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Questions raised over Aust bowling

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 17 Februari 2013 | 23.01

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Australia's bowling has raised a number of questions ahead of their first Test. Source: Tony McDonough / AAP

Australia's selectors were hoping their three-day game against India A would answer some questions about their bowling attack, rather than raise them.

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The tourists' strategy seemed clear enough.

New-ball partners Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were named to play in the full-strength squad's only tour match before the first Test on February 22.

Seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques was also picked after taking 4-12 in the two-day game against the India Board XI.

And the team's regular spinner Nathan Lyon was joined by two-Test player Xavier Doherty and 19-year-old Ashton Agar in a three-man bowl-off for a possible two spin spots for the first Test.

However, while the spinners did claim eight wickets between them during the weekend, India A were allowed to pile on 451 runs on a flat batting track.

Siddle, Starc and Henriques all bowled tightly but took only two wickets between them.

The three spinners all conceded centuries, bowling more overs but less maidens than the quicks.

Australia's slow bowlers were unable to maintain pressure, something which will be even more crucial in the tense atmosphere of Friday's opening to the four-Test series at Chennai's Chidambaram Stadium.

It will be hot and humid and any loose bowling will be seized upon by India's batsmen.

Agar claimed 3-107 off 20 overs, removing three tailenders late in innings.

Doherty's determination to push the ball through and bang it hard into the wicket to get turn out of the spin-friendly pitches could count in his favour for selection alongside Lyon.

Any variation to the combination of Siddle, Starc and Henriques plus two spinners would be a risk, but the bowlers in general haven't excelled apart from Henriques taking 4-12 against the India Board XI.

Doherty finished with 3-108 from 24 overs against India A, having taken three of the first four wickets to fall.

Playing Agar ahead of Doherty would be a risk, but playing Doherty - whose Shield average of 80.00 this season doesn't inspire confidence - would also be a gamble alongside Lyon.

Australia's latest plan might involve three quicks plus Henriques and Lyon.

Skipper Michael Clarke has indicated he plans to bowl his left-arm spin and also throw the ball to occasional leggie David Warner in Chennai.

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Crows finish on a high, beat Power

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Showdown ... Crows' youngster Brad Crouch gets his kick away just in time. Source: Sarah Reed / News Limited

Adelaide Crows ensure all three teams take wins from the NAB Cup triple-header in Adelaide with a strong 16-point win over rivals Port Adelaide.

0.3.3 (21) Q1 0.1.2 (8)
0.6.7 (43) Q2 0.4.3 (27)

Josh Jenkins


Brendon Ah Chee


Luke Brown


Angus Monfries


Richard Douglas


Cameron O'Shea


Ricky Henderson


Aaron Young


Jarryd Lyons


The Power had earlier demolished St Kilda by 50 points, while the Saints got the day started with a 26-point win over the Crows.

Adelaide had the break between games and took advatange of the Power backing up in hot conditions at AAM Stadium, triumphing 6.3 (43) to 4.3 (27).

0.5.2 (32) Q1 0.1.2 (8)
1.9.2 (65) Q2 0.2.3 (15)

Jay Schulz


Justin Koschitzke


Paul Stewart


Thomas Lee


Matthew Broadbent


Brad Ebert


Jake Neade


Oliver Wines


Chad Wingard


There was improvement across the ground for the Crows with forward-ruckman Josh Jenkins particularly impressive.

Jenkins has been earmarked as the replacement for Kurt Tippett in the Crows line-up and he did his chances no harm with a strong showing, while one-time top draft pick turned forgotten playmaker Richard Tambling also showed signs he can contribute for the Crows.

Youngster Brodie Smith was the Crows only casualty on the day after the midfielder looking to injure his shoulder.

Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson said Smith's injury would be confirmed by an x-ray on Monday, with a likely result of six to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Sanderson said Adelaide were "soft around the contest'' in their initial loss to St Kilda, before lifting their intensity against Port.

The Power kicked a goal with 10 minutes left to close the gap to 10 points but were unable to get any closer as Richard Douglas kicked the final goal to seal the result.

Rookie-listed Kane Mitchell was good in both games for Port Adelaide but stepped up against Adelaide and could have sealed elevation onto the senior list for round one.

The Power lost Angus Monfries to a hamstring strain in their win against St Kilda.

"It will keep him out for a couple of weeks,'' Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

Hinkley said he was pleased overall with Port's output.

"We got some good stuff, we got some bad stuff, and we got plenty to improve on,'' he said.

"But overall, as the day went, we achieved some fairly good things.''

