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  • 15 Apr
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Howard scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of 19 free throws in a 2 1/2-minute stretch, and the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 122-111. Jaromir Jagr Jersey . The Islanders dealt Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens after less than a year on Long Island. Meanwhile, the Oilers dealt long-time sniper Ales hemsky to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-rounder in 2015. Dallas Stars Jerseys . Their experience showed Tuesday as the No. 10 Badgers blunted a Saint Louis surge to win 63-57 and advance to face West Virginia in Wednesdays finals of the Cancun Challenge. Wahab Riaz at his best is the big bad wolf. Pakistans enforcer. The man who bowls the heavy balls, the balls that hit batsmen and hit stumps. There is an implied danger in almost everything he does.It starts with the run up to the crease; it gathers in desperation. Every single pace gets longer as he gets close as if he is desperate to bowl the ball. Powerful and manly. And then those shoulders open up at the crease, and the ball isnt delivered, its hurled.Then pure pace. It feels quicker than the speed gun ever tells us. It has heat and anger. As does he, quite often after the ball has just missed the batsman. When he appeals, it is a full-throated demand. There is nothing polite about it, it isnt an inquiry, you will give him his wicket.When he takes a wicket, he performs full body screams. They take longer than his run up, and are every bit as off-putting as his bouncer. Hes just as likely to look angry at a wicket as happy.The only real problem is he just doesnt do it enough.****Everyone has a favourite Wahab spell. Not a day, not a ball, almost never an innings, but almost always a spell. Wahab is not an all-day man, he is one huge presence for a short period. But if you have seen it, it is all you can think about.Hemant Buch, the Ten Sports producer, once talked to Waqar Younis about a spell he thought was great for Wisden India, to which Waqar said, This wasnt a great spell at all. If he had bowled a great spell, he would have taken three or four wickets. How many of his deliveries would have hit the stumps? Almost none. And he was getting so much reverse swing, if he had just kept it within the stumps, Stokes would have been a dead duck. And the others would have struggled too.Perhaps the most famous of Wahabs spells was him up against Shane Watson. It wasnt a spell; it was an experience.For Watson it was about survival, he was still unsettled by his friend Phil Hughes dying, and he hadnt played the short ball well since that happened. And hed sledged Wahab earlier.For the rest of us, it was a heavyweight bout, with one guy trying to duck and weave, while landing the odd punch and the other guy throwing haymakers with precision and anger.When Wahab ran past Watson and started clapping, the theatre came in as well. Dangerous theatre. From then on in, it didnt matter that Australia won easily, it didnt matter that Watson was unbeaten, it didnt matter that Smith played him more easily, it didnt matter that catches went down, Wahab v Watson became the thing people remembered from that match, and for some, the thing they remembered from the whole World Cup.It was as if Wahab wasnt bowling from the other end, but letting go from right under Watsons throat. Few people have ever made blowing a kiss such an act of war.But for all of Wahabs bounce, his pace, his fire, he only took two wickets in that spell, and that was never going to be enough. And like much of Wahabs career, the theatre was better than the reality.Shane Watson has a better Test bowling average than Wahab Riaz.****Usually, in Test Cricket, talent wins out. There are players, such as Mark Ramprakash, who through a series of unfortunate events dont quite make it after playing a fair bit of cricket. For bowlers, it can sometimes be easier; they dont get shelved after one bad shot, one poor decision. They may release the ball and hope for the best, but over time they usually get what they deserve.There are those rare creatures who for all the talent, hard work and weapons, still just struggle to take wickets. Mike Hendrick ended with a bowling average of 25, he played 30 Tests and yet he took only 87 wickets, not one five-wicket haul among them. Then there was Chris Martin who bowled endless quality spells that beat the bat and produced little and ended with a bowling average of 33. And Javagal Srinath, probably the third best quick from India, who took 21 Tests to produce his first five-wicket haul.Wahab is faster than all of them, capable with the new ball, and can also destroy with the old ball. He has played around the world, has limited-overs confidence behind him and generallyy is part of a decent attack.dddddddddddd. And in his six-year career, he has 51 wickets from his 17 Tests. If you are a batsman, and he is in one of the Wahab the Wrecker moods, those numbers would seem like a prank from the scoreboard attendant.****We dont remember Wahab as a disappointment; we remember him for the spells.In Dubai 2015, Wahab came on with England well set. He had taken one wicket early on in the innings, but now Root and Bairstow were in danger of taking the game away from Pakistan. Wahab took Root, then Stokes and then Buttler. England lost 6 for 32.In Colombo 2014, Wahab came on with Sri Lanka about to take the game away from Pakistan. In one over Wahab took Dickwella and Perera, and then almost took Prasads head off. Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 35 runs.This is the Wahab we remember. That flashes in front of our eyes as his name is used. Balls that punch past batsman, reverse swing that kicks pads out the way, and him screaming through past the batsman in pained ecstasy. But in Test Cricket, it doesnt happen much.If you are waiting for all the other tales of great spells and match defining moments, there arent many. Wahab took a five-wicket haul on debut, and since then, that Dubai Test against England is the only time he has taken more than three wickets in an innings.The spell against Watson and Australia was only two wickets. And even his five-wicket haul against India in the World Cup was too little, spread over several non-match defining spells, and his only five-wicket haul. Hes like an apex predator who wings you in the most gloriously vicious way, and then lets you live.At Lords for day five of this series, he was perhaps at his most Wahab. If anyone was going to blast through Bairstow and Woakes, it was Wahab and his pace and his reverse swing, and his personality. That reverse swing, so heavy it looked like only he could lift it. He ran on the wicket, he ran off the wicket; he ran around the wicket, and he banged the ball so hard into the wicket the whole world shook. He bowled a spell so monstrous that it cast a shadow over an already incredible Test. His reverse swing rockets from around the wicket and seemed to get more vicious and scarier with every moment. And Lords tightened up as if it was under attack.And at the end of all that manly, brutal, skilful, dastardly display of Pakistani fast bowling aggression he took no wickets.****Today he had a chance to make his first real mark on this series. The pace was there, and he was controlling the ball well, and his carry was scarily good. And England were jumping. Here he was at the only Test ground he had ever conquered, and with a chance to square the series. He was at Alastair Cook. Pakistan replaced their first slip, but it was pretty much the same outcome: Pakistan bowler produces error from batsman; Pakistan slip produces error from hands. Cook is dropped. But Wahab keeps powering through, and a quick short ball takes the edge of Root. Then the same kind of ball, but better, and more Wahab in every way, rips up and across James Vince like a surprise uppercut and Vince edges behind. Then it is Gary Ballance, in the same spell the other side of lunch, pushing half forward, and edging to slip.Moeens first ball crashes into his team crest and makes a sickening noise. Wahab gestures to Moeen to see if he is alright, and then just heads back to his mark to finish him off.Wahab is on fire. Pakistan are charging. But Wahab wont add to this wickets in that spell, or any spell after. There will be a wicket of Jonny Bairstow, which he celebrates while the umpire calls no ball, and there will be an over where Woakes and Moeen take him for 17 runs, and thats it. Pakistan, and Wahab, dont capitalise on his spell.Wahab should have dismissed five of the top six; he should have owned the day for Pakistan. Instead it is a Wahab kind of day. Its memorable, but not that lucrative.Wahab the wolf huffs and puffs, and ends with 3 for 93. ' ' '