MANCHESTER: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on Sunday that the tourists´ “relentless” bowlers deserve as much credit for retaining the Ashes as Steve Smith.
The world´s top-ranked Test batsman, Smith has been in superb form this Ashes with 671 runs, including three hundreds, at an average of 134.20.
Smith made a commanding 211 in Australia´s 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, a result that left them 2-1 up with just one to play ahead of next week´s finale at The Oval.
But Ponting — twice a losing Ashes series captain in England in 2005 and 2009 — insisted the bowlers´ efforts should not be ignored.
“I think they (Australia) should have had a bigger lead, not just on the back of Steve Smith,” Ponting, one of the best batsmen of his generation, told Sky Sports.
“Everyone is talking about what impact he has had, but the whole bowling department has been absolutely outstanding. Look at the difference in the bowling attacks in this game.
“(Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Nathan) Lyon, match that up with the England attack. There were more holes in that England attack than the Australia one.
“They were relentless in everything they did.”
Meanwhile, ex-England skipper Nasser Hussain said Australia deserved to keep the Ashes.
That England took the game into the final hour of Sunday´s last day before being dismissed for 197, having been none for two after Cummins took two wickets in two balls, said much about their resolve.
But Hussain, the last England captain to fail to win an Ashes series on home soil in 2001, said the hosts could have no complaints given they had lost the opener by 251 runs and then only drawn level thanks to Ben Stokes´s stunning century that secured a one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley.
“There has been progress,” said Hussain.
“You can´t fault the character and resilience of this England side. Other England sides would have just crumbled in a heap.
“But the problem is they often find themselves 10 for two, 20 for two.
“Against certain sides you can come back from that, but from nought for two last night against this Australian attack, you can´t come back from that.”
“Let´s be honest, if England had gone to The Oval at 1-1, I think it would have been a travesty,” he added.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday reiterated its principled policy stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, urging all sides to re-engage in talks for lasting peace.
Hours after the United States announced suspension of talks with Taliban for the Afghan peace process, Pakistan urged all parties to re-engage to find negotiated peace from the ongoing political settlement process.
The Foreign Office (FO), in a statement, said: “Pakistan looks for optimised engagement following earliest resumption of talks.”
FO said that Pakistan has been “facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in good faith and as a shared responsibility, and it has encouraged all sides to remain engaged with sincerity and patience”.
Earlier, Donald Trump had called off a secret summit with the Taliban and Afghanistan’s leader, abruptly slamming the door on a year of diplomacy to end US longest war.
NEW YORK: Belgium´s Elise Mertens and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka captured their first Grand Slam title Sunday by winning the US Open women´s doubles final over Australia´s Ashleigh Barty and Belarus´ Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 7-5.
The fourth-seeded duo dropped only one set in the tournament in reaching their first Grand Slam final.
“I can´t believe we won a Grand Slam,” Mertens said. “It´s all so new. Thanks to Aryna. I keep her going. She keeps me going.”
Sabalenka´s overhead smash produced a break to win the first set and it was an Azarenka overhead smash beyond the baseline that ended matters after 97 minutes.
“It´s like something unbelievable this year happened, especially in doubles,” Sabalenka said. “I´ve enjoyed every second on the court.”
Mertens and Sabalenka won the only prior meeting between the duos on the way to capturing the Miami title.
Barty, who takes over Monday as world number one in singles, won last year´s US Open title with American CoCo Vandeweghe.
The Aussie could have become the first woman with back-to-back US Open women´s doubles titles since France´s Nathalie Dechy in 2006 and 2007.
“The level was high and we were right there,” Barty said. “But they were huge on the big points and that´s why they won the title.”
TEHRAN: Iran´s atomic agency chief hit out Sunday at European powers, saying their broken promises gave the Islamic republic little choice but to scale back its commitments under a nuclear deal.
Ali Akbar Salehi was speaking to reporters alongside Cornel Feruta, the acting head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who was on a one-day visit to Tehran.
