test.

During his one-day stint in Zimbabwe his bowling action was reported as illegal, but on assessment it was cleared - another tough phase of his career.

Australia have also recalled Peter Siddle and will want him to combine with Starc to generate a formidable pace attack to support Lyon. Imam-ul-Haq scored 76 runs.

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"Four years on he is a better bowler so he will be their main bowler and a challenge for us", said Sarfraz of Lyon, who grabbed 41 wickets in six matches in India and Bangladesh last year.

Previous year he was included in Pakistan's squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka, but did not feature as team management thought he was still not ready.

Yet another day had gone in favour of Pakistan in the Test match. "Yasir is clearly a world-class bowler who's got a phenomenal record at this ground in Dubai".

"Marnus has played quite a bit of cricket on the A tour and he's in really good form and he deserves a chance".

Sriram brought two Indian wristspinners, Pardeep Sahu and left-arm wristspinner KK Jiyas, to UAE for net practice ahead of the Tests. This one was smaller but no less significant with Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh all dismissed without Australia adding to their score.

"I've always dreamed of playing for Australia again in the last few years, but I've concentrated on just performing wherever I played". The second Test will be played in Abu Dhabi from October 16.

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