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No-ball headlines had no effect: Sharma

No-ball headlines had no effect: Sharma

Ishant Sharma denies no-ball issues have been playing on his mind.Having produced his best Test figures against , Ishant Sharma took great delight in rubbishing the notion his no-ball dramas were the reason for a skittish start to the game in Perth.
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Sharma dismissed Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood with consecutive deliveries on Saturday to end 's first innings of the second Test and finish with 4-41.

It came after days of scrutiny, triggered by his habit of overstepping in the four-Test series opener at Adelaide Oval.

Sharma emphatically denied the headlines, including a report that revealed he should have been called for 16 no-balls in 's first innings of the first Test, affected his mindset at Optus Stadium.

"Maybe the n media should answer that question more than me," Sharma quipped.

"Because it doesn't affect me to be very honest.

"I know that I've been playing cricket for so long and all these things happen because you're a human. You're bound to make a mistake.

"I was not at all worried about all these things."

Nonetheless, the veteran was far from his best early on day one of the second Test.

The 30-year-old was taken out of the attack after struggling to hit the 130 km/h mark in his fourth over, which featured three boundaries and a no-ball.

Former pacemen Damien Fleming and Glenn McGrath felt the public no-ball discussions may have been a factor in Sharma's ineffectual opening spell.

Sharma offered a different explanation.

"The wicket was really slow ... it wasn't up and down," he said.

"First hour (on day one) was the best time to bat on that kind of wicket."

Sharma removed Peter Handscomb, thanks to a spectacular one-handed slips catch from Virat Kohli, and Travis Head, who picked out Mohammed Shami in the deep, on day one before cleaning up the tail on day two.

Kohli suggested prior to the second Test Sharma was filthy with himself for overstepping so often in Adelaide and determined to make amends.

"He was very keen to rectify it. I don't think it was something that needed to be spoken about again and again," Kohli said.

"He's a responsible cricketer, he's been around a long time and he understands what needs to be corrected."

ISHANT SHARMA'S BEST TEST FIGURES AGAINST AUSTRALIA * 4-41 (2018, Perth) * 4-77 (2008, Bangalore) * 3-34 (2010, Mohali).



Newcastle District Cricket Association: Waratah-Mayfield, Merewether secure first-innings points on day onephotos

Newcastle District Cricket Association: Waratah-Mayfield, Merewether secure first-innings points on day onephotos

Cricket: Waratah, Merewether secure first-innings points on day one AIR TIME: Waratah-Mayfield's Ben Sullivan on his way to figures of 3-26 against Stockton and Northern Districts at Waratah Oval on Saturday. The hosts have already claimed first innings points and lead by 44 runs with five wickets in hand. Pictures: Jonathan Carroll
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KNOCKED OVER: Stockton's Terry Crittenden gets bowled.

IN CLOSE: Waratah's Hamish MacQueen fielding at short leg.

TweetFacebook NDCA: Waratah v StocktonPictures by Jonathan CarrollWaratah-Mayfield and Merewether bothclaimed first-innings points on a rain-affected opening day of the last Newcastle District Cricket Association roundbefore Christmas.

Hosts and previously winless Waratah lead by 44 runs with five wickets in hand after they skittled Stockton and Northern Districts for 76 and finished5-120 on Saturday.

Waratah captain Scott Mackenzie (35) and Declan Owens (33) combined for a valuable 52-run, fourth-wicket partnership after Ben Sullivan (3-26) and Jono Twomey (3-22) did most of the damage with the ball. Stockton lost 7-12 to close their innings.

Merewether did a similar number onBelmont at Townson Oval, ending up 4-80 and one run in front at stumps after dismissing the visitors for 79.

Wet weather had halted the home side 28 short, but play resumedafter a delay.

All-rounder Zac McGuigan continued his good run of form for Merewether with 33 and 3-23.

Elsewhere midway throughround-nine encounters and Newcastle City opening bowlerSam O’Sullivan has taken 4-31 to leave reigning premiers Wests 5-71 in pursuit of the Sabres’ 168 at Harker Oval.

O’Sullivan got rid of Aaron Wivell (1), Ben Chew (5), Josh Emerton (20) and Andrew Shakespeare (0)while City skipper Jonty Major removed Joseph Price (16).

Alex Moor (16) and Wests leader James King (7) were the not out batsman following the 19 overs.