The IAEA official´s visit came less than 24 hours after Iran said it was firing up advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium at a faster rate — the latest blow to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
It was the third step in a strategy Iran implemented in May, reducing its nuclear commitments in a bid to force the deal´s remaining parties to deliver on promises of relief from crippling US sanctions.
Britain, France and Germany have been trying to save the nuclear deal, which began unravelling last year when US President Donald Trump withdrew from it and began reimposing the punitive measures against Iran.
“The European Union was supposed to be the replacement of the US but, unfortunately, they failed to act on their promises,” Salehi told reporters.
“We heard the EU spokesperson say they would be committed to the JCPOA as long as Iran is,” he said, referring to the deal by its formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“I am wondering. Are they committed to non-adherence? Are they committed to breaking promises? Unfortunately, the Europeans have done this so far.”
The head of Iran´s Atomic Energy Organisation said the JCPOA was now just a “one-way street”.
“The street was supposed to be two-way. If it´s going to be one-way, the Islamic Republic of Iran will definitely make the right decisions at the right time like it has done with these three steps,” said Salehi.
During his visit, Feruta was informed about Iran´s “announced activities related to its centrifuge research and development”, according to a statement from the Vienna-based IAEA.
The UN nuclear watchdog said “ongoing interactions… require full and timely cooperation by Iran,” which diplomats said may hint at worries about information sharing.
In a report on August 30, the IAEA said it was continuing to verify compliance through cameras and on-site inspections.
France, which has been leading the European efforts to rescue the nuclear deal, on Sunday urged Iran to halt its steps away from the accord.
“The channels for dialogue are still open, including today… (but) Iran must give up such actions,” said Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The crumbling accord was meant to give Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday discussed Iran in a telephone conversation, their offices said.
The two leaders “spoke in favour of uniting the efforts of all interested parties in order to preserve the JCPOA and full compliance with it”, a Kremlin statement said.
The Elysee palace in Paris said Macron and Putin agreed “all concerned parties” should take “political decisions… to ease tensions”.
– IAEA scrutiny –
Iran has taken a series of retaliatory steps to reduce compliance with the deal since the US withdrawal in May 2018.
On July 1, it said it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the 300-kilogram limit set by the agreement.
A week later, the Islamic republic announced it had exceeded the deal´s uranium enrichment level of 3.67 percent.
On Saturday, Iran´s Atomic Energy Organisation said it had taken another step by starting up 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 advanced centrifuges.
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium using only first generation — or IR-1 — centrifuges.
Despite the latest move, the agency said Iran would allow the IAEA to continue monitoring its nuclear facilities in accordance with the 2015 agreement.
Feruta also held talks on Sunday with Iran´s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The watchdog said he would report the findings from his visit to Iran to the agency´s board of governors when it convenes for a quarterly meeting in Vienna on Monday.
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Australia captain Tim Paine hailed Steve Smith as the best player he has ever seen after the star batsman picked up the man-of-the match award following victory in the fourth Test against England on Sunday.
The home side, set a huge second-innings target of 383 to win, were bowled out for 197, putting Australia 2-1 up in the five-Test series ahead of next week´s finale at the Oval.
The result means current holders Australia retain the Ashes regardless of the result in the final match of the series.
Smith scored 211 and 82 in the game to take his tally for the series to an astonishing 671 runs at an average innings of 134.2, including three hundreds, despite missing England´s one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley with concussion.
“I´m not sure I have ever played better,” Smith told Sky Sports. “I have enjoyed my time in the middle. I have come back fresh from a year out, but relaxed and chilled out. I want to be the one in the middle doing my job for the team as I don´t particularly enjoy watching cricket.”
Paine said: “Steve is the best player I have ever seen. He showed that again in this Test match. He knows the game so well and reads it so well.”
Australia coach Justin Langer also hailed Smith, who tops the global Test batting rankings after returning from a 12-month ball-tampering ban.
“We´ve got the best fast bowler in the world (Pat Cummins) and the best Test batsman in the world,” he told Sky Sports.
“I thought Virat Kohli was the best batsman I´ve ever seen because of the way he plays in all forms, but Steve Smith… That´s another level.
