Month: April 2019

Pakistan under fire as Chinans enjoy milestones

David Warner and Josh Hazlewood are on target to join the greats of the game, having celebrated milestones on a day when Pakistan was criticised for relinquishing their firm hold on the second Test.
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Warner ended his MCG curse with his maiden ton in a Boxing Day clash, spearing to 2-278 by stumps on day three, in response to Pakistan’s first innings of 9-443 declared led by an unbeaten double century from Azhar Ali.

Warner played a pivotal role in ‘s fightback by ensuring a run rate of more than four an over but he enjoyed good fortune on 81 when bowled off a no-ball by paceman Wahab Riaz, who had a case of the overstepping yips. He would deliver three straight no balls, and had trouble with the popping crease all afternoon, finishing with 10 no balls. His fellow bowlers were blemish free.

Pakistan great Waqar Younis lamented Riaz’s costly no-ball to Warner and the heavy runs leaked by leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

“Pakistan made it hard for themselves. If you are going to bowl all those no-balls – just take his (Warner’s) wicket and things might have changed,” he said on Macquarie Radio.

Azhar said Riaz had been working diligently on eradicating his no-ball problems but these had resurfaced.

“There is a lot of work to be done – today was, obviously, not ideal. He works a lot with the bowling coach. I think he wanted to bowl really quick and get some reverse swing,” Azhar said.

“The no-ball problem came and really hit him badly. Hopefully, he can turn it around tomorrow. “

Yasir, who has Shane Warne as a mentor, claimed the first n wicket when Matt Renshaw mistimed a slog sweep and was bowled but he lacked potency from that point. That he again was instructed to largely bowl to a defensive leg-side field did not help his cause.

“Yasir Shah looks ordinary. They [] have made him look ordinary,” Waqar said.

The dynamic Warner, in his 59th Test, became the 19th n to notch 5000 Test runs, and the sixth quickest, behind Don Bradman, Matthew Hayden, Greg Chappell, Neil Harvey and Mike Hussey.

Now the fittest he has been, Warner, 30, could yet play for another five years, giving him time to overtake Hayden (8625 runs at 50.73 in 103 Tests) as ‘s most prolific opening batsman.

The tourists had appeared in a commanding position when they declared, due largely to Azhar’s unbeaten 205 – the second highest score at the ground by an overseas batsman behind only Viv Richards (208 in 1984).

But that changed when the ground, lashed by rain through the opening two days, was bathed in sunshine in the late afternoon.

Warner was finally dismissed for 144 when a decision review appeal by Pakistan found he had feathered a leg-side edge behind off his glove off Riaz.

“You have, obviously, got to take the weather into consideration, you can’t control that. Our focus is about trying to bat as big as we can and make the most of it in the first innings,” Warner said.

Resuming at 6-310, the tourists thrashed 123 runs for the loss of only one wicket through the morning session after play had been delayed for 35 minutes because of drizzle.

Azhar, resuming on 139, motored to the third double century of his career, while tailender Sohail Khan took to Nathan Lyon with glee, crunching four sixes and finishing with his highest Test score.

Azhar attributed his personal success in part to seeking the advice of “players who have played here before”.

“Also, you have got to see what lines the bowlers are bowling – I concentrated really hard,” Azhar said.

“The good thing was my feet were moving and I judged the ball really well. I was really confident about my decision making. When the ball came in my zone, I was always ready to score runs from it.”

Hazlewood’s third wicket, when he caught Riaz off his own bowling, not only signalled a declaration but was also his 100th Test victim, in his 25th Test. He became the fourth n to do so before his 26th birthday.

Former skipper Michael Clarke said Hazlewood had prospered since understanding he needed to hit the deck hard rather than rely on swing, while Test great Glenn McGrath was also full of praise.

McGrath even suggested on Wednesday that Hazlewood could overtake his record fast-bowling haul of 563 wickets if he maintained health and fitness.


David Warner’s century against Pakistan shows he’s gone from rodeo clown to serious actor

Flying high: David Warner celebrates his century. Photo: Andy BrownbillPakistan 9 dec for 443. 2 for 278.
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Azhar Ali’s faultless 205 was the highest score by a visiting batsman in Melbourne since 32 summers ago, when Vivian Richards arrived at the MCG in career-worst form. Having made 162 runs from his previous 12 innings, Richards groped and clawed his way to a thoroughly unconvincing 208 from 245 balls.

