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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.

Markle, green poop: the top trends in 2018

Markle, green poop: the top trends in 2018

The Duchess of Sussex was popular, with her wedding taking out Google's news category for 2018.The World Cup, the royal wedding, queries about Instagram and opting out of My Health Record as well as green poop were among the top trending internet searches in in 2018.
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Google, which holds about 95 per cent of the search engine market share in , revealed on Friday the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Meghan Markle were the top three trends of the year.

Swedish DJ Avicii, American TV personality Anthony Bourdain and rapper Mac Miller - who all died in 2018 - also featured among the top 10 trending searches.

The rankings are based not on total searches but instead on what had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2018 as compared to 2017.

The Duchess of Sussex was especially popular with her wedding taking out the news category, ahead of the widely-publicised Thai cave rescue and the Liberal Party's historic loss in the federal seat of Wentworth.

Health conscious ns looked for recipes for the keto diet and beef stroganoff and questioned how to lose weight fast, what is listeria and "why is my poop green".

When it came to n identities, former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and his partner Vikki Campion heavily trended while new prime minister Scott Morrison and his conservative rival Peter Dutton had people thumping keyboards to learn more.

"How to" queries revealed a massive spike in ns wanting to opt out of the much-maligned My Health Record system.

Searches about how to win Powerball - including August's record $100 million draw - and how to delete Instagram and Facebook also trended widely as did queries on why the NRL had moved a State of Origin game to a Sunday.


OVERALL: World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Meghan Markle, Avicii, (cryptocurrency trader) Coinspot, Anthony Bourdain, US Open Tennis, Mac Miller, Bitcoin price, Black Panther

NEWS: Royal Wedding, Thai cave rescue, Wentworth by-election, My health record, Beaumont children

GLOBAL FIGURES: Meghan Markle, Demi Lovato, Freddie Mercury, Khloe Kardashian, Logan Paul

AUSTRALIANS: Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Billy Slater, Craig McLachlan

DEATHS: Avicii, Anthony Bourdain, Mac Miller, xxxtentacion, Stan Lee (highest n: Jessica Falkholt)

HOW TO: opt out of my health record, watch World Cup in , win Powerball, delete Instagram, Google Arts and Culture face match

WHAT IS: bitcoin, listeria, ligma, hazing, a mud room

WHY IS: State of Origin on Sunday, is it called Good Friday, Russia OAR, Day Jan 26, Tim Cahill not playing tonight (10th: my poop green)

RECIPES: Keto, beef stroganoff, chicken curry, frittata, gnocchi

HOW TO COOK: corned beef, eggplant, tofu, silverside, beetroot

Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

WORTHY CAUSE: The Newcastle Knights arrive at John Hunter Hospital on Thursday. Sadly their visit was overshadowed by the arrest of Jack de Belin. Picture: Jonathan Carroll IT was a grim reminder of the challenge NRL officials face in trying to portray theirplayers as fine, upstanding young men and squeaky-clean ambassadors.
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On the same day a busload of Newcastle Knights arrived at John Hunter Children’s Hospital to brighten the livesof kids suffering from serious health issues, a dark cloud was cast over the image of the game as a whole.

Just hours after the Knights had distributed gifts, signed autographs and posed for selfies, police charged St George Illawarra and NSW Origin forward Jack De Belin with aggravated sexual assault after an alleged incident last weekend.

The two stories ran side by side in this paper.

In theDailyTelegraph, the Knights did not even rate a mention, whereas De Balin was splashed across page one.

The allegations against De Belin capped offa horrendous week for rugby league, after the much-publicised appearances in court of Jarryd Hayne and Dylan Walker.

Hayne, already facing civil proceedings for an alleged rape during his time playing NFL for San Francisco, pleaded not guilty tocharges of aggravated sexual assault after disturbing allegations made by a woman in the Hunter Region two months ago.

Walker denied assaultinghis fiancee, andshe reportedly intends to retract a statement made to police and emerged from court holding hands with the Manly utility back, having apparently reconciled.

