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Australia vs India live: Brisbane weather to play a part as Australia’s fast bowlers hunt wickets on final day at Gabba



51st over – Hazlewood gets a look at Rahane

AND RAHANE HOOKS HIM FOR FOUR! Probably a top edge technically, but very safe and a boundary for the skipper.

You would have to think Australia needs at least one, but probably two wickets in this session to have any real hope of winning the Test. But getting Pujara and/or Rahane out is easier said than done.

One more for Rahane squirted out to point.

OH MY GOODNESS! Pujara is SMASHED in the head! Straight on the front of the grill, and the neck guard on the back of his head flies off. Incredibly, Pujara is okay.

Just before that ball, Pujara backed away right as Hazlewood was preparing to ball because there was a butterfly in front of him. Hazlewood stared him down a little after that, and looked like he put some extra effort into that one. That was fast, and jagged back hard at the batsman. Pujara hardly moved before it crashed into his grill.

So we’re taking some time to make sure Pujara is okay. It looks like he’s going to continue. How much can one man take?

Pujara defends the last ball of another incredible over. The game has gone up a notch in the last 20 minutes or so.



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Will Pucovski ruled out of final Australia vs India Test, Marcus Harris to open


Australia opener Will Pucovski will miss the fourth Test against India at the Gabba due to a shoulder injury.

Pucovski suffered a shoulder subluxation injury while diving in the field on day five of the third Test at the SCG.

Marcus Harris will come into the side and partner David Warner who has been deemed fit despite appearing to struggle with a groin injury in Sydney at the top of the order.

There were no other changes to the side that drew the third Test in Sydney on Monday.

Australian skipper Tim Paine confirmed the change after the team’s final training session on Thursday morning.

“Will won’t play tomorrow,” Paine said.

“Marcus Harris will replace him … We’re looking forward to seeing what he will do.”

Two Victorian batters walk off the field smiling during a Sheffield Shield match against South Australia.
Marcus Harris (right) will replace his Victoria teammate Will Pucovski in the Test side.(AAP: James Elsby)

Harris has not played a Test since the 2019 Ashes Tour, where he made a top score of 19 in three matches.

The 28-year-old West Australian has a top score of 79 from nine Test matches, with a first-class average of 38.86 and a top score of 250.

“[Harris has] been working his backside off in our hub,” Paine said.

“He deserves his opportunity.

“He’s a really relaxed type of character, so he’s one we certainly enjoy having him in and around our group.”

Pucovski made scores of 62 and 10 in his maiden Test match, with Paine saying the medical staff needed more time to get him right for the Test than was afforded under the three-day turnaround.

“He’ll have a bit of work to do with our medicos to see where he goes from here.”

The Border-Gavaskar Test series is tantalisingly poised at 1-1, with the final and deciding Gabba Test set to start on Friday.



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Australia’s Will Pucovski under injury cloud ahead of final Test against India at Gabba in Brisbane


Australia opener Will Pucovski may be forced to miss the final Test against India starting in Brisbane on Friday after sustaining a shoulder injury.

Pucovski suffered a shoulder subluxation injury while diving in the field on day five of the third Test at the SCG.

Cricket Australia said Pucovski, who scored a half-century in his Test debut in Sydney, would continue his rehabilitation before a decision was made on whether he would play at the Gabba.

Meanwhile, the visitors are scrambling to sort out their Test XI after Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin helped salvage a draw in Sydney on Monday, to leave the four-match series level at 1-1.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is in doubt for the Gabba Test because of an abdominal injury.

Bumrah received treatment for a minor abdominal strain at the SCG but continued to bowl.

India has been weakened during the series by the absence of quicks Mohammed Shami (arm), Umesh Yadav (calf), Ishant Sharma (side) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (thigh).

Batsman KL Rahul has returned home with a wrist injury, while Vihari (hamstring) and Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) are likely to be enforced omissions for the fourth Test.

Jasprit Bumrah smiles with both hands raised above his head
India’s Jasprit Bumrah sustained an abdominal injury in Sydney.(AP: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ashwin (back), Rishabh Pant (arm) and Cheteshwar Pujara (finger) pushed through the pain barrier at the SCG, earning praise from skipper Ajinkya Rahane.