Only the rarest of batting talents can make Test cricket look easy. Rarer still are those who can persuade the scoreboard to tell lies for them, giving their numbers the appearance of ease when the game has clearly become a hard grind. David Warner belongs to this circle within a circle. He came to his unhappiest hunting ground this week with moderate recent and local form, yet was still able to churn out a match-changing century.

When Warner and Matthew Renshaw opened the n innings, they had been fielding for so long they may well have forgotten how to bat. A mood of despondency had fallen over the n effort. Warner, who before the game placed public pressure on himself to rectify his mediocre record in Melbourne, dropped a catch: not an easy one, but one that he, alone among the n fieldsmen, was expected to take.

The auguries were not good, and soon Mohammed Amir tied Warner up with a leg-stump line and a cramping length. Warner shares one thing – and only one thing – in common with his rival as the most prolific opening batsman of the current era, England’s Alastair Cook. Both can make it futile for bowlers to focus on their favoured corridor of fourth or fifth stump, Cook because he will have nothing to do with such deliveries, and Warner because he harvests them so heavily. His run-making is so prodigious on the off-side, with a range of cuts, drives and jabs, that bowlers can only turn to the counter-instinctive remedy of bowling on the stumps, where he can get himself off strike with a glanced single. As with Cook, the bowlers are often left with a kind of Catch-22.

And so it was that even though Warner was struggling to find the middle of the bat, he could look up at the scoreboard and see his name rattling along towards 50. It must be infuriating for everyone else on the field to see that a fellow who is battling to lay bat on ball has somehow got to 30 off 40 balls. Renshaw saw this too, and reacted in the most human way, trying to hoick up his scoring rate. He will learn, as Chris Rogers did before him, that Warner must, like everything else, be blotted out of the mind. Usman Khawaja has learnt this, and, with typical insouciance, he played his own sweet game, complementing his partner and building yet another innings of substance.

Warner, meanwhile, forged ahead by sheer will power. He scored a century of runs on the off-side alone, with only leftovers on the leg-side. Wahab Riaz had the ball reverse-swinging at high pace but, unfortunately for him, was not bowling it from the required distance. His only way to pierce Warner’s defence was to creep over the line. Despite losing his run-up and the plot, Wahab continued to stir the pot, but Warner was in that mood, like Richards back in 1984, where he would take his runs ugly, if ugly was what it took.

His hundred – achieved, as if the story needed telling in one stroke, with an under-edge off Amir – was his 17th in Test cricket and his first since his 30th birthday. It is too soon to say if it marks a new phase in a career that has progressed under what might be called false pretences. Under the mask of a T20 slogger, Warner’s actual reputation is in the longest form of the game; bouncing onto the stage as a rodeo clown, he has turned out to be a leading actor in cricket’s serious drama.

For this game, his contribution wrought a sudden change in tempo and possibility. Thanks to rain and the pitch, this Boxing Day Test match has been made of a rough, stubborn clay. Pakistan’s batting tried to make something of it by pressing down into a state of hopelessness. ‘s only way of shaping the match was to take it by force and score quickly. Thanks to Warner’s innings, which ended at 144 when he gloved Wahab down the leg side, the ns have given themselves a chance. Posterity will note that he scored at a run a ball, suggesting that he breezed along, but this scorecard will be a suborned witness, like that one back in 1984, perjuring itself on the batsman’s behalf.


China v Pakistan series: David Warner says China have responded to ‘kick up the backside’ after South Africa losses

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 28: David Warner of leaps in the air as he celebrates reaching his century during day three of the Second Test match between and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2016 in Melbourne, . (Photo by Scott Barbour – CA/Cricket /Getty Images) Getty Images Photo: Scott Barbour – CAAs it happened: v Pakistan, Day Three
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David Warner says ‘s batsmen have responded to the “kick up the backside” they received from South Africa after another strong performance with the bat on Wednesday.

‘s new-look batting line-up passed another major test on the third day when they thundered at 4.79 runs per over, to make major inroads into Pakistan’s first innings of 443.

For the third game in a row, the home side have been powered by a first-innings century from one of their three senior batsmen. In Adelaide it was Usman Khawaja, in Brisbane it was captain Steve Smith and this time it was vice-captain David Warner who led the way.

The opener crashed 144 off only 143 balls as reached 2/278 at stumps on the third day.

The strong form of ‘s senior batting core means impressive newcomer Peter Handscomb will again not have to come to the crease under enormous pressure.

The performances of the past month is in marked contrast to the diabolical batting in Sri Lanka and the first two Tests against South Africa, where regularly lost wickets in clusters.

