Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Pakistan cruise to 329-4, Australia toil in Dubai test

Could have taken a drastic step, but was stopped by my wife and Shoaib Akhtar: Mohammad Hafeez Australia toil, Pakistan build big first-innings total
Cary Erickson | 10 October, 2018, 19:40

Pakistan will resume on day four at 3-45, leading Australia by 325 runs after offspinner Bilal Asif wreaked havoc on the tourists with six wickets on debut.

Hafeez feels that if Pakistan manage to add 200 more to their total, their bowlers would be able put the Aussies under pressure. "It's something that we've got to work on but I'm sure that second innings we'll fight as hard as we can". "Yasir is our main bowler so we will want him to attack and get us wickets to win the series. There was not a lot of movement as such so we knew we just have to keep grinding and we got close to getting the reverse swing", he said.

"He's a bit of a triple threat - he's great in the field, he bowls some really handy legspin which I think will surprise some people and he's a really skillful, talented batsman. It's not like Australia where you can blast guys out on fast, bouncy wickets".

Yasir looms as a major weapon for Pakistan with the pitch already showing signs it is beginning to deteriorate.

"We want to build a culture that makes people want to be better and produce not only better cricketers but better people", he told Fairfax Media.

Hafeez, who also did not play in any of the five one-day internationals in Zimbabwe in July despite being in the squad, hailed his teammates.

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Australia named three debutants with batsmen Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne coming into the team for its first test since the ball-tampering incident at Newlands, South Africa in March that saw captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft receive lengthy bans for their part in trying to change the condition of the ball with a piece of sandpaper.

But Labuschagne, who spoke Afrikaans in his native country and did not learn English until he arrived in Australia as a 10-year-old, was delighted to have provided his teammates with a spark.

Expressing his happiness with his performance, he said: "I'm so happy..." As for me it's just another opportunity.

"In recent times, I have just concentrated on performing wherever I have played and today was a nice little reward for what I have done in the last 18 months".

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