‘You guys never do your jobs’: Aussie outburst in Open loss

Jordan Thompson’s frustration boiled over when the Australian called out the chair umpire and suffered another first-round defeat and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis was let down by his “shambles” of a body as he also lost at the Australian Open.

Thompson, 23, was beaten 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 by Argentinian Nicolas Kicker and was so frustrated by a decision in the final set that he exchanged words with Russian chair umpire Anastasia Kosheleva.

Leading 2-0 in the final set, Thompson was livid when Kosheleva opted to replay a point when he was on the cusp of another break of serve. Hawk-Eye showed the ball caught most of the line and, while Kicker had netted the ball, Kosheleva ordered the point be replayed.

“You guys never do your jobs, never. Tell me he was going to make the ball, tell me that. I’m going to get reviewed for turning up late. You should get reviewed for that,” Thompson bellowed at the change of ends.

The Sydneysider was still frustrated by the incident more than an hour after the game.

“I thought it was a turning point. He was up game point, certainly didn’t help,” he said.

“The way I saw it was that even he gave up on that ball. He had no intention of making it – he thought it was going out too, I reckon. I am pretty sure the call was late and he didn’t even make the ball and we had to replay the point. Of course, it is frustrating.”

Thompson struggled as the set unfolded, and was unable to convert six break points in the eighth game. The third-ranked local hope lamented that he “didn’t get to take my chances”.

Despite showing tremendous fight to rebound after losing the opening two sets, he would have his third first-round exit of the summer, having also been tipped out of the Brisbane International and Sydney International.

“It was well below par the way I played in the first two sets. It was pretty disappointing and extremely frustrating,” Thompson said.

“I always try to the end. I started to get back into the match. I can be proud of my efforts but it just wasn’t good enough.”

Kokkinakis did well to battle his cramping and sore body, which he described as a “shambles”, but it wasn’t enough to forge a berth in the second round.

Russian Daniil Medvedev is known for his temper tantrums on court but retained his cool during a hot evening to dispose of the Australian 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.

The 84th-ranked Medvedev landed his maiden ATP title by claiming the Sydney International crown last week. His greater fitness would prove crucial.

He dominated the first set, helped by his opponent too often finding the net or blasting too long.

Kokkinakis regrouped in the second set and held his nerve to force a tie-break. He took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, which tightened to 5-4 when he dropped both serves. However, he continued to fight and would even the match at one set apiece before his body began to wane.

There would be cramp in a calf in the third set, which raised questions as to whether he would have to retire. He also required treatment on his right shoulder at a change of ends when behind 1-2 on serve. He took an injury time out and had the shoulder massaged, revealing to the chair umpire that his whole body was a “shambles”.

He also appeared to cramp in the left arm when serving in the fourth game of the set but he refused to concede. This set would also go to a tie-break, with Medvedev prevailing on his fourth set point in a 75-minute epic.

The South Australian dropped serve early in the fourth set and his frustration rose when he could not return fire, receiving a code violation when he squandered a pair of break-back points and smashed his racquet.

In the pivotal 10th game, Kokkinakis claimed the opening point but Medvedev would secure the win with an ace.

While Kokkinakis would have been disappointed with the result, his will to win could not be questioned. He spent the first half of last year sidelined with a shoulder injury, meaning he still has much work to do to regain match fitness.

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Why Woolies boss is looking at start-ups to never run low on bread again

Technology is revolutionising the way supermarkets do business but Australian shoppers aren’t yet ready to embrace some of the futuristic innovations retailers are trialling, Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci says.

“Technology has become crucial to the future of retail – this is the key for us,” Mr Banducci told Fairfax Media on the sidelines of the National Retailers Federation’s annual expo in New York City.

Mr Banducci was scouring the expo on Tuesday looking for the latest innovations from tech giants and start-ups that could be used in Woolworths’ almost 1000 stores.

Among those that caught his eye was a new barcode scanning technology from software company Digimarc which embeds a code that is imperceptible to the human eye into a product’s packaging design, meaning any part of the item can be scanned at checkout.

The technology has been used by US supermarket Wegmans on its entire range of home-brand products, and Digimarc says it speeds up checkout scanning times by 30 per cent.

