Cricket Australia upholds bans handed to Smith, Warner and Bancroft

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Warner and Smith's one-year bans will be upheld.

Steve Smith and David Warner will not make a premature return to domestic cricket after their one-year bans for ball tampering were upheld by Cricket Australia (CA) on Tuesday.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) had called on Cricket Australia to immediately overturn the bans handed to Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, arguing that the players had already been ‘punished enough’.

The Australian players’ union had made the submission in light of Cricket Australia’s cultural review which had deduced that a ‘win at all cost’ mentality had been allowed to fester within the team by the organisation.

The cricketing body, however, has deemed the sanctions handed out to the three players to be appropriate and will not be making any amendments to the same.

“The Cricket Australia board has carefully considered all elements of the ACA submission and has determined it is not appropriate to make any changes to the sanctions handed down to the three players,” Cricket Australia interim chairman Earl Eddings said in a statement.

“The original decision of the board to sanction the players was determined after rigorous discussion and consideration.

“CA maintains that both the length and nature of the sanctions remain an appropriate response in light of the considerable impact on the reputation of Australian cricket, here and abroad.”

The trio had been sanctioned by the board for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal which occurred during Australia’s tour of South Africa earlier this year. While they have been banned from domestic competitions like the Sheffield Shield, they have been allowed to participate in grade cricket.

ACA had vowed to campaign relentlessly to get the players’ bans overturned but Cricket Australia has made it clear that there will be no change in their stance.

“We believe the ongoing conversation about reducing the sanctions puts undue pressure on the three players – all of whom accepted the sanctions earlier this year – and the Australian men’s cricket team. As such, the Cricket Australia board does not intend to consider further calls for amendments to the sanctions,” said Eddings.

Bancroft’s nine-month ban will come to an end on December 29 while those of Smith and Warner will culminate on March 29, 2019.

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Pakistan v New Zealand player ratings: Ajaz Patel scores an 8

Waseem Ahmed 19/11/2018
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Ajaz Patel was at the heat of New Zealand's sensational fightback.

In what was a Test match for the ages, New Zealand scripted a sensational fightback to win the series opener against Pakistan by four runs in Abu Dhabi.

Kane Williamson and his men looked down and out when Pakistan resumed their chase on day four with all 10 wickets intact. However, their bowlers showed immense courage to carve out a victory that will be remembered for long.

Attempting to chase 176 for victory in the second innings, Pakistan were bowled out for 171 as the enthralling Test met a fitting finale on Monday.

Here we rate the players from both sides.

PAKISTAN

Imam-ul-Haq – 5/10

The young opening batsman lasted just 17 deliveries in the first innings. He looked in good touch in the second innings before he fell for a 33-ball 27.

Mohammad Hafeez – 4/10

The Pakistan veteran was unable to make his mark in both the innings despite decent starts. He did not play a major part with the ball either, bowling a total of four overs in the match.

Azhar Ali – 7/10

Having moved down to the No3 spot in the batting order, Azhar brought all his experience to the fore in the second innings as he attempted to anchor Pakistan through a tricky chase. The veteran nearly got there but it was his dismissal to Ajaz Patel that brought the curtains down on Pakistan’s hopes.

Azhar Ali was unable to finish the job for Pakistan.

Azhar Ali was unable to finish the job for Pakistan.

Haris Sohail – 6/10

The all-rounder was looking good for a half-century in the first innings before falling for 38. However, he will be miffed at throwing his wicket away in the second innings. His left-arm spin fetched two wickets.

Babar Azam – 7/10

The right-hander continues to develop into a force to be reckoned with in the Test arena with a composed knock of 62 in the first innings. A lapse in judgement from Azhar Ali saw him run-out at a crucial juncture in the second innings.

Asad Shafiq – 8/10

The middle-order batsman might not have registered a half-century in either of his innings but they were both crucial ones, especially the second where he stabilised Pakistan’s chase. His wicket, however, opened the floodgates once again for New Zealand in the second innings.

Sarfraz Ahmed – 3/10

The Pakistan skipper did not have a fruitful outing with the bat, lasting only four deliveries in the first innings. He did not fare much better in the second innings either as he wilted under the pressure. Was decent with the gloves behind the stumps.

Hasan Ali – 8/10

The Pakistan pacer outshone Mohammad Abbas with the ball with a seven-wicket match haul. He was especially good in the second innings where he registered his maiden five-for in Test cricket.

Bilal Asif – 6/10

After his promising debut against Australia, Bilal was given a harsh reality check at Abu Dhabi with the off-spinner picking up just the one wicket across two innings.