At KahibahOval and Matt Webber produced a captain’s knock for frontrunners Hamilton-Wickam, batting almost two hours at the top of the order for an unbeaten 42 against Charlestown.

Tom Locker Cup champions Hamwicks were 6-93 after 28.5 overs. Charlestown’sSashreeka Pussegolla had the best bowling return of 3-28 from 10.5 overs.

Toronto will resumeat 1-10 at Ron Hill Oval on day two chasing down Wallsend’s 181, which included a top score of 33 not out to Matt Lynch.

Brendon Charlton (3-51) and Dylan Robertson (3-63) split six wickets evenly between them for Toronto.

All home teams won the toss on Saturday and opted to bowl first.

In the final match there was no play at University No.1 between the Students and Cardiff-Boolaroo. The fixture will now be reduced to 90 overs this weekend.

LADDER: Hamwicks 39; University, Toronto 35; Wests 31; Cardiff, Charlestown, Merewether 30; Wallsend 21; Belmont 15; Stockton 14; City 13; Waratah 10.

Sydney FC import suffers hamstring injury

Sydney FC import suffers hamstring injury

Defender Jacob Tratt (c-r) has marked his Sydney FC debut with a goal against Western Sydney.Sydney FC could be without import defender Jop van der Linden for next week's blockbuster clash against Perth after picking up a hamstring injury.
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Van der Linden fell awkwardly after an attempted tackle in the 15th minute and was subbed off soon after in Saturday's 3-1 derby win over Western Sydney.

Sky Blues coach Steve Corica admitted he was unsure about exact nature of the injury but conceded he was likely to be without his Dutchman next week.

Asked about van der Linden's injury, Corica said: "I'm not 100 per cent sure, I think it was a little bit of a hamstring. I don't know how bad it is yet.

"I haven't seen him, (but) there's a little bit of a twinge there."

The injury came on the same day centre-back partner Alex Wilkinson was a game-day withdrawal due to a virus.

Wilkinson's replacement, Aaron Calver, lasted 64 minutes before he too exited the match due to cramping.

Former Wellington defender Jacob Tratt, who finished the match at the back with Brandon O'Neill, sealed the win with a header in his first match for the club.

"Wilks was obviously out tonight because he was sick so he'll be back next week. I thought Jacob Tratt did well when he come on, scored a great goal," Corica said.

"I thought Brandon did well as well when he went at the back.

"Calver was only a little bit of cramp. He hasn't played for quite a while. It was only normal, to come back and with heavy conditions, to start cramping up.

"He'll be better off for it and he'll be fine next week. Jop, probably not, but we'll have Wilks back and obviously we've got Tratty as well.

"I thought he did well, and he's in contention as well now which is great."

Sydney FC entered the contest under pressure following their 3-1 defeat to Wellington last week, however Corica hailed their rebound effort.

"The boys were disappointed after last week. I wanted to see a response and we got it tonight," he said.



Poco Dorado leads Newcastle Cup trifecta for John Finn

Poco Dorado leads Newcastle Cup trifecta for John Finn

Cranebrook trainer John Finn claimed the trifecta as Poco Dorado dominated the Sires On Ice Keybow Newcastle Cup (715 metres) in near-record time at The Gardens on Saturday night.
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Poco Dorado. Picture: GRNSW

The $1.40 favourite took the early lead from box four and was never threatened to win by five lengths in 41.55 seconds, which was just 0.01 outside the track record set byBig Butters in June.

Finn’s Blue Moon Rising and Veloce Nero, which are from the same Fernando Bale-Chica Destacada litter as the victor, filled out the placings in the $15,000-to-the-winner feature.

The trio finished in the same order in the December 8 group 3 Summer Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park.

Saturday night’s win took the 32-month-old bitch’s stakes to$268,835 and 27 victories from 56 starts. It was her third win in a row and 11thout of her past 13 starts.

Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay’s Chief's Sidekick was another impressive winner, in race four.

Pelaw Main trainer Cheryl Murray’s Blabba Mouth denied Mackay a winningdouble when it took out race six.

At Wentworth Park,Modus Operandi made it 10victories in itspast 20 starts when it ran downFemme Folle in the group 3 Christmas Gift (520m) to win by a length in 30.02.

“I figured that whoever was closest to the lead out of my dog and Nangar Blaze leaving the first bend would be the one to beat,” trainer Rob Tyler told thedogs苏州夜总会招聘.au.“But I will admit I wasn't sure whether Modus Operandi could run down Femme Folle when she zipped away with a clear break in the early stages.'”