“We know our shoppers will let us use their data to help them have a better shopping experience, but we’ve got to be very cautious,” Mr Banducci said.

Several exhibitors at the conference are pitching software that uses cameras and image recognition software to monitor product levels on shelves.

“If you want to upset a customer, don’t have bread,” Mr Banducci said, adding that technology that alerts store managers whenever stock was low was a “fantastic” tool.

Similar technology was being used to check the accuracy of online orders before they are collected or shipped, and to monitor supply chains.

Mr Banducci said he spotted a couple of other attractive technologies that “we’d rather keep to ourselves”.

Some of the most significant advances in the way supermarkets operate have happened recently in China, where some shoppers do not ever encounter a staff member or checkout.

Some Suning and Alibaba stores use facial recognition software to identify customers and automatically charge their bank accounts for the products, which are tagged with sensors, they walk out with.

Mr Banducci said Woolworths could be doing similar things if it wanted to, but had to tread carefully around customers’ privacy concerns and privacy laws.

“I don’t know if the Australian consumer is ready for it. Maybe the next generation will be,” he said.

“We know our shoppers will let us use their data to help them have a better shopping experience, but we’ve got to be very cautious.”

Woolworths recently introduced a suite of digital innovations at its Marrickville Metro store, including installing touch screens to tell bakery staff what they needed to bake and when, and enabling an in-store product finder in its app.

“We’re doing a lot of learning and proof of concepts in that store before we take it to further roll-out or further enhancements,” said Fay Ilhan, Woolworths’ head of e-commerce sales and digital innovations.

Those changes were driven by the company’s new division WooliesX, which was formed last year and brought together its digital, e-commerce, customer loyalty and customer services teams in an effort to drive innovation at the 93-year-old supermarket.

“There is as much opportunity to digitise the back of house as the front of the shop: how you sign in contractors, how you figure out how many chickens to cook – there’s amazing opportunities,” Mr Banducci said.

The reporter attended NRF as a guest of Microsoft.

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Crinkling News to stop publication eight months after raising $210,000

Editor of the children’s newspaper “Crinkling”, Saffron Howden at the launch at The Australian museum. Photo Nick Moir 20 april 2016Eight months after being thrown a lifeline of more than $210,000, children’s newspaper Crinkling News is no more.

The newspaper’s founders, Saffron Howden and Remi Bianchi, issued a statement on Tuesday night to its loyal readers, subscribers and supporters that the publication will need “a much bigger business, government or philanthropy to take all the amazing things we have done together and keep the momentum going”.

“We made every cent stretch as far as it possibly could,” they wrote.

“But we are very sorry to say we cannot keep publishing the newspaper with the resources we have.”

Crinkling News is written by adults but children write opinion pieces, reviews and act as junior reporters.

The Sydney-based newspaper raised $212,300 through a crowdfunding platform in May 2017. Ms Howden had said that money would go towards making the weekly publication self-sustaining.

But the crowdfunding platform and payment processing system cost the newspaper almost $20,000 while a further $53,000 “went to servicing new subscriptions to the newspaper and perks that people claimed as part of their crowdfunding contribution”.

“So $139,692.85 was left as new funds to invest in the continuation and growth of Crinkling News,” they wrote.

“That money allowed us to cover news for kids for a further eight months, launch Australia’s inaugural media literacy conference for young people, do the first research into how kids and teens get their news across the nation, and more.

“We do not believe there is anyone who could have achieved more with the funds available or made them stretch any further in this market and environment and maintain the high standards for which Crinkling News is known.

“The funds were not raised in vain.”

Subscribers will no longer receive their weekly copy but are eligible for a refund on the remainder of their subscription.

“Two years ago, we left our careers in journalism for grown-ups and put all our personal savings into launching Australia’s only national newspaper for kids,” the founders wrote.

“We thought it was about time young people had their own quality newspaper, especially at a time when information comes from so many different places and it’s not always clear who’s producing it or why.

“We strived for excellence and integrity and you inspired us to keep going and do even better. You proved the need and worth of Crinkling News.”

