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Younis Khan scores another ton, becomes first cricketer to score Test centuries in 11 countries

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SYDNEY (JAN 05, 2017): Pakistani batsman Younis Khan became the first Test player to score his career-best centuries in 11 countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Younis, the veteran batsman who smashed his 34th century at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the third day of the final Test against Australia, beat India’s Rahul Dravid who was the only other cricketer to score centuries in all 10 full-member Test nations with 36 centuries.

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The 39-year-old’s century ties him against the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Mahela Jayawardene and Brian Lara in the all-time century makers list at 6th place. However, Indian run-master Sachin Tendulkar (aka Little Master) remained on top of the list with 51 centuries under his belt.

The veteran Pakistani batman, who remains the most prolific run scorer for Pakistan in Test cricket, now eyes to achieve the 10,000 runs milestone, having already accumulated 9,789 runs in 114 matches.

His sixth double century at the Oval last year is a record that he now shares with Javed Miandad.




 

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Fans welcome Real Madrid Champions!

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MADRID: Tens of thousands of ecstatic fans lined the streets of the Spanish capital to greet Real Madrid’s players as they returned home today after winning their third Champions League title in a row in Kiev.

Real supporters cheered and waved club scarves as a bus carrying Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the team crawled past crowds lining the roads from the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium to Madrid’s La Almudena cathedral where the Champions League trophy was presented to religious leaders.

“It is important to recall that our coach Zinedine Zidane has always worked with humility to become the best coach on the world,” Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said in a brief speech in the cathedral as the players, who wore matching blue suits, listened from the pews.

The bus then made its way with the team and the trophy in the front to the head of the Madrid regional government in the central Plaza de Sol which was packed with thousands of fans, many decked in Real’s famous white and black team jersey, before it heads to the club’s traditional celebration spot, the Plaza de Cibeles.

Some children sat on the shoulders of their parents to get a better look as the bus went by. Thousands of supporters waited around the fountain in the heart of the plaza, which was surrounded by a white and blue banner decorated with the Real logo that read “Thanks Real Madrid supporters!”, for the players to arrive.

“I had to be here and celebrate this win with them,” Ivan Gonzalez, a 23-year-old student who wore a pink Ronaldo jersey and a Real Madrid scarf wrapped around his neck, told the Media. 

Teams: 

Real Madrid: 1 Navas, 2 Carvajal, 5 Varane, 4 Sergio Ramos, 12 Marcelo, 10 Modric, 14 Casemiro, 8 Kroos, 22 Isco, 9 Benzema, 7 Ronaldo

Substitutes:

13 Casilla, 6 Nacho (s 37′), 11 Bale (s 61′), 15 Hernandez, 17 Lucas, 20 Asensio (s 89′), 23 Kovacic

Liverpool: 1 Karius, 66 Alexander-Arnold, 6 Lovren, 4 van Dijk, 26 Robertson, 7 Milner, 14 Henderson, 5 Wijnaldum, 11 Salah, 9 Firmino, 19 Mane 

Substitutes:

22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 17 Klavan, 18 Moreno, 20 Lallana (s 30′), 23 Can (s 83′), 29 Solanke

 

 

 

 

 

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French Open: Dimitrov reaches second round!

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PARIS: Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov reached the French Open second round today, even if he wasn’t exactly sure who he was facing on the other side of the net.

Dimitrov had been drawn to face experienced Viktor Troicki in the tournament opener on Philippe Chatrier Court.  However, just before he was due to go on court, Troicki withdrew with a back injury, allowing Egyptian world number 182 Mohamed Safwat to make his Grand Slam debut.

In the process, he became the first Egyptian since Tamer El Sawy at the 1996 US Open to feature in a major. “I was warming up and my coach said, ‘hey look’ and we saw up on the board that I was playing a different opponent,” said 27-year-old Dimitrov, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist who knew something of Safwat’s game from matches during their junior days.

“I didn’t expect that. I found out about 30 minutes before, but it is what it is. You have to be ready.” Safwat, 27, had lost in the final round of qualifying to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina last week in what was his eighth futile attempt to make the main draw of the majors.