Fastest 520m time on Saturday night was posted by the Sam Sultana-trained Motor City Gem, who scored in 29.94sec and ended a sequence of three placings from three Wentworth Park outings by scoring her sixth win in 12 appearances in a fifth grade event.

Motor City Gem overcame a moderate getaway to be second on the back straight before pouncing on the lead on the home bend.

Rita's Boy notched a remarkable 14th Wentworth Park win in Saturday night's Free-For-All, with the Mark Gatt-trained dog recording 29.96sec for the 520m and lifting his earnings to $102,000.

A maiden win at Coonamble in September was the turning point in the career of Bugatti Chiron, who led all the way to upset odds-on favourite Zipping Falcon in a 520m fifth grade on Saturday night.

After Bugatti Chiron led all the way, Mark Knowles, whose partner Jacqueline Davis trains the winner, said: "Buggati Chiron was missing the start and doing everything wrong early in her career.

"When Jacqui took her to Coonamble in September there was no pre-race stir-up available and Bugatti Chiron jumped in front and led throughout.

"From that day on Jacqui has not given Bugatti Chiron a pre-race stir-up, and for the most part she has jumped cleanly ever since.

"The stir-up was obviously getting Bugatti Chiron too excited and causing her to miss the kick.''

Yankee's Ethics, the "outsider'' of owner David Smith's two runners in Saturday night's 720m race, caused a surprise by coming from third early and second on the back straight to win clearly in a tidy 42.32sec.

The more fancied White Sox Ethics, trained by Peter Mantach for Smith, who trains Yankee's Ethics, made the pace and looked all over a winner in running but faded to finish third, just over two lengths from the winner.

"There is nothing between Yankee's Ethics and White Sox Ethics,'' David Smith said later.

"Until tonight Yankee's Ethics had the edge over middle distances while White Sox Ethics has probably been slightly better over 700 metres.

"But Yankee's Ethics was only having his fourth 700m race in a month tonight because he has been unable to secure a draw.

"Because I had nominated him several times at the provincials since he last raced on December 1, I was forced to trial him over 720m at Wentworth Park last week after the final race and he clocked 42.59sec, so his win tonight did not really surprise me.''

Porter hurt, Morton stars in track cycling

Porter hurt, Morton stars in track cycling

Alex Porter (2-L) has broken his collarbone putting him in doubt for the world track cycling titles.Alex Porter's injuries are worse the expected, meaning the star team pursuiter has plenty to overcome before the world track cycling championships.
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While Porter remains hospitalised in Melbourne after his crash at the national titles, sprinter Stephanie Morton has won again at the track World Cup round in London.

Morton qualified fastest in the sprint on the way to beating German Emma Hinze two heats to nil in the gold medal ride-off.

She also won the sprint earlier this month at the Berlin World Cup round.

Porter and Morton are two key members of the n track squad in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Their immediate priority is the February world championships in Poland.

Porter has the starter role in the team pursuit squad. He was part of the quartet who broke the world record in April at the Commonwealth Games.

He suffered his injuries on Saturday night in a crash during the madison at Melbourne Arena.

The initial news was that Porter had broken his collarbone, but he also has six cracked ribs and a lung puncture.

While n track endurance coach Tim Decker has stressed the punctured lung is minor, the injury complicates Porter's recovery because his collarbone surgery is delayed.

"We have to wait for the little air bubble in the punctured lung to heal - that could be anywhere up to seven days," Decker told AAP.

"If it was just as simple as the broken collarbone, we'd be on it within a week.

"But it's added a couple of complications."

Porter cannot fly for six weeks and, once he leaves hospital in the next couple of days, he will be driven back to the squad's Adelaide base.

Decker says it is too early to say when Porter will return to training, but hopes it is no longer than two-and-a-half weeks.

"If he can get back on the ergo with eight weeks to go, we're definitely in the hunt," Decker said.

"He's in good spirits - this is a bit of challenge for him, to try to make it to worlds.

"I'm not overly stressed because it's 73 days (to the world titles) - a lot can happen in that time."

Decker also said the squad had the depth to cover for Porter, nominating Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien and Cameron Scott as riders who could take the starter's role if necessary.



