Medical fund members able to beat means test

Offering an extended pre-payment plan … Medibank.THE government’s health fund, Medibank Private, is offering members an extended pre-payment plan to beat the new means test, saving their members millions of dollars otherwise payable to the taxman.
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Medibank, Australia’s biggest fund, is offering members the choice of paying their premiums up to 18 months ahead by July 1, to avoid additional costs. These can amount to $1500 or more for a member as a result of the withdrawal of the rebate worth up to 40 per cent of premium costs.

Medibank said it could not give a figure on how many had signed up to pay their premiums in advance.

Its closest rival, Bupa, which is offering prepayment for a maximum of a year, said its latest figures show 14,000 members have prepaid their premiums and that figure was likely to accelerate in the run-up to July 1.

From that day singles earning more than $84,000 and couples more than $168,000 get a reduced rebate which phases out completely for those on $130,000 and $260,000 respectively.

The government says the prepayment rush will not affect its planned savings of $2.8 billion over four years.

A spokesman for the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the current pause before imposing the means test provided the required window to inform taxpayers about the changes. ”Pre-payment of fees will not affect the forecast budget savings,” he said.

Asked whether the government had factored in the impact of prepayments on revenue, the spokesman said ”variables are factored in”.

While better-off people might be seeking to avoid extra costs, low-income Australians are finding it increasingly harder to afford healthcare, new official figures show.

Carol Bennett, the chief executive of Consumer Health Forum, said it was alarming that the number of people unable to afford the care they needed was rising. ”This is showing that inequity in healthcare is growing,” she said.

The reform council of the Council of Australian Governments says that the proportion of people who delayed or did not see a general practitioner because of cost has risen from 6.4 per cent in 2009 to 8.7 per cent in 2010-11.

The figures were even higher in NSW, up from 10.1 per cent to 15.4 per cent.

A significantly higher proportion of people, 26 per cent, delay seeing or do not see a dentist because of costs, while 15 per cent have the same difficulties seeing medical specialists.

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

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School out of touch on contact ban for students, parents say

Children at Mount Martha Primary School flout a new rule banning contact between pupils.A MORNINGTON Peninsula primary school’s snap ban on pupils hugging or giving each other high-fives has attracted disbelief from parents, who yesterday called the move ”outrageous” and ”unbelievable”.
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Parents at Mount Martha Primary School claim they were informed of the new rule, which extended a ban on contact sports to a ban on any physical contact at all between students, only when children arrived home from school on Wednesday.

They say the rule was first announced to pupils over the public address system, and students were left to tell their parents.

A group of year 6 students were so disgusted by the new rule that they staged a sit-down protest on the school oval at lunch on Wednesday before they were moved to the school gym and given a dressing down, parents say.

One parent, Tracey, said her son was winded on the playground on Wednesday and, when his friend tried to console him by putting his arm around his shoulder, the friend was told his actions were against the rules.

The friend then had to walk around with the teacher on playground duty for the rest of lunch as punishment, Tracey told radio 3AW.

”I’m just a bit outraged that it has come to this. There must be other ways,” Tracey said.

Another parent, John, said his children were told they could not high-five each other.

”I have a couple of children and they have been told that if they high-five one another that’s instant detention, and if they do it three times they will be expelled,” John said.

”I mean, what are they actually trying to teach?”

One child was reportedly told that if students wanted to high-five, it would have to be an ”air high-five”.

Principal Judy Beckworth said it was ”not actually a policy, it’s a practice that we’ve adopted in the short term as a no-contact games week”.

She said the new practice was introduced after students suffered a number of injuries on the playground in recent weeks, and the new no-touching rule would last one week.

”In response to an increased number of recent student injuries, including a broken collarbone, wrists and concussion, we decided to have a ‘no contact games week’ at our school,” Ms Beckworth said.

”We are very serious about student safety and that’s why we decided to do this.”

Ms Beckworth said when the children were told of the new rule, some of them asked about high-fiving to clarify the rule.

”We spoke about it being contact, but of course that’s something that children really would find that would be acceptable, and I will be talking to my staff about that, chatting with them about trying to get the message across,” Ms Beckworth said.