Opener Mayank Agarwal, who loomed as a likely inclusion for Vihari if he was forced out of the fourth Test, is now getting scans on a hand injury.

Regular India captain Virat Kohli, who welcomed the birth of his first child late on Monday night, headlines the list of unavailable talent.

Both the Australian and Indian squads arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday in the wake of the spiteful SCG Test.

Australia captain Tim Paine fronted an unscheduled media conference earlier on Tuesday morning to apologise for his behaviour during the Test.

Stump microphones picked up some barbs that Paine, who has helped turn around the Australian squad’s image after the Cape Town cheating scandal in 2018, directed at Ashwin during India’s second innings.

“I felt I had a really poor game in terms of my leadership and I think that affected our team,” he said.

ABC/AAP



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Live: Australia hunting wickets on final day to win SCG Test



Australia looks to wrap up victory in the third Test, with India chasing an improbable target of 407 on the final day at the SCG. Follow live.



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ASX slips in final session but ends the year flat


The All Ordinaries closed for the year 1.3 per cent, or 92.3 points weaker at 6850.60.

Market analysts expect investors to switch back to a buying mood in the new year. Jessica Amir, market analyst at Bell Direct, expects the banking and financial sector, in particular, to recover strongly led by banks that will be driven by record-high mortgage applications.

“The down breath stocks of 2020 are likely to see a continued buying, this has been taking place of late and the impetus for this will continue in 2021, as the economy expands and we get vaccinations going into circulation overseas.”

Miss Amir added mining stocks – partcularly iron ore, copper and nickel – were also set to rally as the world recovers and China’s demand for Australian exports grows.

Meanwhile, the “stay at home economy” would continue to lift stocks such as online retailer Kogan after periods of lockdown forced more people to adopt online shopping. “If everything continues, it should be a cracking 2021,” Miss Amir said, with the ASX likely to rally 8 to 10 per cent over the year.

David Bassanese, chief economist at BetaShares, also said the ASX was placed to do well in 2021. “The combination of vaccines being made available by mid-year and central banks looking likely to keep interest rates on hold for several years, which is the big difference from coming out of typical recessions, all of that bodes well for the market.”

“Investors will be probably looking to take on risk and for those that haven’t already invested in the market, looking to get exposure,” Mr Bassanese said.

“Overall, the market is pretty well placed to do well, the earnings outlook is pretty upbeat and valuations, given where interest rates are, are not that outrageous.”

Overnight, Wall Street nudged higher and the US dollar dipped to its lowest in more than two years. All three major US stock indexes were up modestly as recently enacted stimulus and the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines fed optimism over economic recovery in 2021.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent, or about 74 points, to post a near-record close of 30,409.56. The S&P 500 gained 5 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 3732.04 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.78 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 12,870.

“2021 is going to be the beginning of it,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “My anticipation will probably be more robust in the latter part of 2021.”

“Once there’s the sense of an all-clear sign, we would anticipate a robust response from the consumer,” Mr Keator added.

For now, he suggests the markets are in wait-and-see mode.

“The markets are saying ‘what have you done for me lately?’ and people are going to be focusing on what’s going to happen if we see more and more restrictions due to the pandemic,” he said.

Britain approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the latest development in the rapid progression, testing, approval and deployment of drugs to battle the disease.

Meanwhile, European stocks reversed gains to end a five-day winning streak, closing lower as investors locked in year-end gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.34 per cent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.33 per cent.

Crude oil prices inched higher on the back of the weaker dollar and a dip in US inventories, but gains were capped by dimming hopes of a demand rebound.

US crude futures gained 0.83 per cent to settle at $US48.40 per barrel and Brent settled at $US51.34 per barrel, up 0.49 per cent on the day.

Gold prices rose, countering a dip in the greenback, although global COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and increased risk appetite limited the safe-haven metal’s gains.

Spot gold added 0.6 per cent to $US1,888.28 an ounce.

With Reuters

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Southside Flyers and Townsville Fire ready for WNBL grand final showdown


After 50-something games in six weeks across three north Queensland cities, it all comes down to this — the WNBL Grand Final between the Southside Flyers, spearheaded by Liz Cambage, and a Townsville Fire team led by teen sensation Shyla Heal.

And while on paper it looks like the anticipated finale given the sides finished first and second on the ladder following the completion of the regular rounds last week, their campaigns have been unique in the most unusual of seasons.

The impact of COVID-19 meant pre-season was almost non-existent for the league’s eight clubs, especially as the Melbourne sides lived several months in stage four lockdown.

Granted permits, Southside were able to come together to practice at Dandenong Stadium, but at one stage no contact was allowed.

Coach Cheryl Chambers said the path to a Grand Final had been like no other in her 20-plus years in the league as a player then coach.

“We hardly scrimmaged before we left Melbourne, then we hit Brisbane for 14 days of quarantine and had a couple of scrimmages,” she told ABC Sport.

“It’s taken a lot of time to get team and individual stuff in place, so it has been really weird.”

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Unique hub season has brought players closer together

Playing every other day has fast tracked chemistry, according to Chambers.

“It helped us figure out who we are, what we stand for, how we want to be seen — all of those sorts of things that you’d normally do in meetings, some practice games but we were doing it amongst playing a game every second day,” she said.

“We’ve had lots of laughs along the way, about some things that have buggered up and some that have worked out. It’s been a good journey but a long one.”

Team bonding has been important when each member of the Flyers touring party has been away from home, family and friends, and jobs for eight weeks.

Last Monday, the Flyers players, coaches and support staff and some of their families who have travelled up to Queensland enjoyed Christmas dinner in a Townsville park.

“Christmas is coming, and we’ve got some people who haven’t seen any family or their partners, but others have just had them arrive,” Chambers said.

“It was nice to not worry about anything else for the night, have some fun with Santa, a meal together and that’s really important.

“It’s also important to make sure not to do it every night, those things have got to be special. We’re living together, we see each other around every corner. We have some relaxed fun but some time apart as well.”

Fire caps off extraordinary rise with spot in grand final

Townsville Fire players Lara McSpadden and Mia Murray.
Townsville Fire players Lara McSpadden and Mia Murray celebrate winning their WNBL preliminary final.(Supplied: Basketball Australia)

The Fire are the story of the season, coming from last to a Grand Final berth in a matter of months under freshly crowned coach of the year Shannon Seebohm.

Their run to the final game of the season might have surprised some, but not those within the club.

“I’m obviously really proud of the girls’ effort and this is what we set our sights on day one when we got together — making a grand final and winning a championship, and now we have a chance to do it,” Seebohm said after the Fire defeated the Melbourne Boomers, 65-62, in Friday night’s preliminary final.

“Before the season we were tipped by some to come sixth, our girls have had that chip on their shoulder since we got together and all of them have a point to prove for one reason or another. I think we’ve played that way, we’ve played tough and we’ve got to back up and do it again one more time.”

Townsville has just two remaining players from its 2019-20 campaign, Seebohm carefully selecting the players and people he wanted on board to guide the club into its next chapter.

Shyla Heal for the Townsville Fire
Shyla Heal has been a star for the Townsville Fire during the 2020 season.(Basketball Australia)

The recruitment of star guard Lauren Nicholson and the Betty Watson Australian Youth Player of the Year, Shyla Heal, have proved a masterstroke.

Heal, 19, has scored 30 and 28 points in the Fire’s two WNBL20 finals.

“We’re one of the youngest teams in the league and we had a lot of turnover from last season’s team,” Seebohm said.

“One of the biggest things we tried to do with our recruiting was recruit really good people and then try and get the players we wanted, then fit the pieces around them which complement each other, and I think we’ve been able to do that.

“I don’t deserve too much of the credit. I think it’s the players and how they buy into the system we put in place and the culture that we try and implement as well.

“I feel really fortunate to coach these girls.”

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Shyla Heal speaking after her side qualified for the 2020 WNBL grand final.

WNBL20 Championship would be ‘special’

So, in a season like no other, in a hub and with a gruelling fixture, what would winning the 2020 championship mean?

“It would be special, not just for our little group and staff and our families as they are a part of every day, but special for all our people back home, our club and our sponsors — people have sacrificed so much for us to be able to do this,” Chambers said.

“It would be remembered forever because we never thought we’d be in Queensland for six weeks trying to win a championship. It’ll never happen again.”

With much of the season played in Townsville, the Fire will have a bumper home crowd in full voice behind them on Sunday.

“The girls have worked extremely hard before this season, and obviously during the season, and we’ve had to earn everything we’ve gotten. It would be amazing to finish it off with a championship,” Seebohm said.

“I’ve spoken to (Townsville veteran) Mia Murray and retired Townsville players who’ve done it before and listened to them recall just how amazing it is to play in a championship in this building. We’re super thrilled to now have the opportunity to do that.”

The WNBL Grand Final between the Southside Flyers and Townsville Fire will be live on ABC TV and iView this afternoon from 3pm AEDT.

Megan Hustwaite has covered the WNBL for the past 12 seasons and is a member of the ABC commentary team.



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$1 million reward offered after bikie Nick Martin’s final words revealed


A reward of up to $1 million is being offered for information that helps solve the assassination of Rebels bikie president Nick Martin, who was shot during a drag racing event in Perth.

Martin received a single gunshot wound to his torso while watching the Outlaw Nitro Challenge at Perth Motorplex in Kwinana at 8.40pm on Saturday with his family.

WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts described the shooting as an “incredibly disturbing incident” and said there might be an opportunity for immunity from prosecution provided the person was not directly responsible for the homicide.

“We want no stone to be left unturned,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s an unprecedented reward for a crime of this nature.

“This is a crime that cannot go unpunished.”

Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce admitted a reward was being offered earlier than usual in a police investigation, but said it was critical in this case.

“We don’t want to take forever working painfully through every forensic opportunity if there’s someone sitting out there that may just be looking for an opportunity to come forward,” he said.

Martin’s wife Amanda was with him at the time of the shooting and told The West Australian she heard a sound, but could not be sure if it was a gunshot or a car backfiring.

She recalled feeling her husband’s hand graze her cheek as he collapsed to the ground before saying: “Babe, I’ve been shot.”

“I picked him up and I just held him up. I kept telling him just to stay with me,” Ms Martin said before explaining that she screamed for help.

“No one knew he’d been shot because … the noise, the cars … they didn’t know.”

She said bystanders thought Martin had suffered a heart attack, but her hands were covered in blood.

“I was kissing him and I was trying to give him CPR, but he never opened his eyes again – he was already gone,” she said.

Martin, 51, appears to have been shot by a sniper in front of horrified innocent bystanders, including young families.

A five-year-old boy was grazed by the bullet but did not need to go to hospital.

Former Bandidos bikie Ricky Chapman, 31, the partner of Martin’s stepdaughter Stacey Schoppe, was also wounded and had fragments of the bullet removed from his arm during surgery.

Ms Schoppe said suggestions Chapman was a Rebels member were false and he was no longer a bikie.

The hunt for the gunman continues, with authorities not ruling out the possibility the shooter flew into Perth to commit the crime.

Officers and recruits scoured the perimeter of the venue on Tuesday.

A Rebels meeting at their Bibra Lake clubhouse was intercepted by police officers overnight.

Officers set up a vehicle control point nearby, stopping members and associates for identification checks.

Separately, a 20-year-old Rebels nominee was allegedly found in possession of three guns, meth and police clothing in Gosnells.

The Kenwick man has been charged with six offences. He is not a suspect in Martin’s shooting.

On Monday, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told 6PR radio that Martin did not have “good standing” with the Rebels before his death and had been “under some pressure”.

Police suggested Martin had recently stood down from the leadership, but his family insist that is not true.

Following the shooting, police raids were conducted at the Mongols and Hells Angels clubhouses, and at a Shoalwater home linked to an alleged bikie associate.

A 33-year-old Mongols member was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to sell/supply, and a 30-year-old man was charged with breaching a post-sentence supervision order.

Weapons and prescription medications were allegedly found during a search of the Hells Angels clubhouse.

A 71-year-old Mongols associate has been charged with several offences after cannabis plants, a shotgun, four rifles, two firearm silencers and ammunition were allegedly found at the Shoalwater property.

There are fears Martin’s death may spark an all-out bikie war and Mr Royce says police are “taking the fight back to the gangs”.

More than 100 officers have been assigned so far to Operation Ravello.

