Australia under pressure while India flying under Virat Kohli: Brendon McCullum

first_imgAn understrength Australia is working overtime to find ways to keep up with their dominant home record against an on-paper stronger and more fancied Indian side as the four Test series kicks off on December 6.Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum rated India as a much stronger opponent for an Australia, that is still struggling to rise from the low of ball-tampering scandal. On the other hand, McCullum felt that India have been playing brilliantly under Virat Kohli.”They [Australia] are under a bit of pressure for sure and they are low on confidence too. India is flying under Virat Kohli. He has got them playing brilliantly well. And perhaps this is a great chance to try and get a win down there. Australia in their own conditions are tough but at the moment they are a wounded line up and they will have to discover a bit of class in the next few weeks otherwise I would say India looks a bit too strong,” McCullum told India Today.When asked if better knowledge of home conditions mean bowling is one area where Australia hold the edge over the visitors, McCullum disagreed.”I do not think so. Australia’s bowling is pretty strong but India’s bowling is suited to those conditions as well. I am not sure Australia’s batting line up is strong enough to be able to handle that,” he added.McCullum was all praise for his Indian Premier League (IPL) captain and was 100 percent sure that Virat Kohli will make a big difference in this Test series too.advertisement”He is massive. The best player in the world by a fair bit across formats and absolute superstar in the game as well. And the position that he is in with captaining India with such a support base behind and what cricket means to the Indian people, it sits on his shoulders pretty comfortably. He plays the game in his manner and he is a brilliant world class player. I am pretty sure he will perform in this tour as well,” McCullum predicted.McCullum was also scathing in his observation on the Australian tendency to cross the line in quest for wins that has left the two big members of their leadership group – Steve Smith and David Warner – out of action for a year.”What is hard cricket? The game takes care of itself. You play the game in the manner that you want and be authentic to yourself. For me it was always about having plenty of mates at the end of the games as well and the game not defining you as a person. From their point of view, I don’t know how they want to do it. But I am sure they will discover at some stage,” he said.Trying to make sense of the Australian dressing room directed to mind their conduct, McCullum suggests it’s imperative they improve.”What they are trying to do is to re-engage with their fans. They have lost a lot of support and respect from their fans back home. I think what they are trying to do is to re-engage with fans not just of this year but of tomorrow as well. Because with young kids it’s a chance to attract following from them,” he signed off.Also Read | India will win Test series in Australia 3-0: Sunil Gavaskar to India TodayAlso Read | Ricky Ponting suggests hostility to rattle Virat Kohli in Test seriesAlso Read | Will Australia sledge Virat Kohli? Josh Hazlewood and Tim Paine weigh inlast_img read more

Millard ordered purchase of incinerator days before Babcock vanished witness

first_imgTORONTO – One of two men accused of killing Laura Babcock and burning her body ordered a large animal incinerator — called The Eliminator — days before the young woman disappeared five years ago, a Toronto court heard Thursday.The Eliminator was operational a few weeks after Babcock disappeared, according to text messages recovered by police.Retired forensic officer Jim Falconer guided jurors through a lengthy presentation about the haul of data found on three computers seized at the home of Dellen Millard.“What temperature is cremation done at?” read a screen capture of an online search taken from Millard’s phone at 10:38 p.m. on July 23, 2012.“Best answer: 1700 degrees and it takes about 1 hour for the first 100 pounds and ½ hour for each 100 after that.”Babcock’s father, Clayton, who sat in the courtroom, held his hand to his mouth as he listened to the testimony.The Crown contends Millard and his friend, Mark Smich, killed Babcock and then incinerated her body.Falconer, a former detective sergeant with the Ontario Provincial Police, showed court a series of photographs and videos taken from Millard’s phone at a hangar he owned at the Region of Waterloo International Airport on the same night.One photo, taken at 11:14 p.m., shows Smich standing in front of the incinerator, smiling and holding a black pole.Another photo, taken at 11:20 p.m., shows flames inside the incinerator.A video recorded at 11:45 p.m. shows embers floating in the air, a streetlight in the distance and a rumbling sound in the background.About an hour later, a note was created on Smich’s iPad. It read:“The b–c started off all skin and bone,Now the b–c lay on some ashy stone,Last time I saw her was outside the home,And if u go swimming u can find her phone”The jury then saw a video of Smich rapping those lyrics, which was recorded on Sept. 25, 2012, at Millard’s home.The Crown alleges Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., killed Babcock because she was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.Prosecutors say Millard and Smich burned the 23-year-old woman’s remains in an incinerator that was later found on Millard’s farm near Waterloo, Ont.Both men have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.Falconer told court that on June 18, 2012, Millard asked a man named “Shaner” to order an animal incinerator that could burn a 250-pound animal.“Cost on small 250 lb incinerator is 11390. Next model is 500 lb and sells for 13440. Tax and shipping extra,” Shaner wrote to Millard.“Put an order in for the larger one. Use the red Visa,” Millard wrote.The total cost of the incinerator, which Millard and Shaner referred to as “the BBQ,” came to more than $15,000 after taxes, according to texts from Shaner.Millard struggled to get the incinerator operational, according to a slew of texts between he and Shaner.But they got it working by July 23. At 3:07 p.m. that day, Millard wrote to Smich: “bbq has run its warm up, it’s ready for meat.”On July 3, court has heard, Babcock’s phone pinged off the same cell tower as Millard’s phone at the same time — near Millard’s house in Toronto’s west end. Her final outgoing phone call came at 7:03 p.m.At 7:30 p.m., Millard texted Smich: “I’m on a mission, back in 1 hr.”Court has heard that Babcock’s phone stopped connecting with cell towers at 11 a.m. on July 4.At 2:40 p.m., an image from Millard’s phone showed a dog sitting beside an object wrapped in a large blue tarp, with the GPS co-ordinates showing it was taken at Millard’s farm near Waterloo, Ont.On July 7, a calendar event was created on Millard’s phone with the note: “Barn smell check.”last_img read more