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Cricket NSW director reported for allegedly hitting opponent

A Cricket NSW board member has been reported after allegedly hitting an opponent during a Sydney second-grade game on the weekend. Prominent Sydney business identity Danny Bhandari is under investigation over an incident that occurred in a match between his team, University of NSW Cricket Club, and Manly.

Fairfax Media understands Bhandari, who was opening the batting, allegedly struck a Manly player to the side of the head while walking off the field after being dismissed for a five-ball duck.

“Danny Bhandari has been reported by umpires for an incident in a second-grade match for UNSW against Manly on Saturday. The matter is before the Sydney Cricket Association’s Code of Conduct Commissioner John McGruther,” CNSW said in a statement.

The alleged incident has stunned Sydney grade-cricket circles, particularly given Bhandari’s position in the game.

Bhandari, who specialises in finance and technology, is a major player in the Sydney business and sports world with seats on the boards of CNSW and Venues NSW, the statutory authority which runs ANZ Stadium.

Bhandari is the second senior office bearer at CNSW to land in hot water in the past 12 months. Chief executive Andrew Jones was fined $315 and docked four demerit points for texting while stationary in traffic in April. Transport for NSW, which is a major sponsor, described the offence as a “serious breach” of its contract but has continued their long-standing partnership.

Former AFL diversity manager Ali Fahour resigned in July last year after being handed a lifetime ban by the Northern Football League in Melbourne for a punch that knocked an opponent unconscious. Bhandari’s alleged victim is believed not to have been hurt and played out the game.

Bhandari’s wealth was estimated at $29 million in the 2016 BRW Young Rich list, where he ranked 87th. Bhandari, named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008, made much of his fortune developing and selling high-speed derivatives trading software.

He is one of the principal founders of trading firm Tibra Capital, which was at the centre of a lengthy Federal Court dispute over allegations confidential information was taken from his former employer Optiver to develop their trading programs. The case was settled in 2013 when Tibra paid Optiver more than $10m with no admission of guilt.

His business acumen was a key to his appointment to the CNSW board last year after 18 years of service to the game as a player and administrator.

He is a close friend of Jones through their time as players with UNSW, where he has served as president, chairman of selectors and captain of the club’s second XI. He has played predominantly at second- and third-grade level.

Bhandari was chairman of Sydney Thunder’s advisory board from 2011-13. His role, according to his profile on LinkedIn, was to provide “strategic and commercial advice to management in a non executive capacity”.

He is the co-founder of Centre Wicket, an online site that provides multimedia cricket coaching.

Bhandari was approached for comment but did not return calls or texts from Fairfax Media.

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After 30 years, family hope a $500,000 reward will answer questions on death

Mark Anthony Haines’ mother, father and grandmother went to their graves never knowing how he died.

But now, 30 years to the day that the 17-year-old was found dead on railway tracks in Tamworth, his remaining family hopes a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone responsible will deliver answers.

The body of Mr Haines was found on railway lines near the Warral silos on the outskirts of Tamworth on January 16, 1988.

He had suffered massive head injuries.

A coronial inquest returned an open finding into the death in 1988 and no charges have ever been laid in relation to the case. His family has since led a relentless charge to bring about justice, suspecting foul play.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Haines’ family and friends, wearing badges bearing the “vibrant and happy” face of Mr Haines, converged on Tamworth Police Station to welcome news of a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction on the case.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Haines’ uncle Craig Craigie, said the announcement provided them with a renewed sense of hope.

“The family has never lost sight of justice, one day being served upon the person or persons responsible for Mark’s tragic death,” Mr Craigie said.

“It has been a long and arduous journey for the family to lose a loved one and we are hopeful that this reward will encourage anyone who had been living in guilt for the past 30 years to finally coming forward.

“It has been the family’s belief that there were other people involved with Mark at the time of hid death and evidence supports the coroner’s findings indicating Mark had sustained a severe head injury prior to his death.”

The family has maintained Mr Haines did not commit suicide.

In January last year, the cold case death was referred to the state’s homicide squad.

Six months later, the family posted a $20,000 reward for anyone who could help solve the mystery.

