Harris in happy homecoming in second Test

Harris in happy homecoming in second Test

n Marcus Harris has scored 70 at home in Perth on day one of the second Test against India.He might have been bounced out by a spinner, but Marcus Harris has every reason to be proud of his Test homecoming.
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Harris became the first person to make a Test half-century at Perth Stadium on Friday when he scored 70 off 141 balls during the second Test against India.

The 26-year-old defied predictions of a bowler-friendly wicket to combine with Aaron Finch for a 112-run opening stand, helping to reach 6-277 at stumps.

But his dismissal was far from textbook.

Facing spinning allrounder Hanuma Vihari, Harris was caught off guard when the ball hit a crack and rocketed to shoulder height.

Cramped for room, Harris guided the ball straight to slip, ending his brave innings.

"I think Marcus Harris getting bumped out by a 100km/h offspinner, it might have been the first time for a while in Test cricket," his opening partner Aaron Finch said with a laugh.

Earlier in the innings, Harris watched on in disbelief as a Mohammed Shami delivery bounced so low it almost rolled.

Finch praised the way Harris handled the conditions.

"Not a real lot fazes him," Finch said.

"He's a pretty chilled-out character who just goes with the flow.

"I think the tightness of his technique - covers his stumps, looks to hit down the ground. And for a such short guy, that can be quite unique at times.

"He's definitely got all the shots. And I think the way he adapts his game and game plan, depending on the wicket and the attack, it will hold him in great stead going forward."

Harris started cautiously, failing to score off his first 15 deliveries.

But he unleashed some glorious strokes once he started to feel more comfortable.

Although Harris plays for Victoria these days in state ranks, he remains a West n at heart, and had been eager to post a big score in front of family and friends.

Harris was eight years old when he watched his first Test live.

One of his favourite memories was witnessing Glenn McGrath's hat-trick against the West Indies in 2000 at the WACA.

In 39-degree heat on Friday, Harris cracked 10 boundaries in his fighting knock.

Not bad for a player once rated "mediocre with flashes of brilliance" by Justin Langer, who made that comment when Harris defected in 2016 from WA to Victoria.

New light on China’s marsupial ‘lion’

New light on China’s marsupial ‘lion’

A marsupial that roamed until about 40,000 years ago was similar to the Tasmanian devil.A giant marsupial 'lion' that once roamed bore remarkable similarities to the modern-day Tasmanian devil, new research has revealed.
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Scientists have for the first time pieced together the full skeleton of Thylacoleo carnifex, that existed on the continent until about 40,000 years ago.

It weighed around 100kgs but was a skilled tree climber thanks to a heavy muscular tail.

"It had this really interesting combination of features," professor Rod Wells, lead author of the Flinders University study published this week in scientific journal PLOS ONE, said.

"It had a cat-like head but instead of having big canine teeth it's got stabbing incisor teeth that come together like a chisel at the front - a pretty ferocious looking animal."

Researchers analysed complete skeletons of the animal found in 2007 at caves in Naracoorte, South , and on the Nullarbor Plain.

Prof Wells said the marsupial lion was not related to the Tasmanian devil but they shared a similar stiff awkward walking style.

"To find skeletons with everything in the right position is pretty damn rare," Prof Wells said.

"We concluded that the marsupial lion was a stealth or ambush predator of larger prey, a niche not dissimilar to that of the Tasmanian devil, which feeds on smaller prey in comparison."

In an Aussie-fauna mish-mash, it also had powerful hindquarters with feet like an overgrown brush-tail possum, and would have climbed a bit like a koala, researchers say.

It is hoped further finds of tracks and other bones will shed light on the animal's social behaviour and diet.

Thylacoleo carnifex was 's largest mammalian predator until the megafauna died out around 40,000 years ago.

Myanmar urged to help refugees

Myanmar urged to help refugees

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called on Myanmar to allow Rohingya refugees access to eduction.'s foreign minister has told Myanmar to allow Rohingya refugees freedom of movement and access to education.
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Senator Marise Payne this week visited the Asian nation and also raised the importance of allowing United Nations relief efforts to keep operating.

The UN estimates more than 1.8 million people in Myanmar and Bangladesh require humanitarian assistance, including more than 1.4 million Rohingya.

"I raised the importance of allowing UN agencies ongoing access to affected areas and the important need to allow displaced people freedom of movement and access to full education, health and employment," Senator Payne said on Friday.

Senator Payne visited Baw Du Pha camp, which holds 129,000 Rohingya, one of 23 such camps in central Rakhine state.

" is providing life-saving food, water and shelter, and health care services to the camps," she said.

"It is also supporting children to continue their education and helping to keep women and girls safe from violence and trafficking."

Senator Payne also met with local media representatives and discussed jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Save The Children's Michael McGrath said Senator Payne's visit to central Rakhine State will have helped her understand why Rohingya refugees aren't willing to return.

"Rohingya, driven from their homes six years ago by violence stirred up by anti-Rohingya activists, live behind barbed wire and guarded by police and soldiers, unable to leave, unable to earn a living, with very limited access to health, education and any other services," he said.

Mr McGrath called on to step up diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis, and offer permanent refugee places in .