0.0.4 (4) Q1 0.4.1 (25)
0.3.6 (24) Q2 0.8.2 (50)

Graham Johncock


Trent Dennis-Lane


Beau Maister


Terry Milera


Stephen Milne


Ahmed Saad


In the second game, Port Adelaide showed signs of major improvement with a big 50-point win over St Kilda in the NAB Cup.

Fatigued by the triple-header's first game, St Kilda were powerless to stop a rejuvenated Power, succumbing 1.9.2 (65) to 2.3 (15).

In very hot conditions, the Saints won their opening game against Adelaide Crows but undid a lot of their good work by getting smashed by the Power.

It was the Power's first game under new coach Ken Hinkley and it was a completely different outfit to the one that was often a shambles in 2012.

Rookies Jake Neade and Ollie Wines showed some exciting signs while leaders Travis Boak, Jackson Trengove and Brad Ebert were outstanding.

In the opening game, Saints recruit Trent Dennis-Lane made an instant impact with two goals in a 26-point thumping of an under-strength Adelaide Crows.

St Kilda coach Scott Watters said he was pleased with the first game but his team found it tough to back up in the hot conditions.

"There were a lot of things out of the first game that we were pretty pleased with, obviously we had a slightly more mature group of players out there," he said.

"We still got a lot out of the second game, to expose those young players ... there are 20 players who have played less than 20 games of footy for this footy club.

"So there were some great learnings on how to maintain you structure on what was a difficult, hot day.''

The Saints won 0.8.2 (50) to 0.3.6 (24) as Dennis-Lane, Terry Milera and Beau Maister (formerly Wilkes) each kicked two goals for St Kilda, while veteran Graham Johncock kicked all of Adelaide's goals.

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St Kilda kept Adelaide goal-less in the opening half of a match played in searing 38-degree heat, while kicking four majors themselves.

Small Saints Milera, Dennis-Lane and Ahmed Saad all potted early goals and formed a dangerous forward line against a Crows outfit missing nine top-line players.

Dennis-Lane, in his first official match for the Saints after being traded by Sydney, added another second-half goal while spearhead Maister also kicked goals in each half.

The duo benefitted from frequent chances provided by a dominant midfield headed by Farren Ray, Jack Steven and David Armitage.

And the Saints were also in control defensively, with creative backmen Arryn Sippos and James Gwilt gathering repeated disposals across half-back.

In contrast, Adelaide struggled for cohesion and didn't register a major until the second minute of the second half when veteran Graham Johncock strolled into an open goal.

Johncock booted two more in the half but was the sole shining light in attack for the Crows.

The Saints next play Port Adelaide before the Power meet Adelaide in the final game of the triple-header.

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Rebuilding Eels a huge task: Stuart

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Work in progress ... Ricky Stuart admits it will take time to transform the Eels. Source: Gregg Porteous / News Limited

If trying to end Queensland's seven-year stranglehold on State of Origin wasn't hard enough, Ricky Stuart admits he faces another massive task trying to make Parramatta a force in the NRL again.

Stuart failed in his quest to guide the Blues to a series for the first time since 2005 in his two-year stint as coach, but did much to close the gap between the sides and restore some pride to the jumper.

However, he knows he has his work cut out reviving the Eels and warned the club's long-suffering fans not to expect miracles in the wake of Saturday's 41-4 trial defeat to Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.

"If anyone thinks we're going to rebuild this in two or three months doesn't know the extent of the job," Stuart said on Sunday.

"This is a huge job. The club's been in the doldrums for a couple of years. It's going to take time to pull ourselves out of that and start showing some consistency."

The Eels claimed the wooden spoon for the first time since 1974 last season and have not made the top-eight since reaching the 2009 grand final.

The retirement of stalwarts Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt in addition to missing out on several recruitment targets such as Israel Folau, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Greg Bird has not helped Stuart's cause.

However, he's hopeful he can help mould a relatively young side into a competitive outfit.

"The team's been bashed around for the last 18 months," he said.

"Whether that's been publicly or within, it's been a very tough 18 months for them.

"You're not going to find me critical of the team in regards to denting their confidence because it's one area we've got to work hard on.

We have to work hard to find confidence and be happy in what we're doing.

"Obviously we all want to win and we want to be successful but it's going to take time.

"I've told them I'll be patient with them. If I've ever had a job where I have to rebuild, this is it."

Test prop Scott re-signed with North Queensland last week and Stuart revealed he almost persuaded him to join the Eels rebuilding program.

"We were very close. But he showed a lot of strength and loyalty to stay with his club as James Tamou did," he said.

"I don't really see it as losing a player when they stay with their club.

"We'll just keep pushing forward with our recruitment and improve our players here."

Parramatta back-rower Taniela Lasalo has been ruled out for up to 14 weeks.

