Sunday Territorian 24 Aug 2014
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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58 SPORT SUNDAY AUGUST 24 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Hughes steps up to top job against Zimbabwe IN-FORM left-hander Phil Hughes is set to be catapulted to the top of the Australian one-day batting order should captain Michael Clarke spend time on the sidelines with a hamstring problem. Coach Darren Lehmann declared Hughes to be in the form of his career and up to the task in the tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa starting tomorrow after smashing two double centuries and an unbeaten ton for Australia A over the past six weeks. Hughes was originally left out of the 14-man squad for the round robin series staged in Harare, but was included as a late replacement for the injured Shane Watson. Now a second fitness setback for a high-profile star is likely to give the enigmatic run-scorer a golden chance to impress selectors ahead of next Februarys one-day World Cup. Clarke resumed light training duties yesterday after breaking down in the warm-up of the teams first session in Harare on Friday, but its doubtful he would be rushed back for tomorrows opener against Zimbabwe, with Australia facing a hectic schedule for the coming 12 months. Lehmann said the 25-yearold would open the batting for Australia should Clarke not pull through. You would probably look at Hughes coming in, and hes in the form of his career, said Lehmann. So that probably makes him open if he comes into the side, I would think. (Hughes) has been in great form on that A tour and we want to get him back in the side because we rate him really highly. If he wasnt (coming in for Clarke) then we would probably go with (Brad) Haddin to open. Hughes, who hasnt played Test or one-day international cricket since 2013, is expected to open the batting against Zimbabwe alongside Victorian power-hitter Aaron Finch. Hughes has been a prolific run-scorer at first-class and domestic 50-over level, however after numerous incarnations in the Test side, he is yet to cement his place on the international scene. But his dominant batting performances against touring India and South Africa A sides in Darwin and Townsville over July and August have offered him fresh hope in both formats. Australian medical staff are hopeful Clarkes left hamstring tweak isnt serious, and the man himself who has a history of chronic back trouble said on Saturday he was feeling much better. Its a little setback for us but it gives someone else an opportunity if he doesnt come up, said Lehmann. Weve just got to make sure that when he gets back, whether its Monday for the game or whenever it may be, that hes ready to go. Australian batsman Phil Hughes will open the batting against Zimbabwe tomorrow if Michael Clarkes injury woes persist Picture: PETER WALLIA By BEN HORNE CRICKET ... we want to get him back in the side because we rate him really highly ZIMBABWE spinner Prosper Utseya has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action and must undergo tests within 21 days, the International Cricket Council said. Utseya was reported by match officials during Zimbabwes third one-day international against South Africa in Bulawayo on Thursday, the ICC said in a statement. He is the fourth offspin bowler in the last two months to be scrutinised over his action. Pakistans Saeed Ajmal will also undergo tests after being reported during a test series against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealands Kane Williamson were both banned from bowling last month after tests concluded they had illegal actions. Bowlers are not allowed to bend their arms past a certain point in cricket to ensure they arent throwing. The ICC said concerns were raised over offspinner Utseyas faster delivery in Zimbabwes loss to South Africa in the final ODI. The match officials report has been handed to Zimbabwes team manager. Utseya is allowed to continue bowling in internationals pending the results of tests. The 29-year-old Utseya is Zimbabwes second highest alltime wicket-taker in one-day internationals with 123 wickets in 156 games. He is an experienced one-day player and was likely to appear in the upcoming triangular series against Australia and South Africa next week in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, spinner Sunil Narine triggered an avalanche of batsmen as Bangladesh crashed to a 177-run defeat allowing West Indies to take 2-0 lead in their three-match One Day International (ODI) series at the National Stadium in St Georges, Grenada. Narine struck twice in two balls to spark a batting collapse as Bangladesh, precariously placed on 57 for three, were shot out for a disappointing 70 in 24.4 overs, their third lowest ODI total on Friday. ICC investigates as spinner Utseya is called for chucking Three to do battle in Premier final round THERE will be plenty at stake when the final round of twoday action in the Darwin Premier Grade resumes next weekend. Waratah, Darwin and reigning premiers PINT can still claim the minor premiership, while Nightcliff and Tracy Village are capable of denying Southern Districts a spot in the final four. After their loss at the hands of southern Districts on first innings last weekend, PINT struck back against Palmerston at Marrara yesterday. PINT, sitting third on the ladder, won the toss and elected to bowl first against bottom-placed Palmerston. The gamble paid-off with Palmerston failing to make an impact with the bat to be dismissed for 103 runs. PINT pace bowler Jeremy Kuru (5-41) was the chief-destroyer and it could have been worse for Palmerston had their opponents not conceded 34 sundries. The day failed to improve for Palmerston as PINT ended the day at 1-266 with Nick Berry unbeaten on 115. Berry was supported by Cameron Francis (67) and Greg Clarence (54no), and it appears PINT are en route to an outright win. PINT can still claim the minor premiership, but only if they get maximum points against Palmerston and if Darwin overcomes Waratah. Waratahs grip on first place is looking good after making 354 against second-placed Darwin at Gardens Oval. Richard Lane (96) was the hero for Waratah, while Steve Taylor (68) and Donovan Deeble (54) kept the scorers busy. Ben Reichstein (4-57) and Troy Ryan (2-49) did everything in their power to nullify Waratahs, but come next week Darwin need to score at four runs per over to seal what would be a first innings victory. Darwins hopes yesterday were soured by poor fielding with up to half a dozen catches going to ground. Meanwhile at Nightcliff, 22 wickets fell with Tracy Village already claiming first innings points against the home team. The visitors batted first and made 142 with Stuart Conway (37) and Jason McKay (31) top scoring. James Dick and Udara Weerasinghe claimed three wickets each for Nightcliff, who were bundled out for 132. Weerasinghe (59) and Dean Thiesfield (22) did their best, however their teammates found it tough going against opposing trio Ryan Parker (4-36), Chris Campbell (3-23) and Angus Webster (3-55). Batting a second time, Tracy Village are 2-35 and if either side has any thoughts of making the finals then an outright result is essential. Ladder: Waratah 76.55, Darwin 69.94, PINT 65.14, Southern Districts 63.81, Nightcliff 51.39, Tracy Village 48.11, Palmerston 41.53.
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