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Posted by On 12:44 PM

Australia and Pakistan join hands for Abu Dhabi rollercoaster ride

Cricket Australia and Pakistan join hands for Abu Dhabi rollercoaster ride

  • Pakistan 282; Australia 20-2
  • Nathan Lyon becomes Australia’s fourth-highest wicket taker
Nathan Lyon of Australia celebrates with teammates after dismissing Babar Azam.
Nathan Lyon of Australia celebrates with teammates after dismissing Babar Azam. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Test cricket is all about momentum shifts and contrasts. None more so than this. After the long slow unfolding of the first Test’s classic draw, the second Test between Pakistan and Australia in Abu Dhabi started in fast- forward.

Even though the pitch had some grass left on it and produced some bounce, Australia would have been dreading another first-day grind, losing the toss for the second time in the series and asked to bowl at a ground where the average first-innings score is north of 400.

Instead they were part of a day that shifted like the desert dunes surrounding the stadium. It involved records, collapses, counterattacks and flourishes, a rush of wickets and two near-centuries, as Australia dismissed Pakistan for 282, then fell to two for 20 themselves by stumps.

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It was a cinematic day, nothing happening in expected fashion. The first breakthrough was suitably unorthodox, Mohammed Hafeez following a century in the first Test by glancing Mitchell Starc. It was flush off the face of the bat, but hit the short-leg fieldsman Marnus Labuschagne in the box. Televisi on cameras measured reaction time, but the catcher hadn’t had time to move a muscle.

He did react when the rebound hit his knee and bobbled up as he fell. While spinning a half circle and rolling onto his back, Labuschagne knocked it up onto his chest and clasped it there with both legs. He had turned a late 1980s breakdance move into a completed catch according to the Laws of the game. Still, it looked like the only joy Australia would experience as Pakistan powered on with a 50-run stand. Fakhar Zaman was on debut, the man known for his blazing batting in white-ball cricket that included a century to win last year’s Champions Trophy final, and a double-hundred in a one-dayer last July.

He had been hitting them well, carving runs from the fast bowlers, when he drove spinner Jon Holland straight to midwicket. Perhaps confused by the lack of initial groin contact, Labuschagne dropped the catch. There were visions of a long day of punishment ahead.

But while F akhar went on, his teammates did not. As Nathan Lyon sent down his off-breaks, Azhar Ali chipped a return catch. Haris Sohail had made a century in the first Test, but followed up with a golden duck as he squeezed Lyon’s next ball to Travis Head at silly mid-off.

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The over ended, and Lyon’s hat-trick ball to start his next was seen out by Asad Shafiq. Not so the ball to follow, which a smart DRS referral found had taken an edge into the pad on its way to Labuschagne at short leg. With visions of taking the attack back to Australia, Babar Azam skipped down the wicket two balls later to punt Lyon over long-on. Instead the ball met leg stump. Pakistan had been 57 for one, then were 57 for five. Lyon had four wickets for none.

In the process, he overtook Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson to become Australia’s fourth-highest wicket taker. With 314 to his name, the only names no w ahead of him read Lillee, McGrath, and Warne. The off-spinner can no longer be underestimated. His nickname of ‘Goat’ grows less satirical by the match.

But Pakistan were not done. In keeping with the strangeness of the day, their two most attacking players were tasked with forming a rearguard. Fakhar fought against his instincts, finding Lyon especially was gaining bounce and turn. “There was a bit of moisture in the wicket,” he told the Wisden Test Cricket radio broadcast after play. “Safi plays spin really well, always. He was feeling comfortable, but I was not comfortable against the spinners. That’s why I was blocking the ball and taking my time.”

Sarfraz took the initiative not with slogs or carves, but by staying busy and running hard. He took guard well outside leg stump at times to throw off Lyon’s rhythm. “He’s got one of the lowest dot-ball percentages in the game,” said Lyon. “I found it quite humorous how far he was going outside, but I just tried to bowl him my best ball.”

Pakistan’s Bilal Asif misses the ball. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Pakistan’s Bilal Asif misses the ball. Photograph: Kamran Jebreili/AP

Sarfraz’s tactics worked, though. Giving himself space, he was able to cut repeatedly off his stumps, or drive through cover. The Australians couldn’t pin him down: he barely faced more than a couple of balls before rotating strike. Tim Paine tried leaving sweepers out to stifle the scoring, but Sarfraz used it to facilitate his method.