Ms Beckworth said the protesting year 6 students were removed from the oval because they had overstayed their allotted time.

She said parents would be told of the new rule in this week’s school newsletter.

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Chinese market in airport’s sights

SYDNEY Airport was ”stepping up its role” in the tourism space, its chief executive, Kerrie Mather, said, and there had already been two recent wins with the arrival of low-cost Asian airlines AirAsia X and Scoot.
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At a business lunch yesterday in Sydney, Ms Mather signalled closer co-operation with Tourism Australia and NSW Tourism. She said she had travelled to India as part of the NSW Tourism delegation, and hoped that direct flights to India from Sydney would eventuate. She had also just returned from China, which was a ”market with potential for us”.

Ms Mather said last year 640,000 passengers from China came through the airport, and this year China would move to second place, behind New Zealand, as the dominant nation for visitors through the airport.

She reiterated earlier comments that Sydney Airport Corporation welcomed the federal government identifying a future airport site for a second Sydney airport, and securing transportation corridors, but said the existing airport could deal with demand through 2045.

Last week the corporation issued legal proceedings against the Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese, after the government brought forward to next year a deadline for the airport to produce a draft masterplan.

Ms Mather said the airport was consulting about a new plan it announced last December, which will see a reconfiguration of the airport, including moving the jet base and air traffic control tower, and integrating domestic and international flights from the same terminals.

”We are halfway through that period of consultation, so we were on track delivering our master plan by 2014,” she said.

”It is important we incorporate [this vision] in the masterplan, so we need time to work through.

”So we have asked for the reasons why the masterplan has been bought forward.”

The airport had discussed with Qantas buying back its long-term leases for its jet base and terminal, which were not due to expire until 2019, considering that the Qantas sites took up 30 per cent of the airport’s footprint, she said.

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Kyrgios beats Zverev to reach China final

Nick Kyrgios has kept alive his hopes of qualifying for the ATP finals by beating Alexander Zverev to reach the final of the China Open in Beijing.

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The in-form Canberran prevailed 6-3 7-5 to set up a clash with world No.1 Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s decider.

Kyrgios has won nine of his last 11 matches and dropped just one set en route to the final where he’ll look to repeat his quarter-final victory over Nadal in Cincinnati Open in August.

The 22-year-old’s victory moved him to 15th spot in the ATP Race To London with the top 10 players qualifying for the prestigious end of season event in November.

However, with Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who are all ranked above Kyrgios, ruled out due to injury, he can put himself in genuine contention for a maiden appearance in the London showpiece with a third career win over the Spanish great.

Zverev sealed his spot in London on Friday, but was on the back foot throughout as the world No.19 dominated the first set.

He then hurled down seven aces in the second to chalk up a third victory in four previous encounters with the 20-year-old German.

Nadal beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in his semi-final to reach his ninth final of the year.

The 16-time grand slam winner won 13 consecutive points on his own serve and broke Dimitrov to seal the first set in 35 minutes.

Nadal led the second 3-1 but Dimitrov fought back to level at 4-4 before clinching the set.

Bulgarian Dimitrov’s eye-catching shots were not enough to overcome the 31-year-old, however, and Nadal broke serve three times in the deciding set.

Red Bull duo hoping for a quick start in Japan

Australian Ricciardo was fourth fastest ahead of 20-year-old Verstappen but the duo will start third and fourth due to the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas dropping five places for an unscheduled gearbox change.

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Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was on pole for Mercedes with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, 34 points behind the Briton with five races remaining, second on the grid.

“I think the start will dictate a lot,” Ricciardo told reporters.

“It’s pretty tricky to overtake here and I’ve set my car up a little bit more for the race. I took some downforce off overnight so on the straights it will either give me a better chance to attack or defend.”

Verstappen, the winner in Malaysia last weekend who was also about a second off Hamilton’s pace at Suzuka, said Red Bull were just not as strong this time.

“I think more corners are flat-out this year and a lot faster so it becomes more of a straight, so it’s a bit more painful for us,” said the 20-year-old Dutch driver.

