The Northern Territory news Mon 15 Feb 2016
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32 SPORT MONDAY FEBRUARY 15 2016 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Sids on sideline as Kiwis struggle BRENDON McCullum is gone as a Test player and so too are New Zealands hopes in Wellington. However, Australia arent without worries of their own as they look to move within touching distance of the coveted No. 1 world ranking injury-plagued paceman Peter Siddle is again battling fitness issues. Even with Siddle off the park for the final session, Australias bowlers rallied, and when Mitchell Marsh trapped farewell man McCullum in the final over of the day, New Zealand found themselves still 206 runs from making the tourists bat again with only six wickets in hand. McCullum deserved better than to be mistakenly introduced by his brothers name Nathan in an embarrassing gaffe by the ground announcer in what is his 100th consecutive Test and second last before retirement. But unfortunately the skippers meek dismissal only reinforced why he averages just 24.59 against Australia, as he left New Zealand hanging on for dear life at 4-178 in their second dig, chasing Australias first innings total of 562. To get McCullum last over of the day, the change room is pretty happy at the moment, said Adam Voges, who was finally dismissed for 239 on day three, ending a 614-run unbeaten trot in Test cricket and bringing his average back below Sir Donald Bradman at 97.46. Despite confidence from within the Australian camp, Siddle could not be considered a certain starter for today or more alarmingly next weeks second Test, after being struck with back spasms and restricted to just eight overs. The 30-year-old was hobbling badly at certain points of the day, sparking fears of a reoccurrence of the nasty ankle injury that had him sidelined last month. CA said the back was his only problem, and medical staff would work on him overnight in an effort to get him bowling again. Australia will almost certainly canter to victory in this opening Test, but to acquire the No.1 ranking they must at least draw in Christchurch and Siddle is a vital component of an attack that, aside from the firing Josh Hazlewood, is far from settled. After being ruled out of this match, strike-weapon James Pattinson remains under a significant injury cloud of his own heading into Christchurch. Meanwhile, the man filling his boots, Jackson Bird, has struggled during this Test, and Australias other bowling BEN HORNE To get McCullum last over of the day, the change room is pretty happy at the moment option, the uncapped Chadd Sayers, also lacks pace. Despite Australias dominance in this match, the importance of Steve Smith winning the toss on the dayone green top cannot be underestimated, and with similar conditions anticipated for Christchurch, he will be relying on a fully firing bowling attack to secure the No.1 spot in Test cricket. The overwhelming positive for Australia was the worldclass spearhead ability of Hazlewood who on a tough day for bowlers won an engaging battle with New Zealands best batsman and last hope for resistance, Kane Williamson. Hazlewoods figures of 1-42 off 17 were inspirational, as was the work done by spinner Nathan Lyon who removed both Kiwi openers Martin Guptill (45) and Tom Latham (63) who had got the home side off to a positive start. There was further embarrassment for umpire Richard Illingworth too, who called another front-foot no-ball, this time on Hazlewood which cost Australia five runs. Australias Mitchell Marsh successfully appeals for the wicket of New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum on the third day of the first Test at Basin Reserve in Wellington Picture: AP New Zealands Brendon McCullum walks off the Basin Reserve as a batsman for the last time after being dismissed Picture: AP Kane Richardson talks to Redbacks physical performance manager Stephen Schwerdt at Adelaide Oval Picture: SARAH REED Richardson big loss for Redbacks SOUTH Australias summer of promise has hit another roadblock, with Territorian and fast bowler Kane Richardson sidelined for the rest of the season. The 25-year-old had last week been ruled out of the Redbacks crucial day-night Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria at Adelaide Oval starting at 2pm today after suffering back soreness during Australias one-day series in New Zealand. Scans in Melbourne revealed a hot spot and consultation between SA and Australian medicos yesterday confirmed the need for an indefinite spell, ruling him out of the Redbacks remaining four first-class matches. The investigations into Kanes injury indicate an early stage bone-stress injury, CA physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. He will need a break from playing to allow this to settle down. We have not decided how much time is required to resolve this injury but he will not play in the upcoming Sheffield Shield games for South Australia. The second-placed Redbacks are already without chief run-maker Callum Ferguson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Big Bash League. They have also lost seamer Chadd Sayers, who is part of Australias touring squad in New Zealand. A welcome bonus is the inclusion of leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who returns from his part in the Chappell-Hadlee campaign. Zampas injection forces out young spinner Tom Andrews, who impressed with four wickets on debut in last rounds loss to Queensland. Tall right-armer Nick Benton also comes into the 12, while paceman Cameron Valente was retained in the squad and could be in line to make his first-class debut. This weeks battle between SA and ladder leader Victoria could play a key role in deciding the venue for the Sheffield Shield final. If South Australia tops the ladder the final will be played at Glenelg Oval. If Victoria is first on the table the Bushrangers will play at Traeger Park in Alice Springs. SCOTT WALSH Watson in race to recover from injury before World T20 SHAUN Marsh and George Bailey could be on emergency standby for a potential lastminute World Twenty20 callup after Shane Watsons latest injury breakdown. Australia has been rocked by numerous injury blows already, but none more alarming than the latest abdominal strain suffered by arguably their best T20 player a little over a month out from the start of the tournament. Watson (pictured) recently commanded a $2 million price tag in the IPL and his all-round ability and experience in Indian conditions will be paramount to any hope Australia has of ending their drought in the World Twenty20. However, he will now faces a race against the clock to prove his fitness, with an abdominal strain picked up in the Pakistan Super League to carry an expected minimum recovery time of three wickets. If the anticipated low-grade strain turns out to be worse than first thought, Watson could be genuinely struggling to make the cut and hes now racing back home for urgent treatment from Cricket Australia medical staff. Its understood Shaun Marsh and George Bailey would be strong contenders to replace him ahead of a fellow all-rounder like Marcus Stoinis. Ive unfortunately made this video because I injured myself last night bowling, so disappointingly Im going to have to head home back to Australia to get assessed with the medical people at Cricket Australia to try and get right for the Twenty20 World Cup, Watson said via Twitter. Based on his devastating form this season for the Sydney Thunder, Islamabad and Australia, its a setback Australia simply cannot afford. The upside of Watson playing the Pakistan league in Dubai was T20 match practice in subcontinental conditions before the World Cup tournament in India. However, the risk was always going to be pushing Watsons fragile body too far in the lead-up to a major international tournament. If the 34-year-old was to be ruled out its unlikely Australia would replace him with another all-rounder with Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner (fitness pending) already in the 15-man squad alongside Glenn Maxwell. Given Watson is tipped to be used as a top three batsman, its more likely selectors would look to replace him with a Marsh or Bailey who are understood to be waiting in the wings for two of Australias other three injured players. Faulkner and Aaron Finch (hamstring) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (shoulder) are also under an injury cloud heading into the World Cup. BEN HORNE
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