“It was offered to try and push police and the police minister to offer a reward and that’s been done,” Mr Craigie said.

Police Oxley Acting Superintendent Jeff Budd made the announcement of the reward “to assist police and the family in getting a resolution on Mark’s death”.

“There are some issues that have never been explained in terms of Mark’s demise, and today’s all about us finding some resolution for the family,” Acting Superintendent Budd said.

“One can only imagine the trauma of not knowing for 30 years can cause.

“We hope the inquiries we’re conducting now in NSW and southern Queensland will further be enhanced by this announcement.

“This needs to be explained. There’s knowledge out there. Someone knows something. We need those people to come forward.”

Greens MLC David Shoebridge said it was a special day for the family, after Mr Haines’ organs had been held in the coroner’s court for forensic investigations “for the better part of three decades”.

“The family have requested that those organs be returned to them so that they can have a respectful ceremony, and have Mark whole on country again,” he said.

“Nobody gives up on justice for their dead son, their dead nephew, their dead brother.

“He was a 17-year-old vibrant, successful, happy young man.

“There was no reason for him to die in those circumstances, there was no reason for him to take his life, and the family, like any family, are demanding answers.”

Another of Mr Haines’ uncles, Don Craigie, who’s been at the centre of public pleas for information, welcomed “the repatriation of Mark’s organs for reburial for cremation back in his ancestral lands where his body lays”.

“No family should have to go through the anguish of not knowing what has happened to their loved one,” Mr Craigie said.

Northern Daily Leader

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Finals chances officially over for Melbourne Stars

It’s official. The Melbourne Stars will miss the Big Bash League finals for the first time in the competition’s seven-season history.

They had kept their hopes flickering faintly with a win against the Melbourne Renegades last weekend, but the end on Tuesday night at the hands of the Sydney Sixers – the only other side already eliminated from the finals race – was insipid and all too familiar.

The top order again performed terribly. The middle order couldn’t accelerate when needed. The bowlers were again unable to take bundles of wickets.

The Stars again looked a team deserving of bottom place on the ladder.

The signs that the Stars had reverted to type following their breakthrough at Etihad Stadium came early. Sent in by the Sixers at the MCG, the Stars sent the opening pair of Ben Dunk and Luke Wright into the middle again.

It’s been a partnership that has yielded little success this season, yet even despite the successful experiment to move Peter Handscomb to the top of the order in Wright’s absence, the Stars backed in Wright and Dunk to get the job done. They didn’t.

Both men were tested early by the pace of Ben Dwarshuis, and couldn’t get the score ticking over. Wright – back from a bruised lung – made just 11 from 13 balls before being caught at third man off Sean Abbott.

Kevin Pietersen had returned to form against the Renegades but not for the first time this season was dismissed in ugly fashion, holing out to deep mid-wicket from Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The Australian Test spinner finished with 3-18 from his four overs, and was on a hat-trick a ball later when Dunk nicked one to gloveman Peter Nevill.

Dunk’s seven from 12 balls was his sixth single-digit score from seven innings this season.

Glenn Maxwell and Handscomb briefly gave hope to a revival, but after dispatching Abbott for two sixes to opposite ends of the ground in three balls, Maxwell edged behind for 28 from 16. Handscomb went for 14 from 16, becoming Lyon’s third victim.

Yet again James Faulkner got in but couldn’t find the boundary regularly. He was dismissed in the final over for 28 from 30 balls, the first time he’d been out during the tournament. It means he tops the BBL averages on 146.00, but his strike rate of 104 isn’t good enough for a player once renowned for his late-innings striking.

Evan Gulbis, run out off the last ball of the innings for 24 from 25, had similar issues. The Sixers bowled 60 dot balls, the most in a BBL innings this season, and the Stars’ score of 7-128 was never likely to be good enough.

Jackson Coleman and Daniel Worrall challenged the Sixers with pace early in the chase before Faulkner claimed the wicket of Joe Denly for nine, but Nic Maddinson (62 from 31) soon took off. He lived dangerously, almost caught on the boundary by Daniel Worrall in the seventh over, but kept finding the rope, killing the game off as a contest.

With Daniel Hughes (49 not out) settled at the other end, the Sixers made sure the end of the Stars’ perfect finals run came with a minimum of fuss, by eight wickets and with 29 balls to spare.

Now that there can be no going back, the Stars must ensure they take something from their final three games of the season, beginning with Saturday night’s MCG date with Sydney Thunder.

They have played youngsters like Daniel Fallins and Liam Bowe already, and it’s hard to think they won’t continue to do so.

What else can they do?

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Roads Minister ‘disturbed’ by horror two days on NSW roads

A spate of fatal truck crashes has “disturbed” NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey after a 45 per cent increase in deaths last year.

Her comments followed three deadly collisions in two days, including one on the Newell Highway near Dubbo on Tuesday in which a B-Double truck collided with cars and another truck at a stop-go sign, killing two people.

“I’m just so concerned and disturbed about the level of accidents involving heavy vehicles in NSW at the moment,” Ms Pavey told the ABC.

“We’ve had six heavy vehicles involved in accidents in the past 24 hours which are going to destroy lives, destroy families.”

Preliminary data from the NSW Centre for Road Safety shows the number of fatalities related to heavy truck crashes climbed from 56 in 2016 to 81 last year, a jump of 45 per cent.

During the same period, the number of fatalities involving light trucks and utes fell, while the overall road toll rose 3 per cent to 392.

A parliamentary inquiry Ms Pavey announced in November was still investigating ways to reduce heavy vehicle crashes, looking at devices such as automatic braking systems, lane departure warnings and speed limiters.

“I’ve had evidence from my agency in recent days suggesting there is still tampering going on with logbooks,” she said.

“I know it’s not acceptable to the majority of the heavy vehicle industry but I do know it’s happened and it sometimes continues to happen.”

The Roads and Maritime Service is completing a separate review into the Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment Scheme that handles licences in NSW.

Last week, the nation’s largest transport and logistics company, Toll Group, wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for new national rules to counter a “dire road safety problem”, cracking down on excessive speed, long shifts and dangerous loads.

The Australian Logistics Council, a peak body representing companies such as Woolworths and Coles, backed Toll’s six-point plan on Tuesday.

“It’s not feasible to have inconsistent rules in different states pertaining to the definition of a heavy vehicle, speed limits and regulation of drivers’ working hours and mandatory rest times,” the council’s managing director Michael Kilgariff said.

“The federal government should also immediately pursue a national operator licensing system.”

Under the present system, drivers disqualified in one state can continue to work in others.

A spokesman for federal Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce has said some of Toll’s proposals had merit and would be considered by government.

“Almost $4 million a year has been allocated to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to progress a package of practical initiatives,” she said.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory have yet to sign up to the national laws.

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Public servants face low wage growth as inflation rise looms

Rising costs of living are set to squeeze public servants’ household budgets as wage rises fail to keep pace with growing inflation expected to bite next year.

A new Department of Jobs and Small Business report showed that public sector workers securing new workplace deals in the September quarter will average 2 per cent in wage rises, a significant fall from 3 per cent the previous year.

Growth in public servant salaries under new agreements will struggle to keep pace with cost of living rises, turning wage increases into pay cuts in real terms as the government predicts inflation will climb from 1.9 per cent to 2.25 per cent next year.

The figures come following a multi-year industrial war over new enterprise agreements for public servants that reached an end on multiple fronts last year.

The Jobs and Small Business department used new workplace agreements at two of the government’s largest agencies, Defence and the Australian Taxation Office, as well as Australia Post and the CSIRO, among others to estimate the average wage rises enshrined in industrial deals covering public servants until 2020.

Public and private sector wages rose at nearly an equal rate in deals reported in the June quarter, but the public service’s average wage growth has fallen behind by a 0.4 per cent gap.

Community and Public Sector Union acting national secretary Michael Tull said the Coalition’s public sector bargaining policy was to blame for the result after it capped wage rises at 2 per cent and targeted rights and conditions.

“The government’s approach has cost public service workers and their families and hurt the whole economy,” he said.

Mr Tull said the data hid the true extent of the pay cut because it didn’t reveal damage caused by the government’s wage freezes during bargaining.