“And also it’s not as warm as Malaysia so it just seems that we don’t have that advantage like we had (there).”

Both drivers had sounded a very different tone last weekend, and also in Singapore where they showed pace capable of matching the two teams ahead of them.

The talk heading into the Japanese Grand Prix was of a three-way fight for race wins, with Red Bull potentially acting as kingmakers in the Hamilton versus Vettel title fight.

The team’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko even said the outfit now had the best chassis on the grid.

“We definitely felt like ours worked better in Malaysia” said Ricciardo, who scored the team’s first win this year in Azerbaijan in June.

“But they (Mercedes) have obviously found the step they needed to here.”

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

India continues Aussie pain in soggy T20

Even a change of format hasn’t been able to stop Australia’s batting collapses, with India easily chasing down a reduced target in the rain-curtailed first T20 international.

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The visitors lost 7-69 in Ranchi as they limped to 8-118 before weather ended their innings with eight balls remaining.

After a delay of almost two hours, India were given six overs to chase 48 which they hunted down with three balls to spare.

Rohit Sharma made 11 off seven balls before Nathan Coulter-Nile found a way through his defences to claim the only wicket of the innings.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli (22 off 14) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (15 off 12) did the rest, cruising to 1-49 after smashing three boundaries each.

Australia will have to win Tuesday’s match in Guwahati to avoid another series loss, after a deflating 4-1 drubbing in the one-day internationals.

Aaron Finch picked up where he left off in the ODIs, top scoring with 42 from 30 balls.

“I thought after we got off to a pretty good start with the bat, obviously losing our way through the middle order again,” Finch said.

“But it was a very challenging wicket to start on in particular against the spin.

“The guys were formulating a plan quite nicely, we just seemed to keep losing wickets at the wrong time.”

He smashed five boundaries including a six before a crafty piece of bowling from left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned him inside out and clattered into the stumps.

Yadav (2-16 off four overs) had his second victim when Moises Henriques (eight) advanced down the wicket to a leg break which kept low, clean bowling him.

Stand-in skipper David Warner made eight, while the injured Steve Smith ran the drinks and will return to Australia on Sunday.

Glenn Maxwell couldn’t play himself into form, struggling for his 17.

Maxwell pulled a long hop straight to mid-wicket off Yuzvendra Chahal who has claimed his wicket in all four of the Victorian’s innings on the tour.

Australia’s middle order again failed when they were needed, mimicking their efforts in the ODIs.

Travis Head (nine), Tim Paine (17) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (one) completed the sextet of Australians who were bowled.

“Especially after winning the toss and bowling first, that effort was required,” Kohli said.

“We don’t really understand the Duckword Lewis method. After getting them down to 118, we thought it would only be 40 or something. 48 was tricky,

Nate threatens US Gulf energy sites

Hurricane Nate is heading towards refineries, offshore oil platforms and other energy facilities in the central US Gulf Coast that largely were spared by Hurricane Harvey’s wrath nearly six weeks ago.

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The fast-moving storm has curtailed 92 per cent of daily oil production and 77 per cent of daily natural gas output in the US Gulf of Mexico, more than three times the amount affected by Harvey, which packed more of a punch when it hit the Texas coast.

Nate could become a Category 2 storm, the second weakest on a five-category scale used by meteorologists, with winds of up to 177km/h before landfall later on Saturday, the National Hurricane Centrr said.

Its track takes it closer to offshore production unlike Harvey, whose impact was greatest on refining centres.

Output shut in by Nate on Saturday amounted to 1.61 million barrels of oil per day and 2.48 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 17 per cent of daily US crude output and five per cent of daily natural gas output, according to US government estimates. Workers had been evacuated from 301 platforms and 13 rigs as of Saturday, the BSEE said.

Colby Goatley, a meteorologist at Weather Decision Technologies Inc, said his firm is helping about 10 drilling rig operators chart a course away from Nate, which is producing up to 9.1-metre waves near its centre, he said.