Not forgetting new Wests Tigers recruit Zane Musgrove, who added to the procession of sordid headlines when he was charged last week with anact of indecency, and aggravated indecent assault.

The unfortunate reality for the Knights and every other NRL club is that they could visit 100 hospitals a year, or help 1000 little old ladies to cross the street, but good-samaritan acts such as these will always be overshadowed by occasional incidents of players disgracing themselves.

Those who feel inclinedtoblame the media for a “negative” outlook are basically shooting the messanger.

Journalists are only catering for their market. Any time a rugby league player is involved in an off-field scandal, you can guarantee it will go viral on the internet.

Is this the media’s fault?

It strikes me as a chicken-or-the-egg type of argument.

The bottom line is that this is the society in which we live, butfootballers bringing the game into disrepute is certainly no recent phenomenon.

I would suggest today’s players are actually far less likely to behave inappropriately than their predecessors of 20 years ago.

It’s just that previous generations did not have to contend with closed-circuit television and mobile-phone cameras, and reporters of bygone eras abided by the unwritten policy of “what happens on tour, stays on tour”.

Attitudes have changed.

In this day and age, people are unlikely to turn a blind eye to after-hours indiscretions. It is unrealistic for anyone to expect that 100 per cent of NRL players will conduct themselves impeccably100 per cent of the time.

Some will inevitably make the same mistakes as other young men.

But perhaps the real dilemma for the NRL is how to deal with those who do transgress.

On the same day that De Belin was charged, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg spoke at a meeting of chairmen and CEOS of every club, urging them to remind their players of their “responsibilities”.

Greenberg noted that there were close to 500 players in the NRL and the majority “do the right things”, but added “sometimes they make bad choices and there are big consequences that go with that.”

But are those consequences big enough?

I read a thoughtful column this week, arguing that the problem with implementing life bans is that they eliminate the chance of a Matt Lodge-style redemption story.

The likes of Lodge and Russell Packer are now advertisements for how players who commit terrible crimes can turn their lives around and contribute to the game’s greater good.

But I can’t help thinking they mighthave been equally effective role models if the NRL adopted a zero-tolerance approach.

Imagine if the penalty for such anti-social acts was to be permanently cast on the scrapheap, and given directions to the nearest Centrelink branch.

It wouldn’t completely cure the problem, but it would be a powerful deterrent.

Moreover, the NRL’s overall credibility would quite possibly grow in the eyes of fans and sponsors.

Too often it seems that the priority of clubs is to help a de-registered playertick the required boxes, convince the NRL’s integrity unitthat he has transformed into a fit-and-proper person, and return him to the playing field at the earliest opportunity.

Rather than asking the clubs to have a quiet word to their players, maybe it’s time for Greenberg and ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie to show some leadership.

A little bit of harsh justice might go a long way.

Finch defies critics with grinding innings

Finch defies critics with grinding innings

A subdued Aaron Finch has batted cautiously for in the 2nd Test against India in Perth.n opener Aaron Finch insists he didn't feel like he had a point to prove entering the second Test against India at Perth Stadium.
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Finch was under huge pressure to perform after his double failure in Adelaide, with some critics suggesting he wasn't up to the task of taming the new ball.

Coach Justin Langer resisted the urge to drop Finch down the order, and the 32-year-old repaid the faith with a gritty 50 off 105 balls in scorching 39-degree heat.

His 112-run opening stand with Marcus Harris (70) gave a strong foundation, with the home side reaching 6-277 at stumps on a tricky Perth Stadium wicket.

Finch is still trying to establish himself in the Test side, but said he hadn't been affected by the recent heavy criticism levelled at him.

"You never play to prove anyone wrong or prove a point, or for any other ambition other than to get your side in as good a position you can," Finch said.

"Some days you have a good day, other days you have a shocking day.

"That's a part of the game, and it's part of opening the batting in Test cricket. It's good fun. There's never a dull moment."

Finch's innings was finally brought undone when he was trapped lbw by a full Jasprit Bumrah delivery.

