Pakistan steady, Aussies in control after Handscomb ton

first_imgBy Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Azhar Ali and Younus Khan forged a 120-run partnership to stall a rampant Australia on day two of the third and final Test yesterday after a Peter Handscomb century had helped drive the hosts to 538-8 declared.Opener Azhar, who hit a double-century in the second Test defeat in Melbourne that lost Pakistan the series, had contributed 58 to his side’s 126 for two at close of play, while veteran Younus had forged ahead of his partner with 64 not out.Handscomb had earlier completed the third century of Australia’s innings, matching openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw, as Steve Smith’s men poured on the runs before the declaration, which came seven overs before tea.Paceman Josh Hazlewood immediately drove home the advantage by removing debutant Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam cheaply inside five balls to leave the hapless tourists reeling at 16-2 at the second break.Half-centuries from Azhar and Younus may have raised Pakistan’s flagging spirits but the Australians will still be confident of victory and a series sweep going into day three at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a lead of 412 runs.Handscomb had resumed on 40 with Australia 365-3 and never looked like missing out on his second Test hundred, becoming only the second Australian to score 50 or more in his first four Tests along the way.Brought into the side with Renshaw in the wake of the Hobart humiliation at the hands of South Africa in November, the 25-year-old has proved a rock in what had become a fragile Australian middle order.He brought up the milestone with a single off the 194th ball he faced and had nine fours on the board when he was out for 110 in bizarre circumstances.A TV review showed he had got too deep into his crease when facing a Wahab Riaz delivery and his bat had dislodged a bail, resulting in a rare ‘hit wicket’ dismissal.Australia’s fielders had the opposite problem as they tried to break up Pakistan’s third-wicket partnership in the final session and Handscomb rued two missed run-out chances.“It would have been nice to take one of those run-out opportunities and you never know what could have come from there if we had them maybe four or five down,” he said.“We just need to come out tomorrow and keep that pressure on.”Renshaw earlier fell short of dislodging Don Bradman as Australia’s youngest double centurion, the 20-year-old chopping on for 184 in the first hour of the day, and debutant Hilton Cartwright (37), Matt Wade (29) and Mitch Starc, who hit two huge sixes in his 16, also departed before the declaration.Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted bowlers Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah were “not in good shape” – the latter carrying a left hamstring injury – but thought the third-wicket stand had given his side a glimmer of hope.“The resilience and character and intent that has been shown by Younus and Azhar have been a real example to the rest of the dressing room of how we need to play,” the South African said.“We’ll carry on with same intent and see where that gets us tomorrow.” AUSTRALIA 1st innings (o/n 365-3)M. Renshaw b Imran Khan 184D. Warner c S. Ahmed b Riaz 113U. Khawaja c S. Ahmed b Riaz 13S. Smith c S. Ahmed b Shah 24P. Handscomb hit wicket b Riaz 110H. Cartwright b Khan 37M.Wade c B. Azam b Ali 29M. Starc c sub. (Rizwan) b Ali 16S. O’Keefe not out 0Extras: (b-5, lb-1, w-2, nb-4) 12Total: (8 wickets decl; 135 overs) 538Fall of wickets: 1-151, 2-203, 3-244, 4-386, 5-477, 6-516, 7-532, 8-538.Bowling: Amir 24-2-83-0, Khan 27-4-111-2, Riaz 28-4-89-3, Shah 40-2-167-1, Ali 14-0-70-2, Shafiq 2-0-12-0PAKISTAN 1st inningsA. Ali not out 58S. Khan c Renshaw b Hazlewood 4B. Azam lbw b Hazlewood 0Y. Khan not out 64Total: (2 wickets, 41 overs) 126Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-6.Bowling: Starc 10-2-34-0, Hazlewood 11-3-32-2, O’Keefe 7-1-11-0, Lyon 9-1-34-0, Cartwright 4-0-15-0last_img read more

Bermuda’s Cup Match cancelled  for first time in 118 years

first_imgHAMILTON, Bermuda, (CMC) – Cup Match, Bermuda’s premier domestic cricket fixture between Somerset and St George’s, has been cancelled this year for the first time in its 118-year history, because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.The two clubs, based at each end of the island, made the announcement in a joint release on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation over the annual game as the island continues to deal with the virus which has killed nine people on the island.“Somerset Cricket Club and St George’s Cricket Club wish to advise the public that the 2020 Cup Match has been cancelled. This decision has been taken in light of the global pandemic and following consideration of all relevant information and advice from key stakeholders,” they said in their statement.The clubs said while they understood the historic and cultural significance of the match, “after much deliberation, it has been concluded that the health and safety of spectators, club officials and players is of greatest significance during these uncertain and unprecedented times”.The mid-summer classic which began as a friendly match between two lodges had been played each year since 1902 without interruption. Somerset, the titleholders, had been due to host the two-day game – which has been accompanied by a two-day national holiday since 1947 – on July 30 and 31.“The classic is one of the most festive times of the year and we encourage all fans of Cup Match to celebrate the two days with friends and family while reflecting on its origins and adhering to any mandated health guidelines,” the clubs added.On Tuesday, organisers of the Eastern Counties Cup, a four-team event, also announced this year’s tournament had been abandoned. Western Counties and Central Counties, which are less popular than their Eastern counterpart, have yet to make a decision about their tournaments.Whether any cricket is played in Bermuda this season remains to be seen. The Bermuda Cricket Board, which does not have control over Cup Match or the County matches, is still weighing its options. While any regular 50-over cricket is unlikely, sources say some Twenty20 games may be played.The independent Evening Cricket League, which features seven teams in each of two divisions, says it is awaiting government approval to start its season, which normally gets underway in early May.last_img read more