Fakhar got moving with a straight six from Holland to enter the 90s, then a reverse sweep. But having added 147 together, another swing arrived.

Labuschagne is in this te am as a batsman, but has made his mark with the ball and in the field. His quick, skiddy leg-breaks trapped Fakhar in the last over before tea for 94, the debut century tantalisingly close. He came back after the break to have Bilal Asif caught behind for 12, and after a tired Sarfraz took a nasty blow to the elbow from a Mitchell Starc bouncer, he was out for 94 trying to launch Labuschagne over cover. Peter Siddle took it on the third juggle after it bounced off his nose â€" Australian catches were being completed with every body part bar hands. The part-timer Labuschagne finished with a vital three for 45.

Despite late hitting from leg-spinner Yasir Shah with 28, a score of 282 would have delighted Australia at the start of the day. Then the final twist: Mohammad Abbas, so penetrative outside off stump, got Australia’s key man Usman Khawaja down the leg side, Sarfraz forgetting his exhaustion and injured arm to fly to his right.

Nightwatchman Siddle was lbw on ref erral to the final scheduled ball of the day, taking Pakistan to stumps with some wind back in their sails. It was only fitting, given the amount of action and intrigue one day had contained. The teams will resume with the match and the series perfectly set up for a result.

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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia


Posted by On 12:44 PM

Wentworth byelection: Jewish voters split over consulate switch to Jerusalem

Wentworth byelection Wentworth byelection: Jewish voters split over consulate switch to Jerusalem

Byelection forum dominated by Israel, climate change and refugee issues

Wentworth byelection candidates Dave Sharma (Liberal), Kerry Phelps (Ind), Tim Murray (Labor) and Dominic Wy Kanak (Greens).
Wentworth byelection candidates Dave Sharma (Liberal), Kerry Phelps (Independent), Tim Murray (Labor) and Dominic Wy Kanak (Greens). Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

The surprise announcement by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, on Tuesday that Australia may relocate its embassy to Jerusalem appears to have divided Wentworth’s Jewish community, a forum on Tuesday night suggested.

The forum featured four candidates running in Saturday’s byelection and was hosted by the Jewish Board of Deputies. There was applause for the Liberal candidate, Dave Sharma, as he explained the government’s new position, though others appeared to back the assessment by the independent Kerryn Phelps that the policy was nothing more than “a politically motivated move”.

Australia’s policies on Israel and the Middle East, climate change and refugees dominated the forum.

New internal Liberal polling, published in the Australian on Wednesday, suggested Phelps is in a winning position ahead of Saturday’s vote.

Phelps is leading Sharma with 55% to 45% of the two-party preferred vote in the Sydney eastern suburbs electorate, according to the newspaper.

At Tuesday’s forum, Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel, said it was “prudent to assess your foreign policy settings”.

Moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem would be anti-Palestinian partisanship | George Browning Read more

“The context for this is a UN vote in which Australia will be asked to explain its position on voting down a Palestinian chairing a UN body,” he added.

Phelps argued that the prime minister had proceeded without due process. “To announce it without bipartisan discussion, without comprehensive analysis of the defence, security and trade implications, this should not have been raised in the context of the byelection. There’s no question that this was a politically motivated decision,” she said to applause.

Labor’s Tim Murray, an economist and entrepreneur, faced questions over whether his party supported unilateral recognition of Palestine â€" a hot issue in the community.

Murray said it was not the policy of the federal Labor party and he did not personally support it. He said resolutions passed at the New So uth Wales, South Australian and Queensland state Labor conferences supporting recognition of Palestine did not mean that unilateral recognition was policy and that he would personally be advocating within the party against it.

Also high on the Jewish community’s list of concerns was climate change â€" as it is with most Wentworth voters.

A ReachTel poll of 661 voters in Wentworth, conducted between last Thursday and Sunday for Greenpeace using automated telephone surveys, found 40.6% nominated climate change as their top issue in the byelection.

This was ahead of schools and education (7.4%), health and hospitals (8.4%), immigration (15.3%) and the economy (19%).

Sharma faced the most sustained questioning as a result of the Coalition dumping its own national energy guarantee last month, which has left it struggling to explain how it will tackle emissions and meet Australia’s Paris commitments.