“Commonwealth public sector workers whose new agreements are recorded in this report had their wages frozen for more than three years, so the reality is their pay rises amount to less than 1 per cent a year,” he said.

“That means the wages of tens of thousands of Commonwealth public sector workers have gone backwards in real terms since the Coalition came to power.”

A spokeswoman for new minister assisting for the public service, Kelly O’Dwyer, said the government’s workplace bargaining policy provided competitive salaries that met community standards, and that its cap on wage rises was reasonable as the federal budget remained in deficit.

The Jobs and Small Business department figures did not simply reflect the workplace bargaining policy as it included wages data from all levels of the public sector – including local and state – across Australia, the spokeswoman said.

Mr Tull said most public servants providing services were paid average or below-average wages, but their pay rises under the latest round of deals were the worst on record.

“The Turnbull government should be leading by example to encourage the decent wages growth that’s urgently needed for our economy and ordinary Australians currently suffering as their pay packets remain stagnant or go backwards, but they’ve instead made the problem even worse with wage freezes and other hardball industrial tactics.”

Labor employment and workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor said the wage rise figures showed that people were struggling to make ends meet.

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Maddinson the delivery man as Sixers thump Pietersen’s Stars

Nic Maddinson finally delivered on a summer of unfulfilled potential for the Sydney Sixers, blasting 62 from 31 balls against the Melbourne Stars to lead his side to just their second win of the season on Tuesday.

The supremely talented left-hander cracked half a dozen sixes in a sublime knock as the visitors made short work of Melbourne’s 7-128 at the MCG in front of 26,134 fans, outlining just what might have been this summer had he and his magenta-clad teammates lived up to their potential.

Prior to this knock, Maddinson had been dismissed five times this season between 24 and 31, often looking his dangerous self before finding a way to get out.

And so it was again on Tuesday. After rocketing his way to 30, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell drew Maddinson forward with a well-flighted delivery only for wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb to grass the chance.

Maddinson returned to his crease in the nick of time, and that marked the end of any chance the Stars had to keep alive their flickering finals hopes.

“He’s the man of the match for me,” teammate Nathan Lyon said after he was awarded that accolade for his 3-18 earlier in the night.

“Those small targets can actually be quite hard to chase down in shorter format cricket. The way he went out there and backed his game and played his natural free game and hit those big shots really broke the back of the Stars.”

Opener Daniel Hughes provided the support for Maddinson, helping himself to 49 from 46 balls as the pair put on 92 for the second wicket.

Import Joe Denly had started brightly opening the batting, but he departed from 12 off James Faulkner’s bowling thanks to a brilliant catch from Maxwell running back with the flight of the ball at short third man.

The Sixers enjoyed this one, a rare foray of enjoyment in a summer of discontent that produced a zero-and-six start before Saturday’s win over the Sydney Thunder, and Tuesday’s emphatic triumph.

Wedged in between the two wins was Sixer Jason Roy’s record-breaking 180 for the England one-day team in their thumping of Australia. He played in all six of Sydney’s losses before reporting for international duty, managing just 62 runs over that stretch.

Throw in Maddinson’s inconsistencies, Moises Henriques missing a large stretch for personal reasons and Hughes’ quad injury earlier in the season and the Big Bash table could have looked a whole lot different.

They’ve now ruined the Stars’ finals chances, and have a big chance on Thursday to deliver a telling blow to those of the Brisbane Heat’s.

Maddinson took plenty of the accolades on Tuesday, but it was the Sixers’ best bowling performance of the summer, spearheaded by Test spinner Lyon, that set up the win.

Sydney sent down 60 dot balls, the most of the BBL summer so far, while Lyon tore through the Stars, capturing three wickets to restrict Melbourne to an uncompetitive score.

Lyon was on a hat-trick at one point after dismissing Kevin Pietersen and Ben Dunk back to back, and has now enjoyed two wins in two matches for the Sixers this summer.

“When you come up against the best players you want to challenge yourself, Kevin’s one of those guys, Peter Handscomb’s one of the guys, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, I could go through the whole side,” Lyon said.