He has won just one high-profile match in 2018 in the Davis Cup in February and his career earnings of $350,000 pale in comparison to Dimitrov’s $15 million.

Meanwhile, former world number one Venus Williams suffered a shock defeat by Chinese player Wang Qiang in the French Open first round on Sunday. The 37-year-old ninth seed was well short of her best as Wang claimed a 6-4, 7-5 victory and gained a measure of revenge for her first-round loss to Venus at Roland Garros last year. The seven-time Grand Slam champion has now lost both her matches at major tournaments this year, having reached the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals in 2017. Wang, the world number 91, has never made the third round of a Slam and will face Petra Martic of Croatia for a place in the last 32 after the biggest win of her career. World number nine Venus will now turn her attention to playing the doubles tournament with her sister Serena, who is competing in a Grand Slam event for the first time since last year’s Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

i) Elina Svitolina underlined her status as a top favourite for the French Open by sweeping Simona Halep aside 6-0, 6-4 to successfully defend her Italian Open crown today. In a repeat of last year’s final at the Foro Italico, Ukrainian Svitolina seeded fourth, was up against Halep a day after the Romanian top seed had ousted Russian Maria Sharapova. But Halep’s hopes of overturning last year’s defeat to her 23-year-old opponent quickly evaporated in a completely one-sided encounter that saw the Romanian fail to produce a real challenge.

Svitolina, the world number four, has now successfully defended three career titles, in Baku, Dubai and also Rome; she also won in Brisbane and Dubai this season to take her 2018 title total to three. The win also marked Svitolina’s 12th career title on what was her eighth final in succession. “It’s amazing that I could do this here a second time and defend,” said Svitolina. “This is something very, very special. “Congratulations to Simona, she had a great week of tennis.” The French Open at Roland Garros starts in just over a week, and Svitolina added: “Roland Garros is still a week away, but this gives me confidence. (20th of May, 2018) 

ii) Defending champion Elina Svitolina moved one win away from her second title at the Italian Open on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Anett Kontaveit. Fourth-ranked Svitolina is aiming for her third title of the season following victories in Brisbane and Dubai. She will face the winner from Maria Sharapova and top seed Simona Halep for the trophy on Sunday.

iii)  Rafael Nadal closed in on an eighth Rome Masters title as he dismissed old rival Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 on Saturday to reach the final for a record-extending 10th time. The last-four success will give the Spanish top seed added confidence ahead of the French Open, where he has won a record 10 titles. Nadal, still unbeaten in semi-finals at the Foro Italico, unleashed a trademark clay-court attack after winning a tight first set lasting well over an hour. “I need to be able to play my best tomorrow,” Nadal said of a Sunday final against either defending champion Alexander Zverev or Croatian Marin Cilic.

 “I’m very happy with my game. It all worked for me, the tactics, the shots.” The 31-year-old world number two cut the deficit in his head-to-head series with Djokovic to 26-25, after their 51st meeting since first facing off in 2006. But the Serb complained afterwards about poor scheduling which affected his preparation, playing a late-afternoon quarter-final on Friday before returning to court on Saturday mid-afternoon. “I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining about losing the match because of the schedule. But having to end at night and coming back to play early in the day affects a lot,” he said.

iv) Simona Halep profited from a miserable day on serve for Maria Sharapova to reach the Italian Open final with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 defeat of the five-time Grand Slam winner on Saturday. The Romanian world number one will bid for the title on Sunday against Elina Svitolina in a repeat of last year’s final won by the Ukrainian. Svitolina booked her spot as she dominated Anett Kontaveit to win 6-4, 6-3 in just 74 minutes. Halep fought back from a set down to win only her second match against Sharapova, who may have been feeling the effects of a three-hour victory the day before and was broken 10 times. Halep has now defeated the Russian twice in a row having lost their seven previous meetings. “She plays tough, it’s difficult to return against her,” Halep said. “I tried to play my game, I didn’t think about our past. “I did what I had to do, I changed tactics after the first set and it worked very well for me. “Against Svitolina I must play my best, and we will see what happens.

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Lord’s: Green Shirts beat hosts by nine wickets!

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LORD’S: Pakistan won the first Test here today beating England by nine wickets taking a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. This was Green Shirts’ fifth Test win here. Earlier it won in 1982, 1992, 1996 and 2016.

Pakistan completed a convincing nine-wicket victory over England to win the first Test at Lord’s with more than a day to spare on Sunday. Set a target of just 64 on the fourth morning, Pakistan finished on 66 for one before lunch to go 1-0 up in this two-match series ahead of next week’s second Test at Headingley. Imam-ul-Haq was 18 not out and Haris Sohail 39 not out.

England was undone by two top-order batting collapses, slumping to 184 all out after winning the toss in their first innings and declining to 160 for six in their second before the fifties from Jos Buttler and Test debutant Dominic Bess prevented an innings defeat.

This was England’s seventh loss in 10 Tests as their first match under new national selector Ed Smith ended in a resounding reverse. What made this thrashing — just England’s third defeat in any home Test that started in May – all the more galling for Joe Root’s side was that they were outplayed in classic English conditions by a youthful Pakistan side, whose batting, bowling and fielding were markedly superior throughout.

England, resuming Sunday on 235 for six in their second innings, lost their last four wickets for just seven runs in 18 balls to be bowled out for 242. “Not good enough, if I’m being brutally honest,” said England captain Root at the presentation ceremony. “We were outperformed in all three departments.

Buttler was lbw to Mohammad Abbas for 67. The innings ended when Amir knocked over Bess’s off-stump. While Abbas had eight scalps in the game, Amir finished with innings figures of four for 36.

 The host team, that was bowled out for 242, lost their last four second-innings wickets scoring seven runs in three overs.  As the England batting collapsed, Pakistan had to chase an easy target of 64. 

Commenting on his team’s performance English captain Joe Root held: “I think we did some really good work leading into this game. We just didn’t follow through with that. I thought Pakistan’s bowlers exploited the conditions but we played some poor shots and gave some wickets away and you cant afford to do that.”

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif today congratulated the Pakistani cricket team for their grand victory against England in the Lords Test match. In his message to Pakistani cricket team, the CM said that Pakistani players while showing a wonderful game in bowling, batting and fielding had beat England at their home ground. This success in a first test match is a result of Pakistani players’ teamwork. Hassan Ali and Mohammad Abbas’s excellent bowling have played a crucial role in the victory of Pakistan, he added. The CM hoped that in the next Test match, Pakistani players 

Finance Minister, Dr. Miftah Ismail Sunday felicitated Pakistan team on winning first cricket test against England at Lords. He said that it was good teamwork, excellent all-around performance under the captaincy of Sarfaraz, which helped secure the victory in just over three days. He expressed the hope that the team would keep up the spirit in the upcoming matches.

Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Syed Ibne Abbas here today congratulated Pakistan Cricket Team on their stunning victory at Lords Cricket ground against England. In a statement, the High Commissioner also congratulated captain of Pakistan Team Sarfraz Ahmed and team management on this historic win. Syed Ibne Abbas said that Pakistan team performed exceptionally well in all areas of the play adding that the historic victory was the result of excellent teamwork work. He expressed the hope that “We will soon see international cricket returning to Pakistan.”

Scoreboard at the close of England’s second innings on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s today: England 1st Innings 184 (A Cook 70; Mohammad Abbas 4-23, Hasan Ali 4-51) Pakistan 1st Innings 363 (Babar Azam 68, Asad Shafiq 59, Shadab Khan 52, Azhar Ali 50; B Stokes 3-73).

Pakistan was set a target of just 64 runs to win the first Test at Lord’s on Sunday following England’s latest batting collapse. England, resuming on an overnight 235 for six, lost their last four second-innings wickets for a mere seven runs in 18 balls on the fourth morning to be bowled out for 242. But, in truth the damage had long been done by a pair of top-order slumps that saw England, so often dominant in early-season home conditions, dismissed for 184 in their first innings before declining to 110 for six second time around. That they had not already lost this match by an innings was down to a century stand between the recalled Jos Buttler and Test debutant Dominic Bess that allowed England to resume Sunday on 235 for six, a lead of 56 runs. Buttler was then 66 not out and Bess 55 not out. But eight balls into Sunday’s play and having added only one more run, Buttler was lbw to Mohammad Abbas for 67 after missing an intended drive. Buttler reviewed but, with replays indicating the ball would have clipped the top of the stumps, Australian umpire Paul Reiffel’s decision was upheld. England’s were now 236 for seven and that soon became 241 for eight, after the tourists took the new ball when Mark Wood edged Mohammad Amir to Pakistan captain and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. 

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

i) England were 235 for six in their second innings, a lead of 56 runs, at stumps on the third day of the first Test against Pakistan here on Saturday. They were facing an innings defeat at 110 for six but an unbroken stand of 125 between the recalled Jos Buttler (66 not out) and Test debutant Dominic Bess (55 not out) ensured the match would go into the fourth day.  This is the first of a two-Test series. (27th of May, 2017) 

ii) Alastair Cook was dismissed for just one as Pakistan remained in charge of the first Test against England at Lord’s today! England were 37 for two in their second innings at lunch on the third day – still needing a further 142 runs to make Pakistan bat again. Joe Root, the England captain, was 22 not out and Dawid Malan nought not out on his Middlesex home ground. Cook, making a record-equalling 153rd consecutive Test appearance, had top-scored with 70 in England’s meagre first-innings 184. But today the left-handed opener had managed just a single when impressive paceman Mohammad Abbas nipped one back into his pads and had Cook, England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, lbw. So clear was the decision that Cook did not bother with a review, his exit leaving England one for one. Mark Stoneman and Root then played and missed at several full-length deliveries from Abbas and Mohammad Amir. Root cut all-rounder Faheem Ashraf for four but this was a rare example of a Pakistan bowler pitching too short and wide. (26th of May, 2018).

iii) Green shirts were 50 for one in reply to England’s first innings of 184, a deficit of 134 runs, at stumps on the first day of the first Test at Lords today. Azhar Ali was 18 not out and Haris Sohail 21 not out in the first of this two-match series. Earlier, England suffered collapses at both ends of their innings after home captain Joe Root decided to bat first when winning the toss, despite a green-tinged pitch and overcast conditions offering the promise of assistance to Pakistan’s pacemen. Mohammad Abbas, fresh from starring in Pakistan’s five-wicket win over Test debutants Ireland in Dublin last week, led the attack with superb figures of four wickets for 23 runs in just 14 overs. Pakistan pacemen Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali took four wickets apiece as England suffered yet another top-order collapse at Lord’s on Thursday. Hopes that a return home and a rejigged top-order picked by new national selector Ed Smith would help rid England of the batting slumps that plagued them during a run of seven straight Tests without a victory in Australia and New Zealand quickly proved illusory as they were dismissed for just 184 inside 59 overs. Abbas, in his first match at ‘the home of cricket’, finished with excellent figures of four for 23 in 14 overs. Meanwhile, the recalled Hasan, who did not play in Pakistan’s win over Test debutants Ireland in Dublin concluded last week, took four for 51 in 15.2 overs. Both bowlers maintained a disciplined line and length with Hasan, a star of Pakistan’s Champions Trophy one-day tournament triumph in England last year, telling Media: “There was no need for bouncers because we were getting a lot of help from the pitch for bowling full and straight. “Getting the experience of playing in England in the Champions Trophy was a good thing for us.” Pakistan then consolidated their strong position by reaching stumps having lost just Imam-ul-Haq to be 50 for one — a deficit of 134 runs. Azhar Ali was 18 not out and Haris Sohail, missed in the slips when Ben Stokes dived across Dawid Malan, unbeaten on 21. (24th of May, 2018). 

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