By that stage he had already won over plenty of admirers for his gritty knock.

Finch, who is a proven performer in the white-ball game, had scored 20 runs from his first 31 balls.

But he showed he was also capable of grinding it out when the going became tough by scoring just three runs from the next 39 deliveries.

However, Finch's innings wasn't without its fair share of scares.

He survived two confident lbw shouts off consecutive balls when he was on 20.

India reviewed the first, with ball-tracking vision showing Mohammed Shami's delivery would have gone over the stumps.

Finch's second lbw appeal was even closer - with ball-tracking vision declaring it would have been the umpire's call.

The original decision was not out, and India didn't review it anyway.

Finch also survived a run-out scare earlier in his innings.

But those were rare lapses from the right-hander, who was able to maintain a high level of concentration in the sapping heat.

More short course gold in sight for Titmus

More short course gold in sight for Titmus

's Emily Seebohm took bronze in the women's 200m Backstroke final.More gold is in Ariarne Titmus' sights after she narrowly missed setting a new n record to be top qualifier for the 400m freestyle final at the world short course swimming titles in China.
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In day four heats at Hangzhou, Titmus backed up from her stunning 200m freestyle victory earlier in the six-day meet to clock 3 min 58.58 secs - just 0.20 secsoff the national mark - to be the woman to beat in the final.

Remarkably Titmus, 18, almost snatched the record despite easing off in the back half but still finished almost two seconds ahead of her nearest rival, American Leah Smith.

"I hadn't raced since day one so it was nice to blow the cobwebs off," Titmus said.

"I wanted to take it out like I will (in the final) and then see where the field was."

Titmus has secured 's only gold at the meet to date after setting a new Commonwealth, Oceania and national mark to win the 200m freestyle final.

The teenager is hoping for more success to cap a remarkable year in which she became the first woman since Tracey Wickham in 1982 to win the Commonwealth 400m-800m double and threatened American great Katie Ledecky at August's Pan Pacs.

Also appearing in day four finals will be Emily Seebohm (100m individual medley, eighth fastest qualifier), Cameron McEvoy (50m freestyle, 4th fastest) and Holly Barratt (50m butterfly, 2nd fastest).

will also contest the men's 4x50m freestyle (fourth fastest) and men's 4x200m freestyle relay finals (fifth fastest).

Titmus will hope to add to 's medal tally which stood at just one gold and three bronze at the halfway mark.

In day three finals, Seebohm secured 's only medal with 200m backstroke bronze.

On a busy day in which Seebohm contested a total of six races, the n veteran led the 200m final under world record pace but was swamped in the last 50m.

Lisa Bratton claimed a surprise gold ahead of fellow American and hot-favourite Kathleen Baker.

Seebohm qualified for the 100m IM medal race then featured in the mixed 4x50m medley relay team which came seventh in the final.

US superstar Caeleb Dressel led the Americans to 4x50m medley relay gold in a new world record (1:36.40).

Night three began with Russian Kirill Prigoda claiming 200m breaststroke gold in a world record (2:00.16).

The US led the medal tally at the halfway mark with nine gold (17 medals in total) with eighth.

Lively pitch adds intrigue to Perth Test

Lively pitch adds intrigue to Perth Test

The new Perth pitch caused headaches for 's batsmen on day one of the second India Test.Talk of opening-session chaos proved to be off the mark but it didn't take long for the Perth Stadium pitch to start playing tricks in the second Test, something Marcus Harris and a more-fortunate Tim Paine could attest to.
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Harris' freak dismissal on 70 after lunch on day one and n skipper Paine's lucky escape late in the final session highlighted the demons lurking in the new stadium's wicket as the hosts went to stumps at 6-277.

lost three wickets during Friday's second session, capped by a freakish delivery from India's part-time offspinner Hanuma Vihari which reared up off a crack and caught Harris' edge to deny the youngster a maiden Test century.