Nate is converging on refineries that remained in operation during Harvey, with Phillips 66’s Alliance plant, Valero Energy Corp’s Meraux facility, and PBF Energy’s Chalmette refinery closest to its current track. Chevron Corp’s Pascagoula, Miss., plant also is within the impact zone.

Harvey, which brought intense rains that flooded the Texas Gulf Coast, shut nearly a quarter of US refining capacity and a similar amount of Gulf of Mexico oil production. At least one of the Harvey-affected refineries is still working to resume full production.

US ports close ahead of Hurricane Nate

Major shipping ports across the central US Gulf Coast are closed to inbound and outbound traffic as Hurricane Nate intensifies and storm surges of up to 3.

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74 metres are expected.

The US Coast Guard on Saturday ordered port condition Zulu, a halt to all traffic, beginning at 8am local time for New Orleans; Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola and Panama City, Florida.

New Orleans, which sits near the mouth of the Mississippi River, is an important transit point for energy, metals and agricultural commodities moving to overseas and domestic markets.

Nate is expected to strike the US coast on Saturday night as a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the National Hurricane Centre said on Saturday. At that intensity, it would have destructive winds of 154 to 177 km per hour.

Restrictions on New Orleans inbound and outbound traffic span the lower Mississippi River from the Huey P Long Bridge above Head of Passes to the Southwest Pass entrance at mile marker 20 below the head of passes, the Coast Guard said.

Gary LaGrange, executive director of trade group Ports Association of Louisiana, said he expected traffic restrictions to be lifted quickly once the fast-moving storm passes overnight.

“It’ll be short-lived based on the projected path and movement of the storm unless an unlikely event happens – such as two vessels colliding,” he said.

Vessels were still moving to secure berths at the ports on Saturday morning, he said.

The storm already has caused oil companies to evacuate workers at 66 production platforms and five rigs in the US Gulf of Mexico, according to the US government. As of Friday, operators had shut output equal to 1.24 million barrels per day of oil and 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production in the US Gulf of Mexico due the storm, it said.

Phillips 66 also halted operations at its Alliance, Louisiana, oil refinery on Saturday. The refinery is south of New Orleans along the banks of the Mississippi River.

‘We are prepared’: Deadly Hurricane Nate approaches US Gulf Coast

US Gulf Coast residents scrambled with last-minute preparations Saturday as the outer bands of Hurricane Nate began lashing New Orleans amid fears the storm could intensify to a powerful Category Two hurricane.

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Nate spawned widespread flooding and left dozens of people dead in Central America, the latest in a series of deadly hurricanes to hammer Caribbean islands, Mexico and the southeastern US in this exceptionally busy hurricane season.

But US President Donald Trump said federal officials were prepared for the fast-moving storm. He urged residents of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on Twitter to “listen to your local authorities & be safe!”

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As a weary and sodden region prepared for its third hurricane in two months – filling sandbags, stocking up on essential supplies or packing cars to flee – New Orleans, which was ravaged by deadly Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and other cities on the coast were under a hurricane warning.

Nate’s center was located 180 miles (290 kilometres) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with winds swirling at 90 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 11:00am (1500 GMT).

The storm, a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, was intensifying as it moves toward the northwest rapidly at 26 miles per hour and is forecast to hit the Gulf Coast with winds of at least 96 miles per hour, the NHC said.

0:00 Louisiana governor warns of approaching tropical storm Nate Share Louisiana governor warns of approaching tropical storm Nate

‘Dangerous storm surge’

“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC warned.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted that she had asked Trump for a presidential declaration of emergency, “to ensure we have all possible resources in place to respond to #HurricaneNate.”

Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration allowing federal aid to be sent to help mitigate the storm’s impact.

New Orleans issued a mandatory curfew for Saturday from 6:00 pm, and mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders were issued for certain low-lying areas.

Swells expected to affect the northwestern Caribbean over the weekend “are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the US forecasters said.

Officials said the recent hurricanes, devastating as they were, actually helped with preparations for Nate, since emergency supplies and assets deployed for the earlier storms were still in place. Still, the resources of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been stretched.