Mohammad Abbas – 7/10

The Pakistan seamer consistently bowled excellent lines and lengths as he always does. He was a tough nut to crack for the Kiwi batsmen and his match-haul of two wickets does not reflect how well he bowled.

Yasir Shah – 9/10

The pressure was on the leg-spinner to deliver after an off-colour series against Australia and he delivered in style with an eight-wicket match haul. It was Yasir’s spell in the second innings that dragged Pakistan back into the match after a fine partnership between Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling.

Yasir Shah was back at his best.

Yasir Shah was back at his best.

NEW ZEALAND

Jeet Raval – 6/10

The New Zealand opener could score just seven in the first innings but looked much better in his second go with a polished 46.

Tom Latham – 4/10

Playing as an opener, Latham scored 13 runs in the first innings before being dismissed for a golden duck in the second.

Kane Williamson – 7/10

The New Zealand skipper looked a class apart with his assured knock of 63 in the first innings. With his talents, he will be disappointed not to have lasted longer in the second innings.

An assured display as usual from Williamson.

An assured display as usual from Williamson.

Ross Taylor – 4/10

Much more was expected from the senior New Zealand batsman who could muster only two runs in the first innings before being dismissed for 19 in the second.

Henry Nicholls – 7/10

The middle-order batsman gave an excellent account of himself with a solid half-century in the second innings. His partnership with Watling dug New Zealand out of a hole and gave them a fresh lease of life.

BJ Watling – 7/10

The New Zealand wicketkeeper was a steady hand behind the stumps and showed his fighting spirit with a gritty half-century in the second innings that dragged his side back into the game.

Colin de Grandhomme – 5/10

The New Zealand all-rounder was woeful with the bat with the two wickets he picked up with the ball in the first innings being his only saving grace. His value to the Test side remains an enigma and his latest contribution will only throw up more questions.

Ish Sodhi – 7/10

The Kiwi leg-spinner could only pick up the one wicket in the first innings but he was much better in the second where his double-wicket over sent the cats among the pigeons.

Neil Wagner – 8/10

The experienced pacer showed why his work-rate and tireless attitude is such an asset to the New Zealand team with a sensational spell in the second innings. His two wickets in that spell turned the match on its head after it had looked like Pakistan would coast to a comfortable win.

Wagner breathed life back into the game with a tireless spell.

Wagner breathed life back into the game with a tireless spell.

Ajaz Patel – 8/10

A debut to remember for the left-arm spinner who picked up a total of eight wickets across the two innings. His performance in the second innings was promising with his five-wicket haul leading New Zealand’s charge to an improbable victory.

Trent Boult – 8/10

The elite pacer showed his class with a four-wicket haul in the first innings which helped the tourists contain Pakistan’s lead to a manageable level. Despite not getting much assistance, Boult remained a tough customer to negotiate for the Pakistan batsmen.

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Ajaz Patel's maiden five-for helps New Zealand edge Pakistan by four runs

Waseem Ahmed 19/11/2018
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A sensational fightback from Kane Williamson's men at Abu Dhabi.

New Zealand showed amazing grit to steal a four-run win in an enthralling first Test against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.

Kane Williamson and his men looked to be out of the game as Pakistan resumed from their overnight score of 37-0 on day in their chase of a target of 176 runs.

However, the Kiwis were given an early lifeline on Monday by their spinners Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi. Patel pinned Imam-ul-Haq (27) to his crease to give the tourists a much-needed breakthrough before Sodhi accounted for Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail in the next over.

From 48-3, Pakistan’s chase was brought back on track by Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq who shared an 82-run stand for the fourth wicket. With victory seeming like a foregone conclusion for Pakistan, Neil Wagner breathed life back into the game by finding Shafiq’s (45) outside edge.

That wicket saw the floodgates open for New Zealand with the Babar Azam being run-out next after a lapse in communication with Azhar. Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed then became Patel’s second victim of the day before the New Zealand left-arm spinner also accounted for Bilal Asif.

Patel (c) picked up a maiden five-for in Test cricket.

Patel (c) picked up a maiden five-for in Test cricket.

Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali then both fell for ducks with Azhar left stranded with just last-man Mohammad Abbas for company.

The Pakistan veteran batsman notched up his half-century and found able support from Abbas as the target drew closer. Debutant Patel then claimed his maiden five-for after Azhar was adjudged to be lbw. The Pakistan batsman reviewed in desperation but it proved to be a futile one as the Kiwis celebrated a sensational victory in Abu Dhabi.

BRIEF SCORES

New Zealand: 153 and 249

Pakistan: 227 and 171

Pakistan second innings

Azhar Ali: 65 (136)

Ajaz Patel: 5-59 (23.4 overs)

Neil Wagner: 2-27 (13 overs)

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