Troops kill 7 civilians in Kashmir

Troops kill 7 civilians in Kashmir

Seven civilians were killed when government forces fired at anti-India protesters in Kashmir.Indian forces who were exchanging fire with insurgents in disputed Kashmir have shot dead at least seven civilians when large crowds descended on the site of the gunbattle in support of the militants.
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Residents accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds on Saturday. Police said in a statement that they regretted the killings but that the protesters had come "dangerously close" to the fighting.

Separatists who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir said the killings were part of India's state policy and called for three days of mourning and a general shutdown in Kashmir.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a separatist leader, said in a tweet that India's government should "stop this inhumanity as it will not achieve anything except further rebellion and hatred".

The violence started as troops surrounded a village in the southern Pulwama area on a tip that militants were hiding there. Gunmen jumped out of a civilian home and took positions in an apple orchard while firing at soldiers and counterinsurgency police, said Muneer Ahmed Khan, a top police officer.

Three rebels and a soldier were killed and another soldier wounded in the exchange of gunfire, he said.

At the same time, hundreds of people chanting pro-militant slogans and calling for an end to Indian rule over the Himalayan region began throwing stones at troops to help the militants escape. Government forces fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas to stop them, killing seven and injuring at least 40 others, nine of them critically, police said.

Khan said large crowds came from multiple directions while attacking security deployments in the area.

Residents said troops fired indiscriminately at the protesters.



Wanderers must change mentality: Babbel

Wanderers must change mentality: Babbel

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel is questioning their mettle after another derby loss.Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel has had another dig at his team, accusing them of lacking hunger after losing another derby to Sydney FC.
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The Wanderers appeared set for a rare derby win when they led by a goal courtesy of Oriol Riera's early tap-in at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

However a brain snap from Vedran Janjetovic drew a red card and from there Western Sydney capitulated to a predictable 3-1 defeat.

Janjetovic was sent off for handling the ball outside the box, which came after needlessly attempting to put field a long ball only to miscue his run.

"I hadn't had a good feeling at this moment because we make three mistakes in one action," Babbel said.

"And this is very hard because until this situation we were good in the game. We created good chances, we scored, but it wasn't the best idea from (Vedran).

"If he comes, he has to talk to Patrick (Ziegler). Maybe he leaves, then you can get the ball but both come together.

"And the third mistake he uses his hands.

"He also has to know there's someone on the line."

Babbel defended his decision to sacrifice star Alex Baumjohann, arguably their best player so far this season, to bring on debutant goalkeeper Danijel Nizic.

"Alex is a fantastic footballer and I feel really really sad for him because he's one of our best players," he said.

"But in this moment, for me it was clear we need legs now and we have to defend more than to attack.

"And Alex is a fantastic player offensive-wise, but defensive is not his biggest strength so I have to make that decision."

The former German international was more upset with the fashion in which they conceded their goals, both of which came from set pieces.

He suggested a frail mentality is instilled in their current DNA.

"I'm very angry today," he said.

"We did too many mistakes. We conceded in the second half two set pieces. For me, it's not acceptable. Sorry.

"If someone is shooting from 25 metres and top corner, okay I have to accept this.

"But two set pieces, it is me or him. And I'm a man-down. Believe me, you never will get the ball. Never, ever. But this is the DNA in this team.

"We are not hungry in this moment. We don't see the danger in this moment. (So) we don't have to be surprised if you lose this game, because this is a good side."



Migrant girl’s family asks US why she died

Migrant girl’s family asks US why she died

Claudia Maquin's daughter died in a Texas hospital after being taken into custody by border patrol.The family of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US Border Patrol custody is disputing an account from officials who say she had not been given food or water for days.
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In a statement released by lawyers, the parents of Jakelin Caal said the girl had been given food and water and appeared to be in good health as she travelled through Mexico with her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz.

Border Patrol officials did not immediately respond to the family's comments.

The family's statement was released on Saturday during a news conference in El Paso, Texas, at an immigrant shelter where Jakelin's father is staying. Her family did not attend and has asked for privacy.

Jakelin and her father were seeking asylum in the US and were among a large group of migrants arrested on December 6 near a remote border crossing in New Mexico. Hours later they were placed on a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station, but Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing. She later died at a Texas hospital.

Border Patrol officials on Friday said agents did everything they could to save the girl but that she had not had food or water for days. They added that an initial screening showed no evidence of health problems, and that her father had signed a form indicating she was in good health.