National Guardsmen were prepared to ride out the storm in the city’s huge Superdome arena, ready to respond once Nate passes over, the nola南京夜生活, news website reported.

Our great team at @FEMA is prepared for #HurricaneNate. Everyone in LA, MS, AL, and FL please listen to your local authorities & be safe!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017’Prepare now’

As New Orleans braced for yet another powerful hurricane, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that “our greatest threat … is not necessarily rain, but strong winds and storm surge.” 

The mayor urged residents in three areas under mandatory evacuation orders to leave by noon, when nearby floodgates were closing.

The city’s levee system has been considerably fortified since Katrina claimed some 1,800 lives in the region, but authorities warn that it has not completely eliminated flood risks.

Unlike Hurricane Harvey, which dumped record amounts of rain as it hovered over neighboring Texas for a week, fast-moving Nate was expected to pass through quickly along a northerly path.

Still, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned that Nate could cause unexpected damage.

“Anyone in low-lying areas … we are urging them to prepare now,” he said.

Oil rigs evacuated

In neighboring Mississippi, lines formed at gas stations in areas along the potential path of the storm. Off the coast, some oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have been evacuated.

The Entergy electric utility warned users that power outages could last as long as a week.

The United States is recovering from two major hurricanes: Harvey, which tore through Texas and then Louisiana in August, and Irma, which slammed Florida in September.

Another powerful storm, Hurricane Maria, ripped through the Caribbean in late September, devastating several islands, including Dominica and Puerto Rico, a US territory.

When Nate struck Central America on Thursday and Friday, at least 31 people were killed and others were still missing.

Intense rains forced thousands from their homes, uprooting trees, knocking out bridges and turning roads into rivers.

Authorities in some areas warned that crocodiles might be roaming after rivers and estuaries flooded.

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November.

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Traffic crash in London sparks major terror alert

A taxi driver sparked a major terror alert when his car ploughed into pedestrians in the heart of one of London’s busiest tourist areas, leaving 11 people injured.

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People fled for their lives after the black Toyota Prius mounted the pavement close to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington on Saturday afternoon.

Video footage posted on Twitter showed a man being restrained on the ground by members of the public after the incident in the heart of the capital’s museums district, an area popular with families with young children.

But police later confirmed the incident was “not being treated as a terror-related incident” and a man had been arrested over a traffic collision.

Those hurt were mostly suffering from head or leg injuries, the London Ambulance Service said, with nine taken to hospital. None were in a life-threatening condition.

The incident in #ExhibitionRoad #SouthKensington earlier is not being treated as a terror-related incident. It is a road traffic collision.

— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 7, 2017

Pictures and footage from the scene in Exhibition Road showed street damage and a massive police presence in the upmarket area, home to the museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Some showed the black Toyota Prius, registered with Transport for London (TfL) as a mini cab, that had collided with a silver Vauxhall saloon and a Jaguar.

Sophie Parry and Lesley Guinness were on their way to the V&A’s Pink Floyd exhibition when they saw the driver of a black vehicle swerve across the road and hit a cyclist.

Parry said: “I thought maybe someone might have had a heart attack behind the wheel.

“Because I thought, this is strange for a vehicle – it must have been going pretty slow there to career across and do all that damage.

The friends said they saw people running away from the scene, after three “gunshot-like” bangs rang out a few seconds before the cyclist was struck.

Merilin Mueller, who works in a nearby cafe said police made her evacuate .

“It just seemed like an accident because there was a police car. We couldn’t see outside.

“Then there were loads of police cars and that’s when all of these police came marching down saying, ‘move, move’.

Downing Street had said that Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments.

Later on Twitter, she said: “My thanks to the first responders at this incident this afternoon and the actions of members of the public. My thoughts are with the injured.”

Soccer – Swiss turn on the style on nightmare evening for Gulacsi

The Swiss, with 27 points from nine games in European Group B, will now travel to Lisbon needing a draw away to Portugal to clinch top spot and a direct place in Russia.