“He´s a great problem-solver. His hunger for the game, I´ve never seen anything like it.”
TORONTO, Canada: Portraying a terrorist attack on a New York art museum in “The Goldfinch,” the new film starring Nicole Kidman, evoked fears of psychological trauma and uncomfortable real-life parallels, filmmakers said Sunday.
The chilling scene at the start of Donna Tartt´s Pulitzer-winning novel, on which the movie is based, sees 13-year-old Theo lose his mother and barely escape himself through a crumbling pile of priceless art treasures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The bombing is shown without sound and strictly from the foggy perspective of the child in flashback sequences, in part to avoid comparisons with incidents such as the 9/11 attacks in the same city, director John Crowley said at Toronto´s film festival.
“With our perspective it felt wrong to reference real terrorist attacks,” he said. “For you to have your head taken to that just didn´t feel that appropriate.”
Kidman, playing the mother of Theo´s friend who is forced to take in the child following the bombing, said she had studied the effects of trauma for her UN ambassador work on war and crimes against women and children, as well as a number of film roles.
“So much of the time it is not screaming in the moment” but rather taking “a lifetime to process what has happened,” she said.
“As an actor, a lot of times, when you´re acting things that are very traumatic, your body doesn´t know the difference,” added Kidman, who recently played a murder detective in “Destroyer” and starred in Civil War drama “The Beguiled.”
“Your brain says, ´Oh, this is real´ … and your body suddenly goes into that traumatic response.”
Oakes Fegley, the child actor playing Theo, said shooting the scene on a soundstage was “extremely eerie.”
“You can see it in the film, that he doesn´t even react fully until he leaves the museum. And it all hits him at that one moment where he releases that scream,” he said.
Crowley said that author Tartt had been provoked to write the scene after the Taliban´s demolition of the two ancient, giant statues — the Buddhas of Bamiyan — in Afghanistan.
The director said he deliberately avoided gratuitous shots of the museum attack because he was deeply aware of the offense of “the erasure of something that had sat there for thousands of years, just gone … and what that meant, for the time that we live in.”
“My way into the offensiveness of the act in the gallery was to sort of keep it off stage, as it were,” he added.
“Goldfinch” premieres Saturday night at the Toronto International Film Festival — the largest in North America, which runs until September 1.
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Australia retained the Ashes with a 185-run thrashing of England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Victory left Australia 2-1 up in the five-Test series ahead of next week´s finale at the Oval.
England, set a mammoth target of 383 to win, were dismissed for 197 on the fifth day.
Craig Overton, who batted for 105 balls, was last man out when lbw to Josh Hazlewood for 21.
Australia paceman Pat Cummins, the world´s top-ranked Test bowler, had second-innings figures of 4-43 after teammate Steve Smith, top of the corresponding batting standings, scored 211 and 82.
That took Smith´s tally for the series series to 671 runs at 134.2 including three hundreds, despite missing England´s one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley with concussion.
Australia 1st Innings 497-8 dec (S Smith 211, M Labuschagne 67, T Paine 58, M Starc 54 no; S Broad 3-97)
England 1st Innings 301 (R Burns 81, J Root 71; J Hazlewood 4-57, P Cummins 3-60, M Starc 3-80)
Australia 2nd Innings 186-6 dec (S Smith 82; J Archer 3-45)
England 2nd Innings 197 (J Denly 53; P Cummins 4-43)
Result: Australia won by 185 runs
Series: Australia lead five-match series 2-1
BAJAUR: The traders and shopkeepers of Nawagai Bazar of the district here Sunday informed that massive destruction had occurred with recent torrential rains and flash flood of Saturday.
Talking to APP, Leader of Anjumane Tajran Sarhad Ali Qazi informed that the main road of Nawagai Bazar had destroyed due to flash flood and was not suitable for traffic.
He said the rain water had stored in Bazar due to non-availability of sanitation system.
He also demanded the authorities concerned and local members of national and provincial assemblies to take immediate steps for protection of the bazar.
