October 19, 2018 / 9:03 AM / a month ago

Cricket-Abbas masterclass drives Pakistan towards victory

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas floored the Australian middle order, putting the hosts only two wickets away from a victory in the second and final test in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Chasing a mammoth target of 538, Australia hobbled their way to 155 for seven at lunch on the fourth day and are without their in-form batsman Usman Khawaja, who will not bat after suffering a knee injury.

The tourists had added just 24 runs to their overnight score of 47-1 when Abbas broke through by having Travis Head (36) caught behind.

The 28-year-old seamer struck again in his next over, trapping Mitchell Marsh leg before for five.

A darting Abbas inswinger found opening batsman Aaron Finch (31) plumb in front of the stumps before captain Tim Paine’s off-stump was knocked back for a duck in the same over.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah then picked with two wickets in two overs, sending Mitchell Starc (28) and Peter Siddle (3) back to the pavilion.

Marnus Labuschagne, playing only his second test, grafted his way to 43, while Nathan Lyon remained unbeaten on nought.

Abbas, who claimed five wickets in the first innings, has taken 4-56 in the second to become the first pace bowler to take 15 or more wickets in a test series in the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa’s joint-highest test wicket-taker Dale Steyn was impressed with another strong show from Abbas.

“I see a new number 1 Test bowler coming... Mohammad Abbas,” the 35-year-old fast bowler said on Twitter.

The morning session started on a sour note for both teams, with Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed taken to hospital and Khawaja ruled out with a meniscal tear to his left knee that is likely to require surgery. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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