The Neg, which attempted to address both emissions and energy prices, was jettisoned after a backbench rebellion among conservatives that cost the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull his job.

“I accept the science of climate change. I will be a voice in the party to continue to address climate change,” Sharma said.

Phelps reminded voters that Sharma was “the candidate for a party which doesn’t believe in climate change and that climate change sceptics have blocked any policy”.

Greenpeace said its polling showed the voters of Wentworth were planning on sending the “climate wreckers in Canberra” a message. “There is huge electoral penalty to pay for abandoning action on climate change,” said the Greenpeace campaigner Neneh Darwin.
Sharma also received a frosty reception from the audience when he suggested that the Liberals had inherited offshore detention from Labor â€" which is true, but the Liberals have been in power for five years and continued offshore detention as a central plank o f its deterrence of illegal boat arrivals.

Morrison's desperate embassy stunt is a silly idea designed for him to cling to power | Katharine Murphy Read more

“What we are trying to do is address that problem. I want Australia to be generous. When we have control of our borders we can afford to be generous,” he said, citing increased humanitarian intake of those applying through official channels.

Sharma said he favoured agreements such as that with the US to resettle refugees from Nauru in third countries. But he did not budge on bringing the 95 children remaining on Nauru to Australia.

Murray said that as Labor was in opposition, he could not, if elected, effect an immediate change in policy. But he said the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, had announced on Tuesday that any child on Nauru deemed by medical staff to have a medical problem would be brought to Australia under Labor. He also said Labor would accept New Zealand’s offer to r esettle 150 refugees.

About 12.5% of the electorate of Wentworth are Jewish, according to the 2016 Census, making it among the largest Jewish communities in Australia.

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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia


Posted by On 10:22 AM

Royal baby news aside, Prince Harry and Meghan begin Australia tour in Sydney

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SYDNEY -- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on a walkabout Tuesday. Prince Harry and Meghan, who announced the previous day they're expecting their first child, are in Australia for the ir first royal tour as a married couple.

Crowds of well-wishers, and even koalas, greeted the pair, but as CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports, there are some Australians who question whether the British monarchy should still have power over their country.

Harry and Meghan's tour is a royal duty which, at many times throughout the day, felt and looked like a fine-tuned campaign. The royal couple is visiting commonwealth nations where the monarchy still has power, for now. Their first day "down under" was a carefully orchestrated charm offensive; they showered their host nation with affection.

"Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome and the chance to meet so many Aussies from all walks of life," Prince Harry said at an official reception. "We also genuinely couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, be it a boy or a girl, so thank you very, very much."

The mum-to-be wore a white dres s, made by a local Sydney designer for the first official day of their Australian tour. And what else could you do on your fist day in Australia, but pose with koalas.

Interest was at a fever pitch by the time they descended the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Harry gave a thumbs-up when asked by Vigliotti how he felt on Tuesday.

It has been exactly the kind of reception the royal couple had hoped for; they have both looked incredibly relaxed as they greet the thousands of people gathered to catch a glimpse of them.

In Australia, the queen still serves as the official head of state, but a recent poll shows a nation divided over whether Australia should sever those ties and become a republic.

"They're rock stars, they're the palace's answers to rock stars," says Peter Fitzsimons, chair of the nation's movement advocating such a divorce from the royals. "Rockstars," and "good people," he says, but not he ads of state.

"We think that in the 21st century, it is a tad -- what's that word again -- ludicrous, to maintain that Australia can do no better to find their head of state than a family of English aristocrats," Fitzsimons tells Vigliotti.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding
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See the stunning photos from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle

But supporters of the royal family say its next generation, including Prince Harry and Meghan and their soon-to-be young family, will help energize the monarchy, just as Princess Diana did decades ago.

"Charles needs to step aside and let the young ones take over," one well-wisher named Sue said in Sydney on Tuesday. "They've got more personality."

Sue said she considers the younger royals "very much" vital to the family's ongoing role in Australia and the world.

Many others in the Australian capital have told Vigliotti how inspired they were by the royal couple, specifically all the charity work they do for mental health organizations and their role in the Invictus Games, for wounded veterans.

On Wednesday the duke and duchess will visit a farming community, to talk with farmers about the impacts of climate change.

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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia