Sunday Territorian 5 Nov 2017
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70 SPORT SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5 2017 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 ENGLANDS two biggest stars have failed to fire as Australian paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile struck an early psychological blow with a strong display in the two-day tour match at the WACA Ground. Coulter-Nile, captaining a baby-faced Western Australian XI, dismissed England opener Alastair Cook for a duck with just the second ball of yesterdays opening day. England captain Joe Root also failed, scoring just nine smacks me in one-day cricket, so it was nice to get him early, Coulter-Nile said of Cook. Coulter-Niles pace and bounce regularly troubled Englands batsmen. But his efforts with the ball were somewhat undone when he dropped two tough catches at slip, giving Vince a life on 41 and 63. Stoneman was also given two lives, with the WA XI dropping a host of catches throughout the day. But Englands luck didnt transfer to Root, who was given out caught behind off young paceman Aaron Hardie. Root questioned the deci sion as he walked off, wondering whether he had been given out lbw or caught. Coulter-Nile is attempting to force his way into the Australian squad for the first Test against England, starting on November 23 in Brisbane. He starred for WA with bat and ball in last weeks Sheffield Shield win over Tasmania. Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc are all ahead of Coulter-Nile in the Test pecking order. It means Coulter-Nile will JUSTIN CHADWICK CALL triple-zero and sound the alarm, the worlds best batsman has forgotten how to hold the bat. Just 19 days out from the Ashes opener and Steve Smith admits the captain is as desperate for runs as the cavalcade of nervous candidates vying for the vacant No. 6 position. Smith hasnt made a century since the fourth Test in India earlier this year, but its not a lack of runs thats concerning him. Every now and then, Smith admits that he falls victim to an one who is meant to be one of the better batters around the world. Smith confirmed on the eve of NSWs Shield clash with Western Australia that unfortunately now is one of those personal troughs. Smiths vital problem sounds totally batty unthinkable scenario: perhaps Australias most lethal runmaker since Sir Donald Bradman forgets the most basic of fundamentals. It sounds extreme, but the good news is its a problem he has successfully overcome more than once before. At times you go through patches where things dont feel right. Believe it or not I actually forget how to hold the bat sometimes, Smith said last week at his book launch. I come home and tell (partner) Dani I forgot how to hold it today. Its a bit strange for some I just need to figure out how to hold the bat again, he said at a press conference. I havent felt great for a little while now and I just need to spend some time in the middle. I had a really good hit I felt like I figured things out (in the nets) at the end so hopefully I can put that out into the middle. Smith has batted on up to half an hour after his NSW teammates the past two days not that thats unusual for Australias most fastidious figure at practice. I go through those challenges and have to overcome those things, he has said. People say I go across my stumps a long way, arent you just going to get out lbw? But Ill cop that. If I get out lbw I am actually happy. If I get out nicking outside off stump I am disappointed in myself. The good news for Australia is David Warner and Usman Khawaja were the two most impressive batsmen in the opening round of Shield. In a match where almost every player, including Smith perished, Warner was a rock. Khawaja meanwhile, scored the only ton of the round a beauty at the Gabba. BEN HORNE Englands Gary Ballance gets runs by Western Australia XI wicketkeeper Calum How on the opening day of the two-day tour match yesterday at the WACA in Perth. The tourists ended the day at 6-349 with Ballance making 51 Picture: AFP Cook and Root bomb out as Coulter-Nile pushes for call-up against what was effectively a third-string WA side. England finished the day at 6-349, with the WA XI to bat today. Opener Mark Stoneman (85), James Vince (82), Dawid Malan (56) and Gary Ballance (51) all made good runs. Malan and Ballance retired late in the day to give other batsmen a chance. But Cook and Root couldnt capitalise on the run feast. Coulter-Nile, who found the edge of Cooks bat with a pearler of a delivery, finished with 1-43 from 16 overs. It was nice. He usually need one of those pacemen to get injured or be rested if he is to earn a call-up. Tasmanian paceman Jackson Bird is vying with CoulterNile to be the preferred back-up. England decided to field 13 players in the tour match, with only Steven Finn (jarred left knee), Moeen Ali (side strain) and back-up wicketkeeper Ben Foakes missing from the 16man touring squad. The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed Finn and Moeen will also miss the second warm-up match next week in Adelaide. Test hopes take new hit UNDER-FIRE Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and opener Matt Renshaws quest for pre-Ashes runs has failed on a ball-dominated opening day of the Sheffield Shield clash between Tasmania and Queensland in Hobart. Under the eye of Australian selector Greg Chappell at Bellerive Oval, Wade was clean bowled for an unconvincing nine as the Tigers were rolled for 186 yesterday. Wade hasnt reached double figures in three Shield innings this season. Queenslander Renshaw didnt fare well either as the Bulls stumbled to 5-79 in reply, on a day where 15 wickets fell. He was caught at first slip for one off fringe Australia seamer Jackson Bird, who kept his name in selectors minds with an accurate late spell. Wade was out before the first break when he tried a big drive off Luke Feldman (2-45). Lehmann ton right on time JAKE Lehmann seized the chance to impress selectors but Ashes wicketkeeping candidate Alex Carey faltered on day one of South Australias Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria yesterday. Lehmann plundered 14 fours on the way to a quickfire 103 as the Redbacks went to stumps at the MCG at 6-291. Tom Cooper was unbeaten on 55 with Joe Mennie 10 not out after Carey threw his wicket away on 36 in the final hour. The left-hander faced 104 balls and looked well-placed to make an imposing total before he slashed at a Scott Boland delivery and was caught by Glenn Maxwell at point. It was a wasted opportunity for Carey to impress on-duty Test selector Trevor Hohns, with incumbent wicketkeeper Matthew Wade failing to reach double figures for Tasmania against Queensland. Nevill gets Smiths nod STEVE Smith says he liked what he saw from Peter Nevill yesterday as Australias former wicketkeeper pushed his cause for an Ashes recall. With national selector Mark Waugh watching closely, Nevill was patient but solid as he went to stumps unbeaten on 32 in tricky conditions on the first day of NSWs Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia at Hurstville Oval. After the Blues slumped to 6-166, Nevill supported hardhitting tailenders Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to see NSW to the close at 7-254. Nevill looked good today, Smith said. Looks like he is hitting the ball very well. Nevill hasnt played for Australia since last years Hobart debacle, when he was one of five players dropped after the Aussies were rolled for 85 by South Africa and beaten by an innings and 80 runs. Believe it or not I actually forget how to hold the bat sometimes
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