CRICKETAustralia skittle Pakistan to seize control at the GabbaAustralia seized the advantage on the opening day of the first Test when they bowled Pakistan out for 240 just before stumps at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday.After the visitors resisted stubbornly in the first session, reaching 57 for no wicket at lunch, pace trio Mitchell Starc (4-52), Josh Hazlewood (2-46) and Pat Cummins (3-60) tore through the Pakistan batting order to put the hosts in charge at the close of play.Australia seized the initiative after lunch when they took five wickets for just 19 runs, reducing Pakistan from 75 for none to 94 for five.The pacemen then struck again late in the day, with 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah just squeezing out Starc’s hat-trick ball.“It was quite a welcome to Test cricket wasn’t it?” Hazlewood said.Hazlewood said the fast bowlers had enjoyed the extra bounce at the Gabba.“The way we fought back in the second session was perfect,” he said.Pakistan were rescued from complete disaster by Asad Shafiq who played a lone hand, scoring 76 well-made runs.England stand firm against Black Caps on attritional dayEngland’s Ben Stokes hits a shot on day one of the first Test cricket match between England and New Zealand at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on November 21, 2019. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)Half-centuries from Joe Denly and Ben Stokes breathed life into England who reached 241 for four at stumps after a slow start on the first day of the opening Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on Thursday.With England intent on occupying the crease as long as possible — although captain Joe Root’s stay was very brief — and New Zealand bowling tight lines, run-scoring was not a priority but the day was not without its drama.Denly, who claimed the honours in a fascinating battle with New Zealand’s short-ball maestro Neil Wagner, fell for 74 when the second new ball was taken.New Zealand-born Stokes, who punished Trent Boult with four boundaries off consecutive balls, including one from a dropped catch by Ross Taylor at first slip, was unbeaten on 67 with Ollie Pope on 18.Colin de Grandhomme, with gentle medium pacers drifting away from the batsmen, finished with two for 28 while Tim Southee and Wagner had a wicket each. – AFP.=============TENNISAndy Murray’s love of a comeback continues in Davis CupThe Davis Cup has a new format but Andy Murray’s love of a comeback remains intact after the Scot battled from behind to beat Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday as Great Britain edged past Holland.Murray came from a set down and then trailed 4-1 in the decider in Madrid before beating the spirited Griekspoor, ranked 179 in the world, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).“I’ve found a way to win matches many times in my career when I’ve not been playing well,” Murray said. “You can draw on that a little bit.”A scrappy victory gave Great Britain the lead in their opening Group E tie and while Dan Evans lost the second singles rubber to Robin Haase, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski finished the job in the doubles.Rafael Nadal won his 26th consecutive Davis Cup singles match later on Wednesday as Spain booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 victory over defending champions Croatia.Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, cruised past Yoshihito Nishioka to help Serbia beat Japan by the same scoreline. – AFP.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.