“It also has to do with the consistency of the opposition bowling. When you look at game two against South Africa they really had us on our throats,” Warner said.

“They had the ball in the same line and length six balls in a row, consistent pressure and it is quite challenging.

“The conditions were conducive to seam bowling, and there was a lot of swing around

“You have to keep working hard in the nets. We got a big kick up the backside that series and we’ve worked hard and that’s why we’re scoring the runs now.

Khawaja needs only five more runs to join Warner in triple figures. It would be the first time this summer he has scored a century at No.3. His ton in Adelaide came as an opener.

While being not out overnight in the 90s would lead to sleepless nights for many batsmen, Warner does not think it will affect Khawaja.

“It would not bother him the slightest, Ussie is the most calm, relaxed bloke you would ever meet,” Warner said.


FISHING: Avoiding the holiday traffic, photos of Lake shark sightings, rules breakers and what’s biting

WITH the holiday period combining withhot weather and nice fishing conditions thisweekend, anglers should get inearly or stay up late to avoid the rush.
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FISH OF THE WEEK: Tom Pepe from Fishing Point wins the the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 95cm cobia caught in Lake Macquarie on Wednesday.

Geoff“Kanga” Ruse, fromFreddy’s Fishing World, Broadmeadow, had a customer tell him that“Lake Macquarie actually looks like Sydney harbour.He was out fishing yesterday and it was unbelievable. There’s a lot of people around.”

Paul “Ringo” Lennon, fromTackleworld Port Stephens, said it was “pretty competitive” everywhere for a good fishing spot so “the key this time of the year is getting out early and beating all the crowds. The middle of the day’s going to be really tough”.

“This Saturday, Sunday is looking really good as far as weather goes. These nor-easters are typical of this time of year but if you get out early in the morning, it should be pretty good. But by lunchtime, the winds usually get up there and make it hard.”

Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fisherman’s Warehouse, Marks Point, said night fishing had been another rewarding option.

“Those guys who have been doing that, some are going out at midnight and fishing till dawn, and they have got some nice jew, bream, whiting and some flathead,” Jason said.

RIVAL LURKINGNight or day, those heading out near the deep waters around Pulbah Island in Lake Macquarie will have some decent competition for big catches, if recent social media posts are anything to go by.

Two photos were posted this week on a Lake Macquarie fishing Facebook page of what appears to be great white sharkcruisingnear a boat in waters allegedly off Point Wolstoncroft. The shark or sharksare no stranger to those fishos who regularly chase jew in the area.

“He’s been down there, the big guy,” Jason said.

The shark spotted allegedly near Point Wolstoncroft.

“There’s been a few jew fish down there and obviously whatthe shark has become accustomed to is that if you have a boat, he becomes inquisitive. If you’redragging fish off the bottom from a boat, he simplyassociates a boat with a food source.

“Iknow a couple of guys fishing at night, early in the season, one of the boys here had it become entangled with his boat and itmoved his boat about. Another had it shake his burley bag at the back of the boat.”

The shark spotted allegedly near Point Wolstoncroft.

RULES ARE RULESWith the influx of visitors and increase in those free to wet a line has also come frustration over lawbreakers.

Jason said a growing number of anglers are ignoring the ban on fishing off Swansea Bridge, which he believed was creating a dangerous situation.

“I’ve had a few guys complaining that when they go under Swansea Bridge of an evening, they can become entangled in people’s lines,” Jason said.“Someone is going to get caught up, shake their head and end up in the pylon. It’s a navigational hazard and the authorities need to act.”

Also causing angst and confusion are people breaking the rules around crab trapping.

The NSW DPI Fisheries this week revealed a68-year-old man from Kurri Kurri was fined $1200 for using fourcrab traps and possessing 18 blue swimmer crabs. According to the Facebook post, “the man admitted to using fourtraps, including threethat were marked with other peoples’ details, interfering with set fishing gear and taking the 18 crabs from Wallis Lake”.Fisheries officers are targeting illegal crabbing as part of Operation Portunus.

Jason said two types of crabbing devices can be used in Lake Macquarie –thewitches hat net and a drop dilly –but all others wereprohibited. He added that the problem wasrules governing the types of traps allowed, and how many, change from place to place.

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MIXED BAGWhile friendly,light southerly winds are predicted this weekend, nor-east winds this week have led to a drop in water temperatures and a quiet timeoffshore.

However, there seems to be plenty on offer closer to home.