Paine was beaten all ends up by an unplayable delivery from Jasprit Bumrah with the new ball which jagged off a crack and flew over wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant's head for four byes.

Bumrah could hardly believe his misfortune and Paine appeared to be equally astonished that his stumps were still standing.

The variable bounce on offer after lunch on day one - some deliveries flew off the pitch while a couple barely carried through to the wicketkeeper - was in contrast to the relatively tame behaviour of the wicket in the opening session.

Paine and counterpart Virat Kohli were greeted by an enticing green deck and predictions that it would play similarly to the WACA Ground of old, famous for its menacing bounce and tendency to produce devastating spells.

's skipper didn't hesitate to send India into the field on a 38-degree day, a decision that paid dividends when Harris and Aaron Finch (50) put on a 112-run partnership on the green deck.

"Marcus Harris getting bumped out by a 100km/h offspinner might have been the first time for that for a while in Test cricket," Finch joked.

"At times, you can be a little bit daunted by the colour of the grass, but I thought we played reasonably well in that first session to get through unscathed."

India's four-man pace attack lifted after lunch, led by Bumrah who trapped Finch lbw and tied down Usman Khawaja (five) in a brilliant spell before Umesh Yadav finished the job.

The pitch is expected to quicken up as the match progresses, with additional moisture added to the pitch on day one to negate the searing heat.

India fight back, Aussies 6-277 at stumps

India fight back, Aussies 6-277 at stumps

Travis Head has led an n recovery on a day of momentum shifts in the second Test.Momentum swung violently on the first day of the second Test in Perth, where 's most-inexperienced batsmen stood up either side of an inspired fightback from India's four-pronged pace attack on an already misbehaving pitch.
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reached 6-277 at stumps on Friday, when Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris' diligent 112-run opening stand was followed by a collapse of 4-36 that highlighted the inconsistent bounce on offer.

Travis Head steadied superbly for the second Test in a row, only to surrender late on 58 when he needlessly smashed the second new ball straight to Mohammed Shami in the deep.

Tim Paine will resume on 16, keen to push 's total well beyond 300 on a cracking green deck that will play no shortage of tricks when the hosts bowl in the game's final innings.

A sensational one-handed slips catch from Virat Kohli removed Peter Handscomb for five and reduced to 4-148, giving the touring bowlers hope of putting their feet up at some point on a day when the temperature hit 39.1 degrees.

A dropped catch from chirpy keeper Rishabh Pant, remarkable for all the wrong reasons, given it was a regulation edge offered by Shaun Marsh on 24, ensured that wouldn't happen.

Marsh failed to make the most of his reprieve, adding 21 runs, but the veteran's 84-run stand with Head was comfortably better than any partnership produced in their series-opening loss at Adelaide Oval.

Both captains were keen to bat first, while acknowledging it would not be easy.

Finch (50) and Harris (70) negotiated a wicketless morning session, in which India's quicks fluffed their lines early, to seemingly make a mockery of pre-match expectations of a WACA-like wicket.

But the longer the day wore on, the more pace, bounce, fire and brimstone there was.

"It was obviously a challenging wicket," Finch said.

"We batted really well today. It's always tough to judge a wicket until two teams have batted on it."

Offspinning allrounder Hanuma Vihari suggested Saturday's opening hour would be crucial.

"if we get them out below 320, we're right in the game," Vihari said.

Jasprit Bumrah trapped Finch lbw, igniting a fightback shortly after lunch with a sensational five-over spell of 1-3.

Usman Khawaja's series-long struggles to score freely continued when he was out for five off 38 balls, while Harris fell in scarcely believable fashion.

Harris fended a delivery from Vihari, which reared at him after hitting a crack, straight to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

Vihari, the visitors' frontline spinner in the absence of injured star Ravichandran Ashwin, also used bounce rather than turn to account for Marsh.

's second 100-plus opening stand for the year in Test cricket came at an ideal time for Paine's team, whose hopes of lifting the Border-Gavaskar trophy after a difficult nine months would be dashed with a loss in Perth.