Watson adds sweep shot in bid to clean up

Clean sweep … Australia’s Shane Watson plans to add to his repertoire.SHANE WATSON has gone back to the classroom and added the sweep shot to his arsenal as he prepares for his first Test series as a specialist batsman next month in spin-friendly India.

The Test vice-captain, who returns to the state scene in a one-dayer for NSW against Western Australia at the SCG on Wednesday, has made the most of his latest injury-enforced layoff by working with his batting mentor Mark O’Neill.

The two men have worked closely in the past fortnight to help the batsman adjust for the conditions he is likely to face on the subcontinent during the four-Test series.

Chief among their priorities was to find methods to combat the turn on the spinners’ wickets and the likelihood of a reverse-swinging old ball.

”There’s no doubt that is one of the key factors to have success over there,” Watson said. He made one of his two Test centuries in India, where he averages 40 as opposed to a career mark of 37, but that was in the role of opener.

This time he will face the Indians batting at No.4 and therefore more likely to face the spinners than his preferred quicks.

Watson is not a noted sweeper but, like Ed Cowan and Phillip Hughes, has worked hard to add the shot to his repertoire in order to succeed on the subcontinent.

The stroke was a valuable part of Matthew Hayden’s armoury when he turned his career around during the fabled 2001 series against India.

O’Neill has told Watson to improve his footwork by shortening his front stride, which will allow better weight transfer and reduce the likelihood of being dismissed lbw.

”If you step to the ball and your weight stays back that’s when you have to push with your hands and your pad gets in the way,” O’Neill said.

”If you take a measured step you end up with better access to the ball. If you’re doing it properly you’re letting the ball come to you.

”He’s modified his game with little tweaks here and there which will hold him in really good stead to play.

”Most of the technical work has been done and now it’s just maintenance sessions. He’s got into a position where all he has to worry about is watching the ball and hitting the ball,” he said.

Watson said the changes were not dramatic but rather a means to simplify his game which would enable him to play long innings.

O’Neill and Watson joined forces about 12 months ago after being introduced by Australia’s fielding coach and former Test wicketkeeper Steve Rixon. O’Neill, who has coached Michael Slater and Adam Gilchrist and mentors the rejuvenated Brad Haddin, said Watson had a great work ethic. ”If anybody could see how hard Shane Watson works on his game and fitness they would be absolutely surprised,” O’Neill said. ”He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve come across from a batting perspective, he loves playing cricket and deserves every success that he has.”

Watson returned to competitive cricket last weekend for grade club Sutherland. However, the intensity will rise when he wears state colours on Wednesday.

”It was good to be able to get through the grade game with no issues,” said Watson, who could be headed back to Sutherland this weekend.

”It would have been nice to get a few more runs but in the end to get out there and spend some time in the middle was a lot of fun. I’m really looking froward to tomorrow’s match if the rain goes away.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Even Lillee would need spell these days, says Charlesworth

ONE of Australia’s most versatile elite-level coaches, Ric Charlesworth, has emphatically endorsed Australian cricket’s contentious rotation-based selection philosophy.

The inclusion of Tasmanian bowling all-rounder James Faulkner for Monday night’s Twenty20 loss to Sri Lanka took the tally of Australian representatives this summer to 33 in the 13 matches played across the three formats.

The spread of appearances exceeds last summer’s tally of 29 players in 19 matches.

In the past five years the only season in which more players were used was 2010-11, when a total of 34 were selected in 18 matches as Australia unsuccessfully sought to reclaim the Ashes and then prepared for the World Cup.

Charlesworth, a former Sheffield Shield stalwart for Western Australia who has held top-level roles in cricket – he was New Zealand’s high-performance manager from 2005 to 2007 – AFL and hockey, hailed the emergence of fast bowler Jackson Bird in the summer’s last two Tests as a tangible benefit of not relying on a clique of elite players.

”It would seem to me that the workload, the number of games played in the different formats, [requires rotation],” he said. ”I was arguing in the 1990s we needed separate teams almost, and that’s started to emerge [now].”

”People don’t really believe they can do it until they’ve done it, and unless you provide them with a lot of opportunities you don’t find that.

”Unless people get an opportunity to play you don’t really find out about their mettle.”

Charlesworth played 47 first-class matches for WA between 1972 and 1979, juggling a domestic-level cricket career with an international-level hockey career that took him to four Olympics. He played more than half his matches alongside John Inverarity, now Australia’s chief selector, and about a third with fast-bowling great Dennis Lillee.

The former opening batsman said Lillee was the fittest and hardest-working teammate he encountered during his cricket career but nevertheless predicted that ”if he had to play all the [current] different varieties of the game and field with the quality that’s expected now, that it would not be an easy task at all for him”.

As coach of the national women’s and now men’s hockey teams, Charlesworth has been an advocate of rotation, on the basis that ”if you want a sustainable performance then you need depth and flexibility”.

”The spin-off from that was many more people believing – and knowing – they could do it,” he said. ”You never picked your best team until the big series or the big competitions. That’s one of the issues cricket has to face, that every time Australia plays there’s an expectation it has to win.”

Charlesworth lamented that cricket was ”neanderthal” in some areas, such as rotation and the depth of statistical analysis, compared with sports such as baseball. He commended his former teammate Inverarity for his much-derided emphasis on ”informed player management”, the term Inverarity prefers to rotation.

”There’s a whole range of people in Australian cricket who don’t think you need a coach. Either cricket’s wrong or every other sport in the world’s wrong,” Charlesworth said. ”In baseball you manage your pitchers. In cricket you manage your fast bowlers I would’ve thought, and even the spin bowlers depending on what their loads are. To be fit for bowling you need to bowl – I have no problem with that – but how much is the issue.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

CA chief asks irate Warne to discuss complaints

SHANE, let’s talk.

That’s the message to Shane Warne from Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland, who has expressed complete faith in team performance chief and former Wallaby Pat Howard, the main target of Warne’s latest outburst.

Sutherland has invited Warne to discuss his grievances after the 43-year-old followed his graceless exit from the Big Bash League with a tirade about the contentious selection and player management systems in which he described team performance staff as ”muppets”.

Sutherland, in Canberra for the Prime Minister’s XI match against the touring West Indies team, said he had exchanged text messages with Warne on Tuesday but Warne was busy with poker commitments.

”From where I sit the team performance area is working very well from Pat Howard down and obviously we have got a team in transition,” Sutherland said. ”There is a detailed and complex plan in place to try to get the Australian team back on top as soon as possible.

”They’re working to a plan that came out of the [Argus review] … At times we need to remind ourselves about … the ambitions that were set within that and no one, least of all the people who sat on that panel, expected things to turn around overnight. And we’ve lost a couple of very senior players in the meantime.”

Warne has promised to publish a more detailed account of his views on his personal website.

Sutherland admitted it was not ideal that one of Australia’s greatest cricketers should tell the world the nation’s cricket was becoming a joke.

”It’s not ideal but Shane is entitled to express his view. Hopefully at some stage we will have a chance to sit down with him and understand a bit more about what is behind that. We’ve always had a good relationship with Shane and we know he genuinely cares about Australian cricket.

”I have exchanged messages with him today, just that we should catch up some time. That may or may not happen, that is up to him, but I value his opinion and I’m interested in his views. He will be listened to.”

Warne has been in dispute with CA since the ignominious end of his stint in the BBL, during which he was fined and suspended for one match for his part in an on-field bust-up with Marlon Samuels.

He also failed to appear at a disciplinary hearing after handing the Melbourne Stars captaincy to a teammate to avoid being rubbed out again for a slow over rate.

On Twitter, Warne said CA must look beyond rugby and get current cricket people involved in the game.