US executions remain near all time low

US executions remain near all time low

For the fourth year in a row, the US has recorded fewer than 30 death row executions.Three US states have resumed death row executions after long breaks but nationwide, they remain at near historic lows.
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Twenty five executions were carried out in 2018, the fourth consecutive year in which there have been fewer than 30, according to an annual US Death Penalty Information Center report released on Friday.

Since the death penalty was re-instated in the United States in 1976, the number of executions peaked in 1999 with 98. They were at their lowest in 2016 with 20.

Americans' support for the death penalty similarly peaked in the 1990s and has declined since, according to opinion polls by Gallup.

Its research reveals 56 per cent of Americans supported the death penalty in 2018 for a person convicted of murder.

Executions in 2018 were clustered in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

About half all executions took place in Texas, which carried out 13 death sentences.

Tennessee was second with three. Alabama, Florida and Georgia each had two while Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota each carried out one.

Florida's execution on Thursday of Jose Antonio Jimenez for fatally beating and stabbing a woman during a burglary was the most recent.

Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota were the three states that resumed executions this year.

Nebraska's execution of Carey Dean Moore for killing two cab drivers in 1979 was the state's first execution in more than 20 years.

It was also the first time any state has used the drug fentanyl in an execution.

This year marked the first time in nearly nine years Tennessee carried out an execution.

South Dakota ended a six-year stretch without one when it executed Rodney Berget, who was convicted of killing a corrections officer during a prison escape attempt.

The DPIC report says 41 new death sentences have been imposed so far this year, the fourth straight year with fewer than 50.

Villiers Stakes: Andrew Gibbons eyes soft run for Articus

Villiers Stakes: Andrew Gibbons eyes soft run for Articus

IN-FORMNewcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons believes a softer track and a revitalised Articus can give him a first group race victory in the Villiers Stakes (1600 metres) at Randwick on Saturday.
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RIDING HIGH: Newcastle hoop Andrew Gibbons, pictured wearing the n Bloodstock colours, is having a career-best season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Gibbons, who has 61 winners already this season, secured the ride on the Kris Lees-trained Articus when connections chose to take on the group 2, $250,000 Villiers Stakes instead of a benchmark handicap race.

Articus, owned by Hunter syndicators Bloodstock, started his career Down Under with Darren Weir in Victoria but was moved to Lees’ stable in Newcastle early this year.

The seven-year-old, with five wins in 28 career starts,failed to fire in his first preparation with Lees but has returned with a second at Randwick and third in the Goulburn Cup.The $23 chance will carry only 53kg in the Villiers and has gate two.

Gibbons’ biggest win to date has been at listed level and he was keen to see Articus, which he rides in trackwork, get on a softer surface. Randwick was a Soft 6 on Friday after showers.

“He probably didn’t live up to the expectations they had for him. He was a pretty smart horse when they brought him over from overseas,” Gibbons said.

“But since Kris has had him, he’s come back a hell of a lot better this preparation and back to where he was.

“His two runs this time in have been terrific and if it wasn’t for the hard track at Goulburn the other day, he probably would have won.

“He gets the right conditions here, he gets the soft track that he needs, so he ticks a few more boxes, so hopefully we can get the job done.”

Gibbons has ridden winning doubles in the past two weeks at Tuncurry, Newcastle and Taree and he sitssecond in the NSW premiership to Greg Ryan, who had two victories at Scone on Friday.

AAP: The Hunter Valley's Newgate Farm looks to have a stranglehold on the InglisNurserywith an interest in three leading chances for the $500,000 race at Randwick.

Newgate are shareholders in favourite Strasbourg and equal second elect Enforcement. They also have a vested interest in Blazing Miss, whichshares the second line of betting and is a daughter of Newgate's young stallion Sizzling.

"A lot of our model is based around two-year-old speed and precocity so it's nice to have an interest in three horses running in the race," Newgate Farm General Manager Bruce Slade said.

Instrumental in the selection of the two colts was Newgate's Managing Director Henry Field and Michael Wallace from the China Horse Club, which also races Strasbourg and Enforcement.

"They purchase anywhere between 10 and 15 colts a year and we've been lucky enough to secure Capitalist at a young stage in the past and Russian Revolution at a young stage as well and they've gone on to be stallions on our roster at Newgate," Slade said.

At $750,000, Strasbourg is the second highest priced yearling in the InglisNurseryand is a winner of his only start in the Max Lees Classic at Newcastle.

Punters expect some of his stiffest opposition to come from his Peter and Paul Snowden-trained stablemate Enforcement, who like Strasbourg is a son of top stallion I Am Invincible and looked to have plenty up his sleeve in a recent barrier trial win.

"He's a horse Peter Snowden has always held in high regard, he hasn't been bedded down in the trials and he's come through that well," Slade said,

"We're looking forward to seeing what he can do under race day conditions."

Among those trying to upstage the blue-blooded colts will be the Bjorn Baker-trained Stralex who at $40,000 is one of the cheapest youngsters in theNursery.

She has finished third in both starts to date, the latest behind Strasbourg at Newcastle, and Baker has fitted her with blinkers for the first time.

"She's a filly that has always shown ability and there's no question on her fitness leading into Saturday," Baker said.

"I'm hoping she can run a good race. Blinkers go on too so hopefully they just sharpen her up a touch."

The InglisNurseryforms part of a series of two-year-old races restricted to horses bought at Inglis sales and culminating in the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm in February.