“I was really happy with the way the ball came out to take a couple of wickets and really put the Stars on the back foot, that was the main thing.

“It’s those little moments in the game where you need to try and execute your plan in T20 cricket.

“The big thing in T20 cricket if you’ve got your plans right is you go and execute to your best ability. Sometimes you’re going to get hit for six sometimes you’re going to take wickets or bowl dot balls.

“It’s just about making sure you’re committing to your plan. I was lucky enough to commit to most of my plans there tonight and got the reward.”

Spearhead Sean Abbott also played his role, claiming 2-35 and taking a well-judged running catch late on to dismiss James Faulkner for 28.

Faulkner and Maxwell (28) top-scored for the home side, the latter threatening to take charge after blasting three powerful blows over the rope before a mis-timed cut shot off Abbott’s bowling found itself nestled in the gloves of Peter Nevill.

Lyon was the man though in only his second game for the Sixers this season. Pietersen struck the first blow when he stooped down to one knee and hammered the ball to the fine leg rope, but Lyon bounced back next ball, drawing the Englishman into a false shot that was gobbled up by the busy Abbott at deep mid wicket.

Dunk nicked through to Nevill next ball before Peter Handscomb staved off the hat-trick.

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Big Bash outscoring Australian Open in ratings battle

Network Ten’s Big Bash claimed a ratings win against the Australian Open’s on Monday, demonstrating again why commercial networks are lining up to secure BBL broadcast rights next summer.

Session two of the Hobart Hurricanes’ win over the Brisbane Heat garnered an average viewership of 794,000 in capital cities, while the first half of the match was watched by an average of 667,000 individuals.

That put the BBL clear of Network Seven’s opening night session of the tennis, which averaged 589,000 viewers on its main channel.

It is worth noting, however, that Seven splits its tennis broadcast over multiple channels. Seven Mate shows different matches to the main channel, while Seven Two takes over when the news is broadcast from 6-7pm.

Monday’s evening schedule was also not as attractive as Tuesday’s offering, which included defending Roger Federer, Australia’s No. 1 ranked female player Ashleigh Barty and rising star Alex de Minaur.

The Big Bash consistently outrated the Australian Open last year, before the tennis finished strongly on the back of its two dream finals – Serena versus Venus Williams in the women’s, alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the men’s.

And it hasn’t slowed down this summer on the back of a range of new superstars including Hobart’s D’Arcy Short and Afghani leg spinner Rashid Khan who has become a cult hero at the Adelaide Strikers.

“There’s a few things this summer that have been great, D’Arcy Short has been fantastic, KP’s [Kevin Pietersen’s] farewell tour has turned into a beauty, and the fact that leg spinners are dominating T20 cricket,” Network Ten executive for Big Bash David Barham said.

“Who would’ve thought that was going to happen, now it looks like you can’t win it unless you’ve got a good leg spinner. It just keeps changing, and it changes so quick that you’ve got to keep up with it and that makes it great.

“We are particularly happy with the ratings between the 25 to 54 demographic and that’s a big one for us. We’re having an all time high ratings for 25 to 54s which is the market you want.”

Monday’s Big Bash fixture was a clear winner on the night with the 25 to 54 age bracket. Hobart’s run chase fetched an average of 381,000 viewers in that demographic, ahead of the 338,000 who watched the first session.

They were well clear of third on that list, which was Nine News at 6.30pm.

Opening night of the tennis was 10th on that particular list with 209,000 average viewers.

Network Ten pays about $20m per year for Big Bash broadcasting rights, but this is the final season of their current deal which is expected to spark a bidding war in the coming months.

Cricket Australia hopes a new broadcast deal will be in place by April, and while Ten is keen to retain the BBL, Nine and Seven are also expected to bid for the popular competition.

Ratings and crowds are slightly down on the record 2016-17 summer but Network Ten remains a popular platform for the BBL.

“You really just try to concentrate on what you’ve got to do, you concentrate on getting your coverage right, getting your commentators right, make sure you put on good coverage every night,” Barham said.

“You start working on that from June July, you get your head down and that’s what you do. Outside of that you can’t do much more.”

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