“There’s plenty of whiting on the beaches and in the estuaries. Live worms are the go for them,” Paul said.“Pretty much all ocean beaches are fishing well for them, Stockton, Samurai, Fingal, inside the Bay, Shoal Bay, Little Beach.

“There’s been some nice jewies caught in the estuaries, especially up to Soldiers Point, with live baits in the deeper water. There’s nice flatties around as well. One of our customers got a 99 centimetre one Wednesday.”

Jason said “the prawn run is almost done,but there’s some nice reports around” in the lake.

“There’s still whiting, especially in the channel and that will be on the back of that run,” he said.“In the estuaries, there’s been a few good school jew getting caught in the night.”

He said there had been a slight increase in squid numbers in the lake and reports of flathead, some over the 90-centimetre mark, being caught there as well

“The beaches are still fishing well,” he added. “I heard a whisper of a few mulloway along the beach, as well as flathead, whiting. A few boys have got the odd tailor as well, and I heard of a few catches this week of large tailor in the lake.”

While offshore catches are down, Paul said there was still some reports of success.

“There’s been the odd nice kingy out the front, near Broughton Island,and some nice snapper early morning up around those islands,” he said.

“Offshore has still been pretty quiet because of those nor-easters, theytend to make the water go cold, green. The water temp is down this week. There’s still been some nice snapper being caught, but the marlin scene has been slow. It will get there, but not yet.”


Bob Hawke says abolish state governments and think big to fix the nation

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has put forward a bold plan to fix . Photo: Andrew Meares Crowds at the Woodford Folk Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Supplied
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Bob Hawke believes he has the recipe to fix the nation: think big, get better candidates, abolish state governments and use “rational, unemotional thinking” to solve issues for the greater good.

The former prime minister – who won four elections and is considered one of the nation’s most popular leaders – used what has become his regular address at Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival to once again push for a federation overhaul.

It’s one of Mr Hawke’s pet issues – having first made the argument in a 1979 Boyer lecture – and he said the time had come to “think big” and reform the nation’s political set-up for the good of the country.

“What we have today – as I have said before – basically represents the meanderings of British explorers across the n continent more than 200 years ago,” he said.

“They wandered around and lines were drawn on a map and jurisdiction and governance followed.

“So you have 13 parliaments [including senates] dealing with much the same issues and I believe that the simple fact is the states should be abolished.

“I raised that with my own colleagues and, would you believe it, they are not overly keen on it.

“So many comfortable seats to put bums on in parliaments all over this country, but it seems to me that that is what ought to happen.”

Mr Hawke said he would keep the state boundaries “for interstate sport and that sort of thing”.

He said the quality of political candidates also needed to improve.

“I think this is more of a problem for the conservative side of politics than mine, because on our side we tend to have some ideology-driven mood which brings up good people,” he said.

“You just look at it: you have a businessman, a good bloke who has done well, who tends to be on the conservative side of politics. Quite apart from the money he would lose going into Parliament, so many would have to ask themselves, I’m sure, ‘Why should I go in and subject myself, and my family, my wife and children, to this intrusive inspection of their daily lives?'”

Mr Hawke said the time had come “where we have to think big if we are going to face the big issues of our time; we have to be prepared to face changes which are quite radical”. These included global warming.

He recommended the Turnbull government consider opening for the storage of nuclear waste.

“The issues at stake here are of such fundamental importance that we require rational, unemotional thinking,” he said.

“Slogan-mongering is not good enough – nimby, not in my backyard – ignores the fact that the world’s leading geologists have said that we have the world’s geologically safest backyard, [the] most remote backyard, and we cannot ignore that fact if we are to be serious to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”

He said he had begun investigating such issues shortly before he was replaced as prime minister by Paul Keating, and believed it would be “a win for the global environment” as “an essential part of the attack which must be made on this grievously creeping global warming”.

He said it would be “a win for the n economy” and provide the nation with the funds to address “the greatest stain” on its character: “the great gaps that exist between our Aboriginal brothers and sisters” and the rest of the nation.

The international community would embrace the opportunity, he said.

“On one of my recent visits to China I met with a recent prime minister of Japan and when I told him about what I saw as this possibility of taking the world’s [nuclear] waste – I don’t exaggerate – he nearly had an orgasm.

“That would have been a sight, wouldn’t it?”

Mr Hawke has become a regular fixture at the end of year festival, attracting hundreds of attendees to his talks. This year, he helped open the festivities, leading the crowd in a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

With James Jessup 

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