Warne, who is a close friend of Australia’s Test and one-day captain Michael Clarke, said it was ridiculous to deprive the sporting public of seeing the star batsmen in action during some of the one-day games against Sri Lanka earlier this month. Clarke had a sore hamstring.

”I think CA really need to look at the people who are making decisions on all facets of cricket in Australia, we r (sic) seriously becoming a joke!” Warne said.

”Absolute rubbish re selections, rotations, resting & farcical decisions on matches, joke. Dudding the public & too many excuses. Wake up CA.

”Can CA please put current cricket people in charge to run the game, select teams, not ex rugby or any other sports people plse, seriously

”We have the best batsmen/captain in the world in MClarke23 [Michael Clarke] – He needs current cricket people to help him out not muppets.”

Sutherland said Warne’s rant did not reflect Clarke’s views and said Howard’s rugby background did not detract from his ability to do the job. ”I can assure you I talk to and deal with Michael Clarke a lot and I have never heard anything other than positive or enthusiastic support for the role Pat is playing.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Rising trust in property

Australian-listed property is having a remarkable resurgence. Last year it was the best-performing sector of the Australian sharemarket, with a total return of almost 33 per cent compared with 20 per cent from the broader market.

That’s impressive, but cold comfort to investors who lost so much money when the listed property sector imploded during the worst of the financial crisis.

Over the past five years, the average annual return of the sector is minus 8.7 per cent.

There are three main reasons for the turnaround in listed property.

First, listed property had performed so badly that it just had to recover. Second, foreign investors have been buying our trusts because of the continuing problems in the US and Europe. Third, Australian investors continue to chase yield on the sharemarket as interest rates fall.

The reason that listed property had fallen so heavily – it dropped 54 per cent during 2008 alone – had nothing to do with the underlying properties held by the trusts. It was the complex corporate structures of many of the trusts. They had funded forays into overseas property by borrowing. They changed their spots from being mostly about rent collecting to increasing exposure to riskier ventures such as property development. During the GFC and the credit crunch, rolling over their debts became more expensive and the market marked down trusts with complex and debt-laden balance sheets.

The trusts, which are known as Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REITs), have produced a steady income of about 6 per cent for each of the past three years – not bad with a cash rate at 3 per cent.

They have also cleaned up their balance sheets and been more careful about their development and construction activities.

But the trusts are not going to return to what they once were. That does not make them bad investments; sensible property development can add a lot of value. But they are riskier investments than they were in the 1990s, so caution is needed.

In fact, the trusts have proved so popular with investors over the past year that the market capitalisations of some companies are higher than their asset backing.

The high Australian dollar is also acting as a drag on the economy, and tenant demand for commercial property is not particularly strong.

However, rental leases typically run for six to seven years, which should make the 6 per cent income from the trusts fairly secure.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Market promises to party on

‘As January goes, so goes the year’ is a well-known maxim of the market. It’s up there with ”Sell in May and go away”, or ”Never trust a broker”.

Known as the January barometer, there’s no rational explanation for it, which could be said for a lot of things about the sharemarket, come to that. I mention it only because it works.

And so the first week of January tells you all you need to know about the market’s direction. Put down your glasses because 2013 will be a doozy.

A more reflective version takes the experience of another three weeks to give it slightly more street cred, statistically speaking.

So using January 31, then barring some shock in the next two days, all seems safe there, too.

Mind you, January is easily the best month most years, which probably has a lot to do with so many enjoying, or just returning from, holidays.

Still, the January barometer has a 70 per cent success rate, well above the 50 per cent hurdle of being a fluke, according to the chief economist at AMP Capital, Shane Oliver.

So it would seem pretty safe to say this will be a good year for the sharemarket, especially as interest rates fall.

But has anybody informed the Australian dollar?

As it is, the sharemarket climbed 12 per cent in 2012 in real terms, well above the annual average going back more than 100 years, showing it must be confident of better-than-average growth in profits this year.

Then again, when central banks around the world are creating money, and lending it to banks for next to nothing, why wouldn’t the market go along for the ride?

Besides, it can be hard to tell just where Wall Street ends and other markets begin.

It’s certainly perky. The Federal Reserve Board is the prime culprit in printing money, which has dragged down the US dollar, helped to produce a run of rising profits for American multinationals, and pole-vaulted our dollar over parity.

Perhaps Wall Street is too perky. The VIX volatility index, a measure of market nerves, is the lowest since the global financial system cracked.

Amazingly, some analysts consider this bearish. They argue a bit of fear is good for the market in the way that a shock of adrenalin keeps you on your toes.

Beyond the decreasing likelihood of a European implosion, things are also definitely looking up for our two biggest trading partners.

China grew at an annual rate of 7.9 per cent in the December quarter, a feat even more impressive than how it collects and adds everything up in just 17 days – it’d be more like weeks here in Australia.

Guess with all those people they can count faster.

And the new Japanese prime minister is determined that Japan will come out of its 20-year funk.

There’s just one little thing: the Australian dollar is squeezing profits and putting a lid on growth.

So for the January effect to survive the year, you can take it that the dollar will soon be heading the other way.

Twitter @moneypotts

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Dig for detail to stay safe

Downing tools? When Virgin Money introduced a new income-protection policy recently, it was astounded at the interest in an extra that offered cover for people unexpectedly losing their jobs.

”We were absolutely flabbergasted at the uptake of the unemployment cover,” the acting managing director of Virgin Money, David Curneen, says.

People were ticking the box on the unemployment option in more than half the income-protection policies it was selling. Curneen believes the global financial crisis, along with general negativity about the Australian economy in the media, combined to make people feel more vulnerable.

Virgin’s unemployment option pays as much as $3000 a month for up to three months if you’re made redundant or, if self-employed, your business is declared insolvent.

However, you qualify for a payout only after the policy has been in force for six months, and you have to be out of work for longer than 28 days.

You also need to have been continuously employed for the six months before you lost your job, and to have been working more than 20 hours a week.

To receive the payment, you have to be ”entirely without gainful employment” and actively seeking work – so if you take on even a small amount of casual or part-time work to make ends meet, you’ll no longer qualify.

Crucially, the terms state that you have to have been made redundant or dismissed from employment ”through no fault or choice of [your] own, but solely because an employer has unexpectedly terminated … employment”. Unemployment caused by poor job performance, loss of qualification or licence, seasonal employment or a contract ending isn’t covered.

Industry researcher Mark Kachor, of DEXX&R, says the concern with these types of clauses in any such policy is when they might be invoked and what sort of evidence you might need to produce to prove that work performance wasn’t an issue.

”It has to be clear and unequivocal,” Kachor says of redundancy. A business going broke with all jobs lost would be clear cut, but the loss of only some jobs in a company less so.

And in any case, Australian labour laws mean everyone is entitled to a minimum entitlement based on years of service, he says.

”I’m not saying [$9000] wouldn’t help, but you’re already going to get a lump sum … so is that the most important thing to be paying a premium for?”

Some people mistakenly assume that income protection means your income is protected whatever the reason you lose it – illness, injury or job loss.

However, Australian law says unemployment cover can be offered only by general insurers, not life insurers, even though it’s life insurers that provide income protection.

That’s why, for instance, in the Virgin Money product the income protection is provided by life insurer TAL Life, and the unemployment cover by general insurer ACE Insurance.

The head of product at MLC Insurance, Meredith Barnes, says people need to understand there’s a key difference between life insurance and general insurance products.

Life insurance products are ”guaranteed renewable”, so once a policy is purchased, the only reason it can be cancelled is non-payment. That doesn’t apply in general insurance, so the insurer could decide at any time to end the cover.

”If unemployment went to 30 per cent and a [general] insurer decided they didn’t want to cover redundancy any more, they could scrap policies already in place,” Barnes says.

Instead, life insurers provide other benefits to people worried about their job security, such as a waiver of insurance premiums or the funding of loan or credit repayments for a period.

”If customers take our premium waiver option, if they were disabled or unemployed we’d fund the insurance premium so they’re still covered – the policy wouldn’t lapse,” Barnes says of MLC’s premium waiver.

The waiver lasts up to a year, and about 15 per cent of customers take up this extra.

Insurance broker Paul Davies, of Jarickson Insurance Advisers, says not many insurers offer specific redundancy policies, and the cover tends to be expensive.

Look for helpful benefits that might be included in your income-protection policy. CommInsure, for instance, has a built-in benefit that covers up to three months’ repayments on a loan if you’re made redundant – provided the loan is with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

ANZ-owned OnePath also has a built-in benefit that pays the minimum repayments on ANZ loans, up to a cap of $5000 a month, for three months.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Boom time for bling

Some segments of the auction scene have collapsed in the past decade, but sales of fine jewellery are thriving.

Sotheby’s Australia held four stand-alone auctions of what they called important jewels in 2012, with a combined sale total of $4,707,852. (All figures include buyer’s premium.)

The best single result for the year was for a diamond ring sold for $222,000 in September.

At the most recent sale, in Sydney on December 4, Sotheby’s achieved results of $1,454,460. This was three-quarters of the volume and value sought. A highlight was a pair of diamond earrings, sold for $168,000.

”We continue to see strong demand for quality gemstones and designer jewels,” says the chairman of Sotheby’s Australia, Geoffrey Smith, who introduced specialist sales of jewellery a few years ago. Previously this market existed mainly as a subsection of decorative arts.

While Smith thinks there could be an investment factor driving the boom, he says emotions are the main reason.

”Jewels are so personal,” he says, noting that most of the items sold are destined to be worn, not stored in a safe.

”If people see an opportunity to purchase a quality piece, they will – but you must always add the emotional component.”

Sotheby’s plans to stage three specialist auctions this year, plus a private sale and exhibition next month (details are below).

Demand is now greater than the supply of high-quality product.

”Jewels are an international currency,” Smith says. ”When we consign – especially diamonds – we have interest from trade and collectors around the world. These days, it’s a global market, especially for the known brands.”

Traditional brands – such as Harry Winston, Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef & Arpels – are making a comeback on the secondary market because of the quality of the materials.

But there are some new players. In December, a significant collection of contemporary pearl jewellery by Australian company Paspaley performed well through Sotheby’s, with all items sold after some competitive bidding.

A highlight was the South Sea pearl, opal and diamond necklace that sold for $42,000, well above estimates of $10,000 to $15,000.

While classic jewellery from the 1950s and ’60s always does well, so does 1980s Bulgari. Anything featuring pink and yellow diamonds is desirable.

Leonard Joel also holds stand-alone jewellery auctions, with an emphasis on affordable or entry-level items, priced from $1000 to $5000. These sales have attracted a new generation of buyers in their 30s looking for something funky and exotic – such as black diamonds.

Leonard Joel specialist John D’Agata had a range of these for sale at his June 2012 auction in Melbourne. He says the popularity of this colour of diamond is based on the television and film series Sex and the City, in which the lead character, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), is given a black diamond engagement ring by ”Mr Big”, making them a cult fashion statement.

Smith has also noticed a younger demographic turning up at his auctions, including grandchildren brought in by their grandparents to look around on viewing days, or young couples choosing auctions to pick up a distinctive engagement ring.

Sotheby’s encourages clients to try on jewellery before they make bids. This is all part of the important emotional response.

Men are also involved in the jewellery scene. Watches and cuff links are usually included at these auctions.

To start the year, Sotheby’s Australia is staging the Age of Elegance exhibition and private sale from Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17 (Melbourne) and Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24 (Sydney).

This is the first private sale of jewels – not an auction – staged by the company. As well as items for sale, there will be a display of historic pieces from a private collection, including Madonna’s wedding tiara and Clark Gable’s cigarette lighter.

See sothebysaustralia杭州夜网m.au for further details.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Doomed to rent forever

My situation is that a very long time ago I went for a National Australia Bank dividend reinvestment scheme for a couple of years or so. The dividends, of course, came six-monthly, but NAB did not issue scrip certificates until 100 shares had been issued. So, as you can imagine, everything was at sixes and sevens and I cancelled the dividend reinvestment after not very long, before it drove me mad. Then, after I thought I had got that monkey off my back, they actually paid a scrip dividend! I keep good records but some day my unfortunate children will have to deal with this, and two of the three know absolutely nothing about dealing with shares, so I would appreciate your help.

It is not nearly as complex as it used to be, because indexation for inflation is no longer relevant. Therefore, any shares you own are simply split between those bought before September 1985 and those bought after that date. As a result, you only need a record of what they cost and this is very easily kept by your accountant. Also, the share registries these days keep very good records.

I am 63 and my wife is 18 months younger than me. I recently received advice designed to maximise my age pension entitlement during the 18 months in which my wife will not be eligible to receive the pension. The advice is twofold: 1; to withdraw the majority of the funds in my account-based pension and transfer it into my wife’s superannuation in order to reduce the value of the assets declared to Centrelink; and 2; take the minimum amount from my account-based pension as a pension and take additional amounts as a lump sum. This is to reduce the income that I need to declare to Centrelink. Is this sound advice?

This sounds basically correct to me. Money in superannuation is not counted until the owner reaches pensionable age, so any money held in your wife’s superannuation account will not be assessed by Centrelink until she reaches pensionable age. Income streams from superannuation are assessed under a complex formula that takes into account your life expectancy. Your adviser will be able to do the sums for you.

I am 57, retrenched, with no job. I live in a house worth $400,000 and have a unit worth $500,000, which provides weekly income of $450. I have no debts but I am struggling with rates and body corp etc. What is my best strategy option to maximise my income now, and when I’ve turned 60?

You have highlighted the problems that can occur when all your investment funds are tied up in an illiquid asset. This would not be a problem if all your money were in shares, because you could sell them bit by bit as needed. Unless you can find some work, your only realistic option is to sell the investment property and then seek advice about putting the funds into a diversified portfolio, which would provide both income and growth.

I am a single-income earner with savings of almost $200,000. I have been putting money into term-deposit and high-interest accounts. My current income is $60,000, including super. During tax time, I have to always pay back due to interest earned on savings. Every quarter I also make pay-as-you-go payments. Is there an efficient way that I could minimise tax?

You really need to take advice because a range of options is available to you. Depending on your age, you could put a chunk of your money into super, or you could invest in Australian shares paying franked dividends, which would be tax-free for a person in your tax bracket, or you could talk to your employer about salary sacrifice. Every strategy has advantages and disadvantages and you will need to ensure you understand what they are.

My girlfriend and I are young (26 and 30, respectively), have a healthy income, a small amount of shares, and we can save quickly and easily. Given the high mortgage interest costs, with little principal repaid within five years, we are considering renting forever and investing in the sharemarket instead. Are we doomed if we never get into property, as advised by friends and family?

In most cases it’s cheaper to rent than to own, but this does not work well for most Australians, as they never get around to saving the difference. In Australia there is a mindset that property is the only way to go, and this is why you will be bombarded with advice to buy, coming from those around you. You sound like highly disciplined people and will probably do very well by renting and investing, as opposed to buying a home and paying off the mortgage. However, it would be wise to watch the property market carefully, and buy if and when you see a boom coming.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Email: [email protected]杭州夜网m.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Guest of honour Ricky misses the runs party

Ricky Ponting was the main attraction for the Prime Minister’s XI, but cagey West Indian spinner Sunil Narine spoilt the party for the retired great in his international swansong.

Ponting walked on to Manuka Oval to a standing ovation, only to make the return journey just 15 runs later, much to the disappointment of the strong Canberra crowd.