The 23-year-old broke his arm playing for Eels' NSW Cup side Wentworthville on Saturday night against the Tigers.

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Bozza's Save of the Week R21

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Adelaide's goalkeeper ... Eugene Galekovic makes an impressive save. Source: Tim Marsden / AAP

Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic has won Mark Bosnich's Save of the Week for his impressive save, stretching to his limits in the round 21 encounter with Sydney FC.

The dangerous Alessandro Del Piero had Galekovic busy throughout the game.

Del Piero's left foot looked certain to hit the back of the net before the Reds gloveman overextended his left arm and batted away the shot on goal.

Click on the video at the top of the page to see Eugene's outstanding save and for more of Bosnich's critique of the round's A-League goalkeeping.

According to former Australian international goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, the save was a challenging one to make.

"It is very difficult to get down that low that quickly from such a distance," said Bosnich.

"Eugene Galekovic once more comes to Adelaide's rescue."

It was a textbook save by Galekovic because he abided by the key fundamental rule of not stepping beyond his goal post.

"From the post to the middle of your six yard box you should have an imaginary line," Bosnich explains.

"It goes to (the middle) and to the other post so it's like a triangle.

"You don't want to be too far outside that triangle."

How does Eugene Galekovic's save stand up against other stops in round 12? Have your say by leaving a comment.

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Blues end Redbacks' final hopes

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Brad Haddin ... leads the Blues to victory with an entertaining ton. Source:The Daily Telegraph

South Australia have missed the chance to defend their one-day cricket crown, losing to NSW by 18 runs on Sunday in game they had to win to make the final against Victoria.

A blazing century from former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin helped the Blues post a competitive 8-266 before the visitors rolled the Redbacks for just 248 in the 48th over at Adelaide Oval.

ODD - Adelaide Oval

17 February 2013 - Day 1, Session 2

South Australia 1st Innings

J. Mennie 11 12 1 0 91.67
J. Haberfield 4 10 0 0 40
G. Sandhu 11 0 55 3 5.00

Haddin said with three wins from their last three games some of his younger teammates were coming to grips with one-day cricket.

"I think our guys over the last couple of weeks are starting to understand one-day cricket and are starting to learn,'' he said.

"That was just reward for all the work they've put in."

Redbacks keeper Tim Ludeman said the loss was pretty hard to take given the side's excellent start to the competition.

"Unfortunately we fell away, but we showed some great signs," he said.

SA had only needed to win one of their last three games to be assured of playing in the final, but went down twice to the Blues and once to Victoria to slip out of contention.

The home side began the run chase in solid style but a middle order collapse and then three late wickets to medium pacer Gurinder Sandhu sealed the deal for the Blues.

The Redbacks lost 4-13 in the middle part of their run chase before skipper Johan Botha (53 from 56 balls) and Travis Head steadied the ship with a 39-run stand.

Botha then combined with Tim Ludeman (52 from 41) to put the home side within reach of an improbable win, but three late wickets to Sandhu - including the vital scalp of Ludeman - ended the SA charge.

Sandhu finished with 3-55 while Sean Abbott was the pick of the Blues' attack with 3-49 to add to his unbeaten knock of 40 from 34 balls.

After winning the toss and batting, NSW stuttered in the early overs, losing 4-77 before Haddin combined with skipper Peter Nevill to add 91 for the fifth wicket.

The former Test keeper faced just 112 balls for his 125 which included 17 boundaries and three sixes in a knock that should remind national selectors of his potent batting ability.

For the Redbacks, Jake Haberfield took 2-35 from six overs while Botha was the pick of the bowlers with 1-54 from his 13 overs of spin.

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Will Perth pearlers spark Glory?

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Celebrate ... Shane Smeltz broke his goalscoring drought. Source: Justin benson-Cooper / News Limited

Perth Glory couldn't have timed their revival any better, unfortunately it had to take the sacking of Ian Ferguson for last year's grand finalists to find their spark.

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A club in turmoil, playing against the A-League leading Central Coast Mariners under new coach Alistair Edwards and the team produced two stunning goals.

After going behind to the Mariners, Travis Dodd pulled the Glory level with a deft touch and placed finish before striker Shane Smeltz broke his drought with a bullet header that gave Central Coast 'keeper Mat Ryan no chance.

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Another team that is battling for a finals spot is Newcastle Jets and they got a huge win against Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

Holding onto a one-nil lead, the Jets sealed the win thanks to striker Ryan Griffith's sublime skills.

Battling a Heart defender, Griffiths managed to chip the goalkeeper before rushing off to celebrate with the fans.

Check out the goals in our video at the top of the page and vote for who's goal you think is best.

Fox Sports and Hyundai are giving fans the chance to win by voting in the Goal of the Week competition.

