Test quick Mitchell Starc roasted for lack of fire during first Test against India at Adelaide Oval

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has been criticised for lacking fire by ex-quick Mitchell Johnson. Starc was largely ineffective when opening the bowling for Australia on the fourth day of the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval. The fast bowling spearhead rarely hit top speed in a four-over spell on Sunday which Johnson says lacked … Continue reading “Test quick Mitchell Starc roasted for lack of fire during first Test against India at Adelaide Oval”

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has been criticised for lacking fire by ex-quick Mitchell Johnson.

Starc was largely ineffective when opening the bowling for Australia on the fourth day of the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval. The fast bowling spearhead rarely hit top speed in a four-over spell on Sunday which Johnson says lacked intent.

“I just don’t like his body language,” Johnson said in commentary for ABC radio.

“He hasn’t given a bit of a glare or puffed his chest out with a good follow through, let the batsman know he’s in the contest, that he’s going to rip the pegs out.”

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MATCH CENTRE: Australia v India Day 3

The GOAT gets the King0:00

Cricket: Australia’s greatest ever offspinner, Nathan Lyon, takes the prized wicket of Indian skipper Virat Kohli, late on Day 3 of the First Test.

  • December 8th 2018
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    Starc was taken out of the attack with respectable figures at the time of 1-25 from 14 overs but he failed to trouble India’s batsmen.

    When he returned for his second spell before lunch on day four, Starc was fortunate not to be called for wides when he wildly sent two balls down the leg side in successive overs which beat wicket-keeper Tim Paine and flew to the fine-leg boundary for a pair of fours.

    “That last one with the brand new ball, none for nine from two overs, but what’s not in the statistic is two lots of four byes that goes against the name, as a blemish, to Tim Paine,” former Australian captain Adam Gilchrist said in commentary for Fox Sports.

    “But Tim Paine was barely in the same postcode.”

    Shane Warne added: “Mitchell Starc strikes me as the type of guy — a bit like Glenn McGrath — the more he bowls the better he gets,” the former Australian leg-spinner said on Fox Sports.

    “He just finds that rhythm, he’s a real rhythm-type bowler and once he gets into that rhythm he’s lethal.

    “I just reckon this year he’s struggled a bit because he’s had a lot of time off.”

    He also struggled on Saturday when he didn’t bowl for more than two hours, but the Australian camp rejected any suggestions of an injury to Starc.

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    India lead at stumps on Day 30:00

    Cricket: India have opened up a handy lead of 166 against Australia in the first test at Adelaide Oval.

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      The left-armer took 2-63 from 19 overs in India’s first innings and at the end of day one detailed tweaks to his bowling action in the wake of recent injuries.

      “I have been trying a few different things with (Australian bowling coach) David Saker, looking at how I bowled in 2015 throughout that World Cup and trying to perhaps get over my front leg a bit more,” Starc said after Thursday’s play.

      “Little things have worked and hopefully the swing that I have got the last couple of weeks hangs around for the summer.

      “There’s little things I’ve tried over the last little while that have worked for little periods.

      “This one seems to be working for a bit longer … just little changes and perhaps little cues that I used to have and unknowingly went away from.”

      Originally published as Test quick Starc roasted for lack of fire

Luckless Nic Maddinson breaks wrist two days after debut century

Victorian opener Nic Maddinson is in hospital with a broken arm after being struck while batting against Western Australia in their Sheffield Shield match at the MCG.

Maddinson paid a painful price for turning his back on a Jhye Richardson short ball on Sunday’s third day.

The left-hander was in agony after the ball hit him flush on his right wrist and tea was taken early as Maddinson left the field.

The team media manager took Maddinson to nearby Epworth Hospital for scans. It was later confirmed he had a broken bone and will require surgery, which will floor him for four to six weeks.

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It means Maddinson will miss most or all of the Big Bash League season.

Victoria otherwise tightened their grip and were 0-112 at stumps in their second innings – an overall lead of 240 runs with a day left.

Travis Dean was 50no and Will Pucovski, in his first Shield match since returning from mental health issues, had made 51.

Maddinson was having a dream Shield debut for Victoria before he had to retire hurt on 10.

The NSW discard, who has also signed with the Melbourne Stars for the BBL, had top-scored in the first innings with 162.

Maddinson shatters his wrist0:00

Cricket: Victorian batsman Nic Maddinson has been struck on the wrist by Jhye Richardson at the MCG. He was forced to retire hurt.

  • December 9th 2018
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    Earlier, Victorian spinner Jon Holland rocked WA with a double blow immediately after lunch on day three.

    Holland snared the key wickets of Ashton Turner and Josh Inglis as the Warriors were dismissed in their first innings for 296.

    The left-armer finished with 5-65 from 38.3 overs, his eighth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.

    WA resumed on Sunday at 5-170 and finally won a session, reaching 6-248 at lunch after Victoria had declared their first innings on Saturday at 9-424. But Holland killed off WA’s comeback in the second and fourth overs after the break, trapping Inglis lbw for 29 and then dismissing Turner the same way for 80.

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    The tail wagged, with Richardson belting 30 before Holland had him caught-and- bowled for 30 to end the innings.

    This is Holland’s second game back for Victoria after missing the start of the Shield season because of Test duties and then a broken finger. Paceman Scott Boland also took a wicket after lunch and to end with 4-81. Turner was the only batsman to pass 50 and Test discard Mitch Marsh only managed 21.

    Originally published as Luckless Maddinson breaks wrist two days after debut century

Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson’s blunt appraisal of Phoenix loss

In the aftermath of a painful loss, it pays to be painfully honest – and Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson was bluntly to the point as to where the Sky Blues went wrong against Wellington on Saturday.

Pledging significant improvement in the derby this weekend, Wilkinson admitted that an utterly insipid display in the first half of the 3-0 defeat to the Phoenix was unacceptable from the Premiers.

It was the first time Sydney had lost consecutive home games since 2015-16, and left coach Steve Corica pledging changes in personnel to take on Western Sydney.

Wilkinson admitted his side had been second best for the whole of the first half, allowing the visitors to surge into a three-goal lead by the interval.

Alex Wilkinson of Sydney FC.Source:Getty Images

“I can't recall us conceding three goals, but it was just an extremely poor first half to be honest,” Wilkinson said. “Two long balls, we spoke about that in the week as one of their strengths because they have a lot of speed up front with Krishna and Burns. We just didn't deal with it.

“The third goal is just a cross and a decent header — they're poor, poor goals to concede and not good enough from us.

“That just compounded what was a poor first half all round. We were second to every ball, slow getting out of the blocks. If you don't turn up willing to put in 100 per cent and compete, you will get turned over.”

Sydney’s defensive unit can expect extra tuition in shape this week after being caught on the turn time and again by Wellington’s pace and movement up front.

“It was the manner in which we conceded that as a defender doesn't sit right with me,” Wilkinson said. “It's not like they scored any wonder goals, it was just one ball through the middle — twice.

“In the defensive line all together we have to be better, those goals are too simple. At Sydney FC in the past couple of years we've made it very hard for teams to score against us and very hard to break down. We have to get back.

Sydney FC press conference0:00

A-League: Watch the post game press conference as Steve Corica discusses the Round 7 clash with the Wellington Phoenix.

  • December 8th 2018
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    “It's something we need to work on and improve on, and look forward to a big game next week to bounce back.

    “The derby is a great occasion, a game we traditionally very well. So for us it's a perfect game to bounce back, with a big crowd out there supporting us.”

    Both Siem de Jong and Danny da Silva made returns from injury in the second half, and are line to start against the Wanderers as Corica looks to rejig his side.

    “We've got players back which is great, so there will be some changes next week," Corica said.

    “We can't perform like that again. Our first half performances in the last two games were not good enough.

    "The guys know that it's happened twice in a row, it needs to change a lot and it will next week.”

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    Originally published as No more Sky bloopers for FC

Kyle Chalmers intent on pursuing a code hop

Kyle Chalmers plans to quit swimming after the 2020 Olympics to pursue an AFL career.

The Olympic gold medallist says playing AFL is his dream.

“I would give absolutely everything to see if that dream would take off,” Chalmers told the Daily Telegraph.

“I know how hard it can be to be an athlete in regards to training and commitment.

“If there was a sniff I could play AFL football, I would train all day every day to see if I could get drafted.”

The 20-year-old Chalmers, whose father Brett played 75 AFL games for Port Adelaide and Adelaide, acknowledged the difficulty in swapping sports. “It would be hard for me to go from being at the top of the swimming world to potentially being a rookie on a footy list,” he said.

“There would be a big shock but I would do everything I could and give everything up to pursue that dream because it has been a dream of mine since I was small.”

Chalmers, who won 100m freestyle gold and two bronze medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, played Australian rules football as a youth before concentrating on swimming.

Matthew Dellavedova confirms he will wear No.18 in Cleveland return

Matthew Dellavedova is excited to be heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA team that gave him his break and a blue collar city that loves his hard-nosed play in pursuit of championships.

Few NBA players would be keen to be traded from the playoff-bound Milwaukee Bucks to the rebuilding Cavaliers, stripped of stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Korver in recent years and possessing the second-worst record in the league.

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Matthew Dellavedova returns to Cleveland as a cult figure in the club’s 2016 NBA title run. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The Cavs have just five wins from 25 games but Dellavedova started his NBA career at a rebuilding Cleveland and will hopefully get plenty of court time compared to the bench-warming duties he had with the Bucks this season.

“Cleveland, thanks for the love,” Dellavedova, in a tweet accompanying a picture of his old Cavs jersey, wrote in response to the largely positive online messages Cleveland fans showered on the Australian.

Cleveland, thanks for the love ❤️ let’s go!!! #18 pic.twitter.com/RUgKEP8uiM

— Matthew Dellavedova (@matthewdelly) December 8, 2018

“Let’s go!!! #18.”

Dellavedova’s Twitter photo of the jersey exemplifies the Victorian’s team-first attitude that was noted by both Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and Cavs veteran Tristan Thompson after Friday’s three-team trade between the Cavs, Bucks and Washington Wizards was announced.

Dellavedova won a championship with the Cavs in 2016 wearing the No.8, but another Cavs guard, Jordan Clarkson, now has that number.

In the Twitter photo Dellavedova added a scrappy looking number one with tape and a black texta and placed it next to the eight — signalling he will play as No.18 and won’t be demanding the “eight” jersey from Clarkson.

Dellavedova, who signed a $US38.4 million ($A53 million) four-year contract with the Bucks in 2016, described them as “great people” and thanked the team for the opportunity.

Thanks to the Bucks for the opportunity- all the best to the boys and everyone involved- great people 👍

— Matthew Dellavedova (@matthewdelly) December 8, 2018

“He was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had; a great leader,” Milwaukee’s MVP candidate Antetokounmpo told reporters.

“Even though things weren’t going as well for him, he was always positive, always tried to talk to all of the guys and keep this spirit up.”

One of the few players left on the Cavs’ championship-winning squad, Thompson was asked to recall his favourite “Delly memory”.

“How he played in our first finals; game three against Steph Curry,” Thompson, noted how the Australian stepped up in the 2015 Finals against the Golden State Warriors and was later hospitalised with exhaustion.

“He had like 21 points and then he left it out on the line and he had to get an IV after the game,” Thompson said.

Matthew Dellavedova celebrates the 2016 NBA title with Tristan Thompson. Picture: Instagram/Matthew DellavedovaSource:Instagram

“So that was a crazy, heroic Delly moment for him.

“I’m glad my Aussie brother is back.”

Thompson expects Dellavedova to push Cavs rookie point guard Collin Sexton in practice, just as the Australian did with Irving.

“He brings veteran leadership, a guy that’s won before, a guy that’s going to push Collin, control the game for the second unit and he’ll make shots and he’s good at throwing lobs at me,” Thompson said.

Originally published as ‘Aussie brother’ Delly excited for Cavs return

Report: Daniel Ricciardo’s newest love interest no longer private

Daniel Ricciardo is never one to kiss and tell but reports of his latest love life activity are linking him to a bombshell beauty who spends more time on the catwalk than behind the wheel of a car.

According to a report in the Herald Sun, the Aussie F1 star has been dating fashion model Jessica Gomes for several weeks. The pair have tried to keep their budding romance out of the spotlight but the report claims the two, both from Perth, are well and truly an item.

Ricciardo is enjoying his off-season break after a challenging year with Red Bull that saw him finish a disappointing sixth in the drivers’ championship and Gomes is helping him pass the time.

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The David Jones ambassador, who has also appeared multiple times in the world famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, is reportedly an F1 fan who participated in the 2013 celebrity challenge ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Gomes, 34, has been linked with several high-profile men in the past, including Australian rugby union star Rocky Elsom and actor Xavier Samuel.

She’s represented by IMG Models and is the founder and CEO of luxury skincare range Equal Beauty.

Gomes is stunning.Source:Matrix

Ricciardo has waved goodbye to Red Bull.Source:Getty Images

Less is known about Ricciardo’s love life because of his determination to keep his cards close to his chest but a Daily Mail report in June claimed he had been secretly dating German Annemarie Horbass while she worked for an events management company associated with Red Bull.

The two were spotted together after Ricciardo’s sensational win at the Monaco Grand Prix in May where they reportedly chilled out on a luxury yacht alongside Red Bull colleagues who were revelling in the 29-year-old’s victory.

Horbass was the first woman to be publicly linked to Ricciardo since he split from his high school sweetheart Jemma Boskovich at the start of 2016.

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Ricciardo has previously blamed his hectic Formula 1 schedule for the relationship breakdown with his longtime girlfriend who he had known since his teenage years.

That was all news for Sydney radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands in September, 2016, when he accidentally threw Ricciardo under the bus in a live interview on breakfast radio.

Ricciardo made an appearance on KIIS 1065’s Kyle and Jackie O and became trapped in an awkward conversation for a man in his newly-single situation. Sandilands said Ricciardo had been with the “same girl since he’s been at school” before the West Australian was forced to correct him.

“Ah, this is awkward,” Ricciardo responded before adding: “Next subject.”

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Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of this season and will join Renault in 2019 after signing a two-year deal with the French F1 outfit earlier this year.

It will be a massive change for the “Honey Badger”, who has spent his entire racing career in the Red Bull program.

But repeated mechanical failures and engine woes contributed to a miserable season for Ricciardo, who retired eight times. Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he was sad to lose the best overtaker in the sport.

“He’s been a pleasure to have in the team the last five years,” Horner told Motorsport.com. “He’s been with Red Bull since 2007, and it’s been great to see him grow and evolve.

“Ever since he got in a Red Bull car he’s done nothing but overtake, and arguably has become the best overtaker in the business. He’s driven some fantastic races for us.

“His personality has been a tremendous fit with the brand. His energy in the team has been hugely popular, the dynamics with him and Max (Verstappen), you’ve only got to look at the mischief that they get up to — it’s been great.”

Cronulla Sharks set to make call on Shane Flanagan’s coaching future

Cronulla insist a deal with Shane Flanagan is imminent as he prepares to become the Sharks’ longest-serving coach.

Flanagan is off-contract at the end of 2019 but his future is seen as being up in the air as the club’s salary cap investigation continues to swirl.

It’s been reported the Sharks could choose not to renew his contract if the NRL’s investigation’s findings are unfavourable and that illegal payments were made to players.

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It seems unthinkable given his standing within the club’s pantheon after helming 2016’s drought-breaking premiership win.

Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan. Picture by Damian ShawSource:News Corp Australia

He goes into 2019 having coached 185 games at the club and will in round 23 next year surpass John Lang’s (206 games) mark for most games in charge of the Sharks.

His son, playmaker Kyle Flanagan, earlier in the week signed a three-year contract extension.

And CEO Barry Russell says they intend keeping both Flanagans in the Shire for the foreseeable future.

“Again there has been speculation as to Shane Flanagan’s future,” he said in a letter to the club’s members.

“We are in discussions with a view to finalising his future as soon as possible.

“Shane is busy preparing a team and coaching through the pre-season but negotiations are ongoing and we are confident a deal will be struck and a contract signed in the very near future.”

An air of optimism at Eels0:00

NRL: Things are looking bright for Parramatta if the current pre-season is anything to go by.

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    Russell said the club had been given no indication as to when the salary cap investigation would be wrapped up.

    Originally published as Sharks set to make call on Flanagan’s coaching future

Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy signs long-term extension with Dockers

GIANT young Docker Sean Darcy has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Fremantle until at least the end of 2022.

Likened to Game of Thrones behemoth Hodor last year, the slimmed-down 20-year-old is preparing to take the No.1 ruck mantle from star veteran Aaron Sandilands.

Darcy said key to his decision was his relationship with coach Ross Lyon and teammates.

“As a group, we have a great chemistry and we are all really close,” Darcy told the club’s website.

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Fremantle big man Sean Darcy has recommitted to the club. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“It was an easy decision from my end and I am really excited for the future at Freo.

“I am close with a lot of the boys so I am loving it here.

“Ross has been unreal for me during the past two years and I’m enjoying developing with a young group.”

Darcy joins ex-GWS big man Rory Lobb and small forward Michael Walters under contract for the next four seasons at the club, exceeded by only Nat Fyfe’s monster deal (2023).

The young gun has averaged 33.7 hit outs per match in his first 15 AFL games, which is more than the likes of Aaron Sandilands, Brodie Grundy, Nic Naitanui and Max Gawn at the same point in their careers.

We might not be able to call Sean Darcy Hodor anymore.Source:Supplied

The club’s general manager of football Peter Bell said the extension “shows the confidence we have in him as a player while illustrating Sean’s confidence in the club and his desire to succeed at Fremantle.”

“It’s safe to say we’ve been spoiled by the contribution of Aaron Sandilands for almost two decades, and while we expect that to continue, having Sean sign on means we can head into the future with confidence,” Bell said.

Originally published as Docker’s lock in ‘AFL’s Hodor’

Alex Carey has Aussie skipper Tim Paine looking over his shoulder after impressive Shield century

After a breakout 12 months, Alex Carey is out to prove he’s more than just a white-ball specialist.

Carey brought up his second first-class century with an unbeaten 110 for South Australia in their Sheffield Shield clash with NSW at the SCG on Saturday.

Establishing himself in long-form cricket remains the next frontier for the former GWS Giants squad member after cementing his spot in the Australian one- day and Twenty20 sides this year.

Carey put himself on the radar of Australian selectors during the 2017-18 Big Bash League season when he stroked 443 runs – the second most of the season behind D’Arcy Short – at an average of 49.22.

He made his ODI debut in January and his first Twenty20 international appearance a month later.

Tim Paine is well and truly established as Australia’s Test skipper and keeper but at 34 it remains to be seen how many years he has left in him.

“Every time I come back and play first-class cricket I want to do well,” Carey said.

“I want to play both well with the red ball and the white ball. Whatever ball it is, runs count. If I’m away playing ODIs, then that’s the focus. If I’m back here then it’s trying to do well for South Australia.

“I’m still learning my game. I’ve only played (29 first-class games) now. I want to keep getting better now. Today it was quite controlled and in the past I’d probably get ahead of myself and play too many shots too early.”

To date, Carey’s Sheffield Shield returns have been modest and he averages 26.95 in first-class cricket.

In 2016-17 he hit 594 runs at an average of 33.00 – as well as taking 59 dismissals for the season, a record for the competition.

The following year, he managed 455 runs at 35.00.

He was absent from the Redbacks’ first four games of 2018-19 and will miss a good chunk of the second half of the Shield season due to Australian commitments.

“You’ve got to get used to it playing white-ball cricket and then coming back into red-ball cricket, just adapting to batting for a long time,” Carey said.

“With the white-ball you play on quite flat wickets and the ball’s not doing much and then playing a spinner and it reserves and just being really flexible.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a really good day to just grind it out.”

Originally published as Look out skipper! Carey making big red-ball case

Furious reaction to questionable refereeing in MMA fight

MMA fans and commentators blasted a referee for watching on as a fighter got brutally beaten at LFA 56 yesterday.

Austin Hubbard was fighting Killys Mota for the LFA lightweight title in Minnesota, America yesterday, and while he ultimately prevailed it was the manner in which he secured his win that was most disturbing to those watching.

The fight looked like it would go the distance but with 15 seconds left in the fifth and final round, referee Joe Fipp jumped in to put an end to the punishment. For many people, the official’s intervention came far too late.

As the bout entered the final minute Hubbard launched a savage assault on Mota as he pinned his opponent against the cage. Mota hit the deck but Hubbard kept his feet and hammered his cowering foe with knees, elbows and repeated punches to the head.

Mota tried to get free and found his feet but there was nowhere to hide as Hubbard continued peppering his face with his fists.

Once again the Brazilian crumpled to the floor and Hubbard’s right hand stayed busy as Mota tried desperately — but failed — to protect his head. Hubbard was given free rein to keep swinging wildly as Fipp stood by and watched the carnage.

Finally, after more than a minute of one-sided violence the referee waved the fight off. But the damage was already done.

Good grief! What a mess at the end of a stellar performance by Austin Hubbard, who overcame the odds for the title at #LFA56!@lfafighting pic.twitter.com/fH4AIo0Yfx

— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) December 8, 2018

UFC writers Ariel Helwani and Chamatkar Sandhu both slammed Flipp for his conduct in the cage.

What in the world is going on here? This is absolutely criminal behavior by the ref. Very disturbing. https://t.co/jvibHKQkbh

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 8, 2018

This referee should never be allowed inside a cage ever again. Outrageous. https://t.co/k6cQnhdLai

— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) December 8, 2018

Writing for Sherdog.com, Brian Knapp said: “Referee Joe Fipp, by most reasonable measures, could have stepped in much sooner.”

On a video of the fight posted on Twitter, lots of commenters voiced their disbelief at how the referee could possibly have let the fight go for as long as it did.

“Ref should never be allowed to officiate an MMA fight again,” one person wrote.

Another Twitter user said: “How long does it take to show the guy is done? This is disgusting.”