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Jos Buttler led a defiant rearguard action as England fought desperately to draw the fourth Test against Australia at Old Trafford on Sunday and keep the Ashes alive.
England were 166-6 at tea on the final day in a match in which a win for Australia would see the holders retain the Ashes at 2-1 up with one to play in a five-Test series.
Buttler, England´s last recognised batsman, was 30 not out, with the usually free-flowing runscorer having faced 96 balls, while Craig Overton was unbeaten on 12 off 47 deliveries.
Any thoughts of England chasing down an imposing victory target of 383 had long since evaporated.
Instead, with a new ball available to Australia 11 overs after tea, the question was whether they could hold out for a draw, which would leave the series all square ahead of next week´s finale at the Oval in London.
England, resuming on their overnight 18-2, got through the first hour without losing a wicket.
But when Ben Stokes, whose superb 135 not out had sealed a stunning win at Headingley, fell for just one shortly before lunch, the home side were floundering at 74-4.
England started the day with makeshift opener Joe Denly 10 not out and Jason Roy eight not out after Pat Cummins had taken two wickets in two balls on Saturday, including Joe Root for a golden duck, the England captain´s third nought in five innings.
The most England had made in the fourth innings to win a Test was the 362-9 they posted at Headingley
But their immediate goal was to bat out the fifth day for a draw — something they had not done since Matt Prior helped them defy New Zealand at Auckland in 2013.
Denly was fortunate to see a loose drive off left-arm quick Mitchell Starc fly over the slips for four and he almost gave his wicket away when, despite England´s desperate position, he lofted a sweep off Nathan Lyon´s off-spin which just dropped short of deep midwicket.
World Cup-winner Roy, who has struggled to transfer his one-day international form into the Test arena, defended solidly before he cover-drive Starc for four.
Fast bowler Cummins, however, struck again when a fine-off cutter found a gap between bat and pad to bowl Roy for 31.
Stokes walked out to a huge ovation from a capacity 23,500 crowd.
But he had made just one when Cummins, the world´s top-ranked Test bowler, cut one back to the left-handed batsman, with Australia captain and wicketkeeper Tim Paine holding a good diving catch off the inside edge.
Stokes did not even wait for umpire Marais Erasmus to raise his finger before leaving the crease.
Denly, who rode his luck to be 48 not out at lunch, completed a 112-ball fifty when he drove Starc down the ground for four.
But he was out soon afterwards for 53 when he gloved a Lyon delivery that turned and bounced out of the rough to Marnus Labuschagne at short leg.
Jonny Bairstow and Buttler were together for 14 overs until the former´s 61-ball 25 ended when he was lbw to Starc.
Bairstow reviewed but, with Kumar Dharmasena´s decision upheld on umpire´s call, England were 138-6.
Cummins thought he had his fifth wicket of the innings when Overton, on five, was given out lbw only for Erasmus´s decision to be overturned after a review revealed the ball had pitched outside off stump
WASHINGTON: Former Republican governor Mark Sanford announced Sunday he is entering the race for his party´s presidential nomination, in a long-shot challenge to President Donald Trump.
Sanford, who would be the third Republican to mount a primary bid against Trump, said he had decided to run because of the “astounding” debt and deficits piled up during his presidency.
“I think as a Republican party we have lost our way,” he said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
“The president has called himself the king of debt, has a familiarity and comfort level with debt that I think ultimately is leading us in the wrong direction.”
Sanford´s decision comes amid reports that Republican officials in some states, including his home state of South Carolina as well as Nevada and Arizona, are considering canceling their 2020 primaries.
Asked whether he really thought he could defeat Trump, Sanford replied: “I´m saying, you never know.”
“I´m listing my goals, my primary goals to say let´s go out and force, or try and create a conversation on that which is not being talked about in this presidential cycle,” he said.
“The thing that has been lacking in this debate has been an earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits in government spending.”
Sanford was governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011, and served two separate stints in the House of Representatives, but lost a party primary in 2018.
Also running against Trump for the Republican nomination are Joe Walsh, a former Tea Party firebrand who served a single term in Congress, and William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor.