Proteas declare, Elgar falls cruelly short

Dean Elgar has fallen one short of a double-century but that was only minor relief for Bangladesh as South Africa declared on 3-496 at tea on day two of the first Test.

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Elgar’s career-best 199 was the anchor for South Africa to pile on the runs after being given the opportunity to bat first on a placid pitch in Potchefstroom.

Bangladesh was ruing that decision to bowl first as Elgar made a big century, Hashim Amla added 137, and opening batsman Aiden Markram made 97 on debut on the first day.

Captain Faf du Plessis (26 not out) and Temba Bavuma (31 not out) were at the crease when South Africa decided at the tea break that they had enough runs to put Bangladesh in. Du Plessis and Bavuma’s unbroken partnership was worth 51.

Bangladesh did manage two wickets in the day’s second session, their first success since Markram was run out just before tea on the first day.

Shafiul Islam had 1-74 and Mustafizur Rahman 1-98 for Bangladesh.

Elgar and Amla put on 215 for the second wicket, following on from the 196-run opening stand by Elgar and Markram.

Amla fell straight after lunch, caught at backward point. His 27th Test century took him past West Indies’ Garry Sobers on the all-time list and level with Graeme Smith for the second-most hundreds by a South African. Jacques Kallis has 45 Test centuries.

Elgar hit 15 fours and three sixes and is the leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year following his ninth career ton and fourth of 2017.

He fell agonisingly short of a maiden double century, trying to play a hook off Rahman and lobbing a catch to Mominul Haque at midwicket.

South Africa and Bangladesh will play two Tests, with the series Ottis Gibson’s first in charge of South Africa.

Long haul for Bangladesh in fightback against South Africa

Mominul Haque (28) and Tamim Iqbal, who hit a six off the final ball of the day to reach 22, were not out at stumps on Friday as Bangladesh began their reply after South Africa’s tea-time declaration on 496 for three.

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Visiting captain Mushfiqur Rahim led a spirited charge but fell on 44 from 57 balls after being caught at forward short leg off Keshav Maharaj, who had seen Dean Elgar at first slip spill two earlier chances to snag the Bangladesh skipper.

Mushfiqur’s brief spell suggested the possibility of an intriguing contest as a flat track at Senwes Park looked likely to begin offering more turn on the third day on Saturday.

Mushfiqur’s wicket followed that of openers Imrul Kayes (7) and Liton Das (25), who went early as Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel made the breakthrough for the hosts.

Elgar fell one run short of a maiden double century as South Africa battered Bangladesh’s bowlers for a second day. They were 298 for one overnight as Elgar made his highest test score and Hashim Amla completed his 27th century before lunch on Friday.

Amla became the 70,000th wicket in test cricket when he was dismissed three balls after lunch, chipping Shafiul Islam straight to Mehidy Hasan at backward point to depart for 137.

Elgar, who seemed to lose concentration as he approached his double ton, skyed a short delivery into the air to be caught by Mominul an agonising single run short of the milestone.

On the first day, Elgar saw his new opening partner Aiden Markram run out for 97, heartbreakingly short of a debut ton.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)

How Kohli is inspiring Australian comeback

With the one-day international series already lost, Australia can find inspiration from the most unlikely source: Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

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India were 4-0 down in a five-match series Australia in January 2016 when Kohli boldly declared he wanted to go home with a 4-4 result after three T20 internationals.

His team backed him up and a little more than 18 later his opposite number Steve Smith is in a similar position.

After Australia’s breakthrough win in Bangalore, they are 3-1 down and hanging on to the possibility of winning Sunday’s final ODI in Nagpur before a clean sweep of the three T20Is to finish the tour.

“I think they lost the first four one-dayers and Virat spoke about winning the last one-dayer and then the three T20s to make it four-all,” Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson said.

“If we can keep winning and get ahead of them in terms of win/loss for the tour that would be the goal.”

India experimented with their batting order and rested players as they fell 21 runs short on Thursday.

Even so, Australia garnered some much-needed confidence out of their most complete batting performance and some impressive bowling at the death.

“It’s all about momentum now heading into the T20s,” Richardson said.

“But as we know it’s quite tough over here.

“Unless you play the perfect game it’s tough to win.”

Australia finally ended an away winless streak which had stretched to 13 games with victory in Bangalore.

Richardson admitted the win had released the pressure of a losing run, which started with a 5-0 whitewash in South Africa last year.

“It’s definitely nice to win the boys who have experienced those last couple of tours,” he said.

“The 5-0 in South Africa, hearing from the boys that was quite tough.

“Now heading to Nagpur the goal is to keep winning.”

One-day cricket’s most accomplished finisher MS Dhoni couldn’t guide his team home with Richardson holding his nerve by bowling slower balls.

Dhoni chopped on to give the South Australian quick his third wicket as he came home with a wet sail to take 3-58.

“It is nerve-racking. The plan is to never put anything in his arc,” Richardson said.

Duntroon in the Dunes: The school where Australian soldiers are always armed

At the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, on the outskirts of Kabul, yellow smoke drifts lazily across the mock up village.

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Gunfire rings out, the sound of blank cartridges, as the toli – or company – of Afghan officer cadets storm compounds under the direction of their officers.

Watching on are British, Danish, New Zealander and Australian staff. This is the mission for the Australian Defence Force to train, advise and assist at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.

Australian soldiers, like Captain Gabrielle Taylor are not training the cadets; they are mentoring the officers who train the cadets.

Afghan National Army officers watch the exerciseMyles Morgan

“It’s my role to ensure the instructors are practising the most up-to-date instructional techniques, and just to hone their skills as much as we can while we’re here,” she said.

“It’s absolutely not a box ticking exercise. We know there’s a real threat out there and they’re going to face it as soon as they graduate as officers from ANAOA.”

The threats are numerous in one of the world’s most dangerous nations.

The Afghan government controls about 60 per cent of the the country. The Taliban controls about 10 per cent, mostly in the south, and the remainder is contested by radical groups like Al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and a relatively young Islamic State Korasan Province.

The nation needs ANAOA to work so the country has a capable military. The officer cadets are trained on the Sandhurst model in small infantry tactics, leadership, disciple, physical fitness and military culture.

Officer cadets training to fight in a village.Myles Morgan

The British refer to it as Sandhurst in the Sand, the Australian equivalent is Duntroon in the Dunes.  

Captain Jawad, an Afghan National Army officer at ANAOA, told SBS World News he was confident the school would turn its cadets into effective leaders for an often maligned ANA.

“Yeah, absolutely because the plan of education we are having in this academy is a high equality program and I’m sure the cadets will graduate as good officers from this academy,” he said.

His role is to discipline cadets in his toli and teach them about leadership.

“A leader is having lots of good qualities like having a good plan, being honest, to have good morals,” he said.

MORE NEWSAfghan women training alongside men 

ANAOA is trying to be as progressive as the western military mentoring. Female officer cadets have only recently been integrated into classrooms and field exercises alongside their male colleagues.

This year, the academy hopes to see its 100th female soldier graduate.

Officer Cadet Noori, from Kabul, joined the academy a few months ago.

“I came to this academy to learn something here for the sake of this country, to serve for this country and the sake of ladies as well. They should have a good life in Afghanistan,” she told SBS World News.

Afghan women have only recently been allowed to train alongside menMyles Morgan

As she is being interviewed, some male officers watch on curiously, making the occasional remark.

“We don’t have any challenges in this academy,” she said.  

“All the officers, they’re here with us like brothers, they are respecting to the ladies.”

Many of the female officer cadets hide their identities, especially around strangers, to avoid death threats and being targeted by the country’s insurgents.

Captain Taylor said there was a period of adjustment for the Afghans as they recognised she was a female officer.

“It’s something they’re not used to, but I’m sure with us having an increased presence here at ANAOA it will become more familiar to them,” she said.

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There’s also the familiar sight of armed Australian soldiers at ANAOA. No Australian mentor enters the academy without at least one armed guardian angel – ready to react at any moment to threats like an insider attack or the base coming under fire.

It’s one of the most combat-like roles in the Australian military today.

For cadets like Officer Cadet Noori, she hopes her graduation will be an inspiration for a country trying to rebuild itself after forty years of war.

“I am proud and I’m feeling honourable,” she said.

“It’s a big proud [sic] for my family as well to be an officer in the future.”

Definitely on the path to success: British Chief Mentor

The Chief Mentor at ANAOA is British Brigadier David Colthup. He’s responsible for the Academy’s 63 mentors, a mixture of British, Australian, Danish and New Zealander soldiers.

He praised the “pragmatic” approach of the Australian soldier.

“The mentors themselves bring a different perspective from our army’s way of approaching things. Not wrong, just different,” he told SBS World News.

“That’s a rich mix of experience that contributes to the mission as a whole.”

On his third deployment to Afghanistan, he said many other nations would struggle to create a similarly successful academy as the Afghans have done in five years.

“So far in its existence, it’s commissioned over 2,500 cadets and at the end of November this year, we’ll pass the 3,000 mark,” he said.

“The training works fine but we just need to make sure that, institutionally, the organisation is resilient enough to survive the knocks and bumps it will experience like any military academy does.”

He said while the British partnership with ANAOA will be enduring, it will not always be so well manned.

“For us, the measure of success is that at some point in the future we are able to reduce the amount of officer training we do.”

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Cyril’s simple AFL advice for Daniel Rioli

Cyril Rioli had a simple piece of AFL advice for cousin Daniel this week: it’s not going to be pretty.

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Hawthorn star Cyril, who will watch Saturday’s grand final on the TV from the Northern Territory, was an obvious sounding board for Richmond youngster Daniel.

“He’s played in five grand finals – I think – there’s too many to keep count,” Daniel Rioli noted on Friday.

So many of Cyril’s performances in September, including that which led to him pocketing the Norm Smith medal in 2015, have been special because of his goals or grabs.

But the small forward’s pressure acts also played a key part in the Hawks’ golden era.

“I tried to pick his brain about some things,” Daniel Rioli said of this week’s call.

“He told me: run hard, get to every contest. You can’t play perfectly on the day, just work hard. It’s going to be a high-pressure game.

“Play your own brand of footy and bring the pressure up forward that we’ve done this whole season.”

Rioli knows he will be trying to step out of an immense shadow against Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

The 20-year-old’s family history in finals is incredible: Cyril, Maurice Rioli and Michael Long have all won Norm Smith medals.

“They all play their own brand of footy. I play my own,” he said.

Daniel Rioli’s Norm Smith tip is Dustin Martin.

Rioli could be in the best-on-ground conversation if he kicks four goals, as was the case in the Tigers’ preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney.

Victory is understandably higher on his agenda.

“I remember watching it last year on telly, you get kind of jealous,” Rioli said.

“Last year wasn’t the best year … we weren’t where we wanted to be. Now we are and I can’t wait, we’ve got big things to do tomorrow.”

Rioli forecast a quiet night at coach Damien Hardwick’s household, where he lives.

“I’m going to see my family, catch up, get everything out of the way and have no stress at all,” he said.

Tigers can buck AFL history: Hardwick

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick knows history is against him.

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On the eve of Saturday’s grand final against Adelaide, Hardwick still isn’t sure if his Tigers are trend-setters or a curiosity.

Hardwick says his predominantly pint-sized team goes against the history of AFL premiership sides.

“The common theme of AFL premiership sides is the way they’re built,” Hardwick told reporters on Friday.

“You know, strong centre-half back, strong centre-half forward, key full-forward.

“But the game evolves. Whether we’re ahead of the curve, the proof will be in the pudding about 5pm (Saturday).”

When Hardwick looked at his squad list preseason, he knew he had no choice but to shun history and craft a radical forward line.

Ongoing concussion issues which sidelined ruck-forward Ben Griffiths for most of the year only confirmed it.

Hardwick didn’t have the big bullocking attackers that most premiership teams field, so he had to think small.

Richmond’s attack against the Crows will boast just one tall forward, Jack Riewoldt. The rest are fleet-footed, pressure-packed smalls.

“We have found a formula and it has worked for us,” Hardwick said.

“Yeah, we’re small. We’re young up forward.

“But these are the things that we have had for five to six weeks now and it has worked for us. So we continue to back our boys in.”

Adelaide coach Don Pyke conceded Richmond’s unusual attacking structure posed him questions – but he had the answers.

“It’s working for them, with their one tall and some other guys,” Pyke told reporters on Friday.

“They have got a number of guys who are not small necessarily, they’re medium-sized and they’re still more than capable of catching it down there.

“That has worked for Richmond and clearly that is how they’re going into the game.

“So we plan for it, we prepare for it. And we think we have got the right way to go about a, nullifying, and b, getting an advantage.”

Pyke cleared ex-basketballer Hugh Greenwood, suspected to be carrying a calf injury, to play in the premiership decider after a light training run at the MCG on Friday morning.

In contrast to Adelaide’s session held behind locked gates, the Tigers fine-tuned for their first grand final since 1982 before 5000 raucous fans at their Punt Road Oval base.

And Hardwick was bullish about his young team coping with the hype.

“The one thing about youth is they embrace whatever you throw at them,” he said.

“It’s like a young child learning to ride a bike. They fall over, they get back up and they go again.

“If you have been around for a long period of time, fear becomes a factor. Young kids don’t have that.”

Ostapenko finds busy schedule to her liking after Wuhan win

By registering her first win over the Wimbledon champion, Ostapenko moved a step closer to her third title of the year and the 20-year-old eighth seed felt that playing in back-to-back tournaments had brought out the best in her.

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“Sometimes it’s actually even better when you don’t have that much time to prepare,” she told the WTA website (wtatennis南京夜生活,) after her victory over the top seed.

“Sometimes you come so many days before, you get prepared really well for the tournament, you go out and lose first round,” she added.

“When you come from another tournament, especially I won the tournament, I’m more confident.

“I just came from there. First match I was, ‘Okay, how I’m going to do? Just my best. What happens, that happens.’ Then I won, and now I’m in the semi-final.”

Muguruza, who took a medical timeout before the final set to treat a thigh injury, said she was undone by Ostapenko’s all-out attacking game.

“I think she played very aggressively,” Muguruza said. “She had a lot of good shots, especially in the right moments I think she picked the good ones and went for it,” she added.

Ostapenko also expects a tough fight from Barty, who upset former world number one Karolina Pliskova 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(2) in another last-eight clash.

“I played against her this year in Rome,” Ostapenko said. “I think she’s a great player. Still young. Yeah, hopefully if I can show my best we’ll have a good match.”

In the other semi-final encounter on Friday, Greece’s Maria Sakkari takes on Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)

No emergency, Nankervis ready for AFL GF

This time last year, Toby Nankervis was putting on a brave face at the AFL grand final parade as an emergency for Sydney.

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Now, you can’t wipe the smile off his face as he prepares to cap a breakout season by playing in the season decider for Richmond.

The 23-year-old’s decision to request a trade from the Swans to the Tigers last year is fast proving one of the best of his life.

It was reflected in the fact he could sit back and soak up Friday’s festivities, rather than stew over how close he was in 2016.

“It’s difficult being an emergency,” Nankervis said of his grand-final experience.

“You’re involved but not really.

“But you have such a care for the group, so all you want is the best for the team.

“For the boys not to get the job done last year, it’s still pretty disappointing for me.

“It’s awesome to be in this position now; I don’t think anybody really expected it but as a team we always had this belief.”

Nankervis remains close friends with Sam Naismith, the Swans big man who edged ahead of him in a selection showdown last September.

Naismith is among many mates to have sent the Tasmanian, who played 13 AFL games in three seasons at the SCG, a congratulatory message of support this week.

“I speak to Sammy a fair bit. We spent so much time up there together in Sydney and played a lot of footy together,” Nankervis said.

“He’s a terrific mate I’ll have forever.”

Nankervis will battle Adelaide star Sam Jacobs in a pivotal ruck duel that will go a long way to deciding Saturday’s winner.

“I know I’m going to have to be at my best to compete with him,” he said.

“I’m excited more than anything, no doubt the nerves will pick up tonight and tomorrow.”

Martin given licence to thrill in AFL

Dustin Martin and James Hird in their AFL Brownlow Medal seasons essentially have had the same licence – they play wherever they want.

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The Richmond ace will be the centre of attention in Saturday’s grand final against Adelaide.

Martin is playing so well – and handling the constant attention on him with such ease – that he could make history as the first player to win the Brownlow and the Norm Smith Medal in the same season.

One of the features of Martin’s great season is that the midfield ace has gone forward more often, with lethal effect.

He has kicked a career-best 35 goals compared with last year where he only managed nine, his career-worst.

“I’d like to tell Dustin where he plays, but he just plays wherever the hell he wants,” coach Damien Hardwick said.

“No, look, he’s one of the best, he’s a great player to have as one of those pieces you can move if you need a spike in performance.

“So he will play through the midfield and also play up forward, what that split is depends on how the game is tracking at certain stages.”

It was put to Hardwick that is exactly what Hird did when they were Essendon teammates.

Hird was the joint winner of the 1996 Brownlow as a half-forward who kicked 39 goals, but basically had free rein to go wherever he could do the most damage.

Hardwick replied that Martin was not the only senior Tiger with that on-field commission.

“He is but so is the guy beside me (captain Trent Cotchin). We expect all our leaders to be like that,” he said.

“They think they can make a difference at any stage of the game by going to a certain position on the ground, that is what they do, that is what makes them great players.”

It would be a stretch to say that Martin is enjoying the spotlight this week in the wake of his Brownlow win.

But while Martin remains no fan of the media, he looked more relaxed when swamped by journalists at the start of Friday’s traditional grand final parade.

“It’s pretty amazing, a beautiful day, so I’m just going to enjoy it,” he said.

“I haven’t thought about the game all that much, just soaking it all up and enjoying it.

“I suppose everyone gets a little bit nervous, but it’s just footy – we love playing it, so just be excited for it.”

‘More than humanity’s greatest adventure’: Global effort needed for Mars mission

A manned mission to Mars has the best chance of success with global co-operation and funding, a company deeply involved in the planning says.

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Lockheed Martin has outlined its latest work in developing a Mars base camp, which will remain in orbit around the red planet and allow its crew of six to travel to and from the surface and even to the two moons of Mars to explore and conduct experiments.

But program strategist Rob Chambers says it’s likely the world’s space agencies will need to collaborate, along with the private sector, to turn the current concepts into reality.

Mr Chambers says global collaboration could also accelerate plans for a mission, potentially making it possible in about 10 years.

“That will allow us a much more rich experience as we voyage out to the moon and out to Mars,” he told reporters at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide on Friday.

“The implementation is so much easier when it’s a team sport.

“The human race is bigger than a single country and a single company because you’ve got that combined skill and will.

“In the end it has to be an ‘and’ proposition.”

We will post the full Mars Base Camp webcast soon after the presentation concludes. Check back at ~7:30 ET. for a link. #IAC2017

— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) September 28, 2017

Lockheed Martin’s bold plans involve testing its base camp concept in orbit around the moon as NASA establishes what has become known as the Deep Space Gateway.

There, the company will prove its technology before embarking on the three-year mission.

Among its latest work is the design of a Mars lander – a single-stage spacecraft designed to ferry astronauts between the orbiting base camp and the planet’s surface and also to allow exploration of its two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

Lockheed Martin says at no other time in history has there been both the know-how and the public excitement to get humans to Mars.

“Mars base camp is about more than humanity’s greatest adventure, it’s about science,” Mr Chambers said.

“Answering fundamental questions that scientists have been asking for hundreds of years.

“Where did we come from, where are we going and are we alone?”

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