Meanwhile, tributes have flowed for Martin, with former Rebels national president Alex Vella sharing his outrage.

“To be taken so cowardly in front of his wife, children and grandchildren is absolutely abhorrent,” Mr Vella wrote.

“Nick will always be remembered for being straight up forward not backward member of our great club.”

Martin’s daughter Tia, who recently gave birth to his first grandchild, posted a photo on Facebook with the caption: “I love you forever and always.”

A friend of Martin said the “world lost a good person”.

“I meet Nick in the early 2000s when we worked together … we became friends (and) I had the privilege of meeting his parents, daughter and sister. The public image is not the real man. He was a kind generous person,” he wrote.

Martin’s death comes just two weeks after he was bashed at a Scarborough bar, allegedly by Hells Angels boss Dayne Brajkovich.

CCTV showed the pair greeting each other with an amicable handshake before a violent clash broke out.

Martin was allegedly hit to the ground before getting to his feet.

NCA NewsWire is not suggesting Brajkovich played any part in Saturday night’s shooting.



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Kim A Lim wins US Women’s Open after starting final round five shots behind



South Korean debutant Kim A Lim has won the US Women’s Open in historic fashion, closing with three straight birdies to tie the record for the largest comeback and win the biggest event in women’s golf.

Starting the final round five shots behind at Champions Golf Club in Texas, the 25-year-old wore a heavy down jacket and a mask between shots as she delivered a round of 4-under 67 for a one-shot victory over Amy Olson and world number one Ko Jin-young.

Kim became the seventh player to rally from five shots behind in the final round of the US Women’s Open, and the first since Annika Sorenstam in 1995.

Olson held her own amid the grief of learning her father-in-law died unexpectedly in North Dakota on Saturday night.

She was in tears Sunday morning on the range, before rain pushed the final round to Monday.

Olson, winless in seven years on the LPGA Tour, had a two-shot lead on the back nine after 54-hole leader Hinako Shibuno faltered, but she couldn’t do anything about Kim’s late charge and fell back when her hybrid on the par-3 16th bounded over the green and into thick, brown rough, leading to bogey.

She birdied the final hole for a 72 after 94th-ranked Kim had already secured the title.

Ko, who only recently returned to the tour from South Korea, also birdied the 18th when it was too late to catch Kim.

Ko closed with a 68, one of only six players to break par in the final round. Shibuno closed with a 74 and finished two shots off the lead.

Kim finished at 3-under 281 and won $US1 million ($1.3 million). She added to South Korean dominance of the US Open, the ninth winner in the last 13 years.

Tennis player-turned-golfer Gabriela Ruffels was the best-placed Australian, finishing in a tie for 13th on 5-over.

AP



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Australia-India live ScoreCentre: Scores, stats and results from final Twenty20 at SCG



This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)



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Penrith Panthers centre Brent Naden returns positive test for cocaine from NRL grand final night


Penrith Panthers player Brent Naden has been provisionally suspended after testing positive to cocaine after the NRL grand final in October.

The Panthers have confirmed Naden returned a positive A-sample following a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia.

Cocaine is prohibited in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy.

The 24-year-old centre is banned from participating in any WADA compliant sport while he waits for his B-sample to be analysed.

In November, Naden sought professional help to deal with a number of personal issues by entering a voluntary rehabilitation program.

The NRL has spoken with Naden and advised him of the support services available to him.

“As previously reported, Brent approached the club following the 2020 NRL Grand Final to seek help with a number of personal issues. At that time he admitted to the use of a recreational drug,” a Panthers statement read.

“Panthers informed the NRL of Brent’s admission and with the support of the club, he commenced a voluntary rehabilitation program at a private health facility.

A Penrith NRL player screams out as he is hugged by a teammate after scoring a try against the Sydney Roosters.
Brent Naden after scoring a try for Penrith in round one of 2020.(AAP: Craig Golding)

The club says Naden has made positive strides since his time at the facility.

“Brent recently completed that program and continues to address his personal issues with the support of his family and Panthers staff.

“Working closely with Brent through this process, the club believes he has the capacity to overcome his personal issues and realise his potential.

“Panthers will continue to provide Brent and his family the support they need moving forward.

“In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the club, Brent, his family and manager can make no further comment at this time.”



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