But the family took issue with that form, which was in English, a language her father doesn't speak or read. He communicated with border agents in Spanish but he primarily speaks the Mayan Q'eqchi' language.

"It is unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand," the statement said.

Jakelin's family is urging authorities to conduct an "objective and thorough" investigation into the death and to determine whether officials met standards for the arrest and custody of children.

Family members in Guatemala said Caal decided to migrate with his favourite child to earn money he could send back home. Jakelin's mother and three siblings remained in San Antonio Secortez, a village of about 420 inhabitants.



Khawaja not worried by lean run with bat

Khawaja not worried by lean run with bat

's Usman Khawaja (R) says he doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to regain batting form.Usman Khawaja insists he doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to rediscover his magic touch.
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Khawaja entered the four-Test series against India as arguably 's most-important batsman, but he's yet to fire.

The 31-year-old scored 28 and eight in the first Test in Adelaide, before posting just five off 38 balls in the first innings in Perth.

His strike rate over that period has been 20 - well short of his career average of 50.

India's tactic of bowling around the wicket to Khawaja is paying off, with the classy left-hander struggling when cramped for room.

He isn't worried about his recent lean run, believing it is just a matter of bad luck, rather than bad form.

"Cricket's a funny game. It goes in circles," Khawaja said.

"I scored a lot of runs this year - a lot of runs in first-class cricket, over in Glamorgan, Aussie A, then the UAE.

"There's going to be a couple of innings here and there where I don't. That's just part of the game - nothing changes.

"If you're not scoring runs, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to get out there next time and score some more runs.

"It could be a lot worse. I could get three first-ballers."

Khawaja is the most-experienced batsman in the side with 37 Tests to his name - one more than Shaun Marsh.

In the recent Test series against Pakistan, Khawaja scored 85 and 141 in the series opener to help force a draw in searing UAE heat.

A recent knee injury had halted that momentum, but he is confident of producing the goods in the near future.

might need a big Khawaja score in the second innings in Perth after a Virat Kohli-inspired India worked their way back into the second Test.

India will resume play on day three at 3-172, with Kohli on 82 and Ajinkya Rahane on 51.



Star Reflection to chase black-type success after breakthrough boilover for Kris Lees and Chinan Bloodstock

Star Reflection to chase black-type success after breakthrough boilover for Kris Lees and Chinan Bloodstock

Star Reflection to chase black-type success after breakthrough boilover for Kris Lees and n Bloodstock TIME FOR REFLECTION: Tommy Berry, right, drives the Kris Lees-trained Star Reflection to a narrow victory ahead of favourite Seasons, middle of picture, at Randwick on Saturday. Picture: AAP/ Simon Bullard
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TweetFacebookHow do you celebrate a $60 winner? This is a good start! STAR REFLECTION (Time Thief), a $5k buy as agent from Toolooganvale as an #InglisWeanling, leads in an inglis grads quinella @atc_races, beating Seasons. Congrats @atc_races & all connections. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/TpwzBmZsd0

— Inglis (@inglis_sales) December 15, 2018BOILOVER – Star Reflection surprised everyone except the stable and jockey as Greg Radley and @LizzieJelfs found out when they spoke to Lucas Miller and @[email protected]@atc_races. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/DG4jNVDVVL

— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) December 15, 2018Star Reflection last won a year ago at Muswellbrook and Lees racing manager Lucas Miller was delighted to see her break through in town.

“If a mare’s deserved a Saturday win, it’s this one,” Miller told Sky Thoroughbred Central. “All of last preparation she’s been so close, and a little bit inconclusive last start.

“She had no luck, but Tommy [Berry] got her in a lovely position today and the speed was on up front and she was able to pounce on them.

“She's so consistent, you can’t rule her out of any race she goes in.She’s so genuine and tough, so we were pleasantly confident. We knew she’d run well, so it’s really good to see. It’s great for all the connections, there’s a few of the boys here today who had a good crack at her.”

The victory was part of a Randwick double for n Bloodstock, who won the listed Christmas Cup (2400m) with the Kim Waugh-trained Our Century.

Second to Exoterictwo weeks ago, Our Century turned the tables to win by1-3/4 lengths.

"I may give him one more run then he can have a short break and get ready for the Sydney Cup," Waugh told AAP."Last time they ran such fast sectionals, two seconds faster than normal, that he just didn't have a chance. I took him home and gave him four days in the paddock on the farm and he loved that.”

“He has been working well and coming off the track like a two-year-old."