The former Australian captain had looked capable of feasting on a batsman-friendly pitch until Narine snuck one through his defences as the PM’s XI held on for a 23-run victory.

“Today wasn’t about me, it was about some of the younger guys,’’ Ponting said.

“I was confident we could win the game and it was good to see most of those younger guys that batted at the top of the order get some runs.’’

“Just the experience the younger guys would’ve gained from a game like today would’ve been great for them.’’While the PM’s XI largely had its  way with the West Indian bowling attack, carving out an imposing 333 from its  50 overs, Ponting’s quick innings was an anomaly.

From the moment Usman Khawaja skied a Kieron Pollard delivery to the heavens, all attention turned to Ponting’s arrival.

The leading run scorer in Australian Test history, who called time on his superb career at the conclusion of the Perth Test against South Africa in December, was surrounded by photographers as he made his way to the wicket.

He appeared in supreme touch early in the innings, carrying on his impressive form from the Big Bash League with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Ponting was prepared to play his way in, not taking any excessive risks and knocking the ball around into the outfield.

That was until he heaved a Dwayne Bravo delivery over the mid-wicket fence with a trademark pull shot, showing a glimpse of the raw power displayed in his match-winning century in the 2003 World Cup final.

Just as he was about to get going, Ponting rocked back to a quicker arm ball from Narine, which zipped along the surface and crashed into the stumps.

A noticeable sigh of disappointment was felt around the ground as Ponting made his exit  – to a standing ovation, the second for the day – in honour of his fantastic contribution to Australian cricket.

It was only fitting he shared the crease with Alex Doolan, the fellow Tasmanian he has endorsed to follow in his footsteps into the Australian Test team.

Doolan has been pencilled in as a five-day specialist, but showed he should also be considered in the shorter forms of the game with an eye-catching display.

He was in complete control of the quality bowling attack, accumulating runs with ease and hitting the power button when required.

Only a sensational mid-air catch from Johnson Charles ended his day on 87 from 98 balls.

Another Test contender, Khawaja, pushed his case for a recall to the ODI team with a well-made 69, while unheralded ACT Comets captain Jono Dean made a statement at the top of the order with a dynamic 51 from 40 balls.

However, this was still Ponting’s day.

While it wasn’t the fairytale century fans would have loved to have seen him score, they gave the former Australian skipper the send-off he richly deserved.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Needing 8 hours a night may be a dream

SLAVISH adherents to the eight-hours-a-night sleep rule can relax. Research suggests we all have our own sleep patterns that change according to how much shut-eye we get.

For the first time a team from the University of Sydney has tracked people’s nightly patterns and found sleep naturally increases and decreases throughout a week.

“The body seems to have a way of adjusting the amount of sleep we require,” said the study leader, Chin Moi Chow. ”If you incur a sleep debt, your body will signal a need to catch up on extra sleep.”

Her study found each person had a different sleep cycle, with some taking only a couple of days to catch up, and others taking up to 18 days.

Unlike some previous research, she did not find the participants made up for lost sleep on the weekend. Rather, the 13 young men, whose sleep was measured over a two-week period using a device worn on their arms, made up the sleep at different times, getting up to two hours more sleep on some nights than others.

This suggested the timing of individual cycles was intrinsic, rather than something each person chose, she wrote in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.

The president of the Australasian Sleep Association, Shantha Rajaratnam, said the study suggested the body had a mechanism for dealing with the amount of sleep we had.

“Over time, it is like you are withdrawing money from the bank, you build up a debt, but eventually you have to pay back that debt. And after that you can start withdrawing again,” he said.

But he said it would be “dangerous” for people to assume they no longer needed eight hours’ sleep each night.

“Different people need different amounts of sleep but people are not very good at judging the amount of sleep they actually need,” he said. “People who think they can get by with very short amounts of sleep tend to compensate for their tiredness by using things like coffee, for example, to keep them alert”.

Dr Chow hopes to repeat the research in a larger group, and analyse whether individual patterns match problems linked to sleep deprivation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.