The major prize winner will drive home the all-new Hyundai Veloster SR Turbo. Delivering both street presence and dynamic performance, with 150kW of grunt and 265Nm of torque delivered by a twin-scroll turbocharged engine, you'll be the envy of all of your friends.

The runner-up prize winner will win tickets to a corporate box at the Hyundai A-League grand final including return economy flights, transfers and two nights' accommodation to enjoy with three friends.

There is also a weekly cash prize of $300 up for grabs.

To enter, simply visit our competition page here each week to vote for your favourite goal and submit your details below.

Enjoy the video, good luck, and don't forget to return weekly each Sunday for your feast of great goals and chance to win!

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'Heart don't need Neill apology'

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Sorry ... John Aloisi says Melbourne Heart will move on. Source: Salpigtidis George / News Limited

Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi says he didn't need to hear Lucas Neill apologise for walking away from the club to join Sydney FC.

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Instead, Neill's former Socceroos teammate said Neill must have felt sorry for the way he treated the club and it was now time to move on as the two clubs meet in Melbourne next weekend.

The Socceroos captain was heavily linked to the Heart before deciding to join his hometown club at the last minute, saying money had nothing to do with the decision.

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Speaking on Fox Sports' Shootout, Aloisi said Neill must have felt he owed the Heart an explanation.

"I don't need an apology from anyone, it's up to the person themselves," he said.

"Obviously, he feels bad about something he said to us and I'm not going to get into it.

"All I can say is, at certain times, it's the way you conduct yourself."

Neill had been released by his UAE club, Al Wasl, a fortnight ago and trained with the Sky Blues for the first time on Sunday.

Instead of having Neill to combat the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Joel Griffiths, Aloisi will have to plan how to shut the Socceroos captain down.

However, the on-field benefit wasn't the only reason the Heart wanted Neill, said the coach.

"We would have loved to have had Lucas on football terms," he said.

"He's a great footballer, he's been a great footballer for the national team, he's had a good career and he would have helped us, not only on the pitch, but off the pitch with the young boys.

"That's why we tried to get Lucas to our club.

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"In the discussions we had, Lucas liked the way we play football, what we were trying to do at the club and he seemed very interested."

During his press conference, Neill said he was sorry about the misunderstanding.

"To the Melbourne Heart board and to Johnny Aloisi and Hayden (Foxe), I apologise if I gave too much of an indication that I was heading down to Melbourne and I wish them all the best," Neill said.

"There was never a case of leveraging one club against the other but when the opportunity became very real to join Sydney it was a difficult decision, but an easy one from a family point of view of being born in Sydney and raised in Sydney.

"As far as being gazumped at the last minute, there was never a question of money," Neill said after training with his new teammates for the first time.

"I think it's well-documented that Melbourne's offer was a hundred (thousand dollars) and I signed for seventy (thousand dollars), so I think we leave it at that."

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Aussies collapse late on day two

Shane Watson ... was a rare shining light for Australia on day two. Source: Andres Leighton / AP

Australia have been totally outplayed in their only first-class warm-up match before next Friday's first Test after conceding 451 to India A on day two of their three-day game in Chennai.

The tourists reached 4-131 at stumps on Sunday in reply, failing to build on a century opening stand led by Shane Watson's fine knock of 84.

Australia lost 4-11 after Watson had added 116 with Ed Cowan (40) for the first wicket.

Left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv claimed the key wickets of Cowan lbw and Watson caught-behind, although both batsmen looked surprised to be given out.

Cowan was first to go and Phil Hughes (one) followed in the next over as the left-hander was stumped to offspinner Jalaj Saxena's bowling.

Watson, who belted 13 fours and one six from 87 deliveries,shook his head after his departure at 3-127.

Eight balls later there was no doubt about the dismissal of Usman Khawaja who played back and was bowled by Saxena for one.

Matthew Wade (three) and Moises Henriques (zero) are at the crease.

While Watson's 84 may lead to further calls for the vice-captain to be shifted from No.4 back to No.1 in the Test side, selectors are likely to stick with the David Warner/Cowan pairing.

Warner is recovering from a fractured thumb but was able to complete a batting session in the nets on Sunday as he attempts to prove his fitness for Friday's first Test.

Australia's spinners Xavier Doherty (3-108), Ashton Agar (3-107) and Nathan Lyon (2-113) claimed eight wickets between them in India A's innings, but all conceded centuries on a turning pitch in a performance that is a hardly a boost to Australia's confidence.

No.4 Manoj Tiwary made 129, joining ex-Test opener Gautam Gambhir (112) as a century-maker in the match after Gambhir dominated the first day of play.

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