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However, they will be overhauled if they lose to the European champions who have won eight straight matches since their 2-0 defeat in Basel at the start of the campaign in September last year. Gulacsi gifted the Swiss an 18th minute opener when he took a heavy first touch to control a straightforward back pass, slipped as he tried to regain his ground and allowed Granit Xhaka to steal the ball and score.

Fabian Frei added to Gulacsi’s misery two minutes later by finishing off a flowing move with a side-footed shot which deflected off Barnabas Bese.

Brimming with confidence, the Swiss should have had a third when Xherdan Shaqiri sent a low ball across the face of the Hungary area but Haris Seferovic contrived to miss from point-blank range.

The Swiss refused to let up and, after they won possession just outside the Hungary area, Shaqiri slipped ball to Steven Zuber who slotted his shot past Gulacsi for the third in the 43rd minute.

Zuber struck again four minutes after the break following another mistake by Gulacsi who got a hand to the Swiss player’s dipping shot only to see it drop into the net.

Richard Guzmics pulled one back in the 58th minute with a hooked effort although Gulacsi’s opposite number Yann Sommer was at fault for only palming away a corner.

Stephan Lichtsteiner drilled home Switzerland’s fifth in the 83rd minute before Roland Ugrai pulled another back for Hungary after Sommer flapped at another corner on an unhappy night for goalkeepers.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Rex Gowar)

Finch confident Maxwell will find T20 form

Aaron Finch has backed Glenn Maxwell to end his wretched run of form which continued with another disappointing showing against India.

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Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has claimed Maxwell’s wicket all four times he’s batted on the tour, needing just 17 balls to do so.

Maxwell fell to him again in Sunday’s first T20 international defeat in Ranchi for 17, as Australia’s middle order again folded and lost the match.

It was a rank long-hop which Maxwell pulled straight to mid-wicket that ended his innings – a shot that summed up his recent struggles with the bat.

Finch said his Victoria teammate has dominated bowling attacks in Indian conditions before and can do it again with two matches remaining in the series.

“I don’t think it’s far away,” Finch said.

“I think just a few game plan tinkers here and there would go a long way to probably just taking the pressure off himself,” Finch said.

“He probably feels as though people expect him to strike at 200 like everyone knows that he can, and hit six after six.”

Maxwell returned to the Australian line-up after being dropped for the final two ODIs due to a lack of runs.

After starting the series with 39 off 18 balls in a rain-shortened match in Chennai, Maxwell made 14 and 5 before selectors wielded the axe.

“It’s obviously always tough when somebody gets dropped, I’ve been there I know the feeling too well,” Finch said.

“Particularly when you’re on tour, you tend to go insular but he was the exact opposite.”

With the injured Steve Smith heading back to Australia, Maxwell batted at No. 3 in the T20.

Finch said the new role for a predominantly middle order player would take some adjustment.

“Batting No. 3 is a different responsibility in this format for him,” Finch said.

“It is a different role and can take a little bit of time to get your head around.”

Maxwell and the Australian team need to rebound quickly to save a second series loss in India, with the must-win second T20 in Guwahati on Tuesday.

Leeds stun Castleford in Super League GF

Danny McGuire insisted he had no regrets about his decision to leave Leeds after he inspired the Rhinos to a record-extending eighth Super League title.

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The veteran halfback was playing in his final match for his hometown club and he produced a kicking masterclass to guide Leeds to a 24-6 victory over Castleford in the grand final.

McGuire added a brace of tries and two drop-goals to deservedly win a second Harry Sunderland Trophy in three years.

The 34-year-old helped launch Leeds’ golden era with a title-clinching try against Bradford in 2004 and has made a habit of saving his best for Old Trafford.

But the Rhinos will defend their crown in 2018 without their captain after allowing him to join Hull KR.

“I made the decision and I’ve got to stick by it,” said McGuire. “The new challenge is going to be good for me.”

Like Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai in 2015, McGuire – along with his long-time halfback partner Rob Burrow – enjoyed the perfect ending to his Leeds career.

Castleford had won their previous eight meetings with their big-city neighbours and eased to League Leaders’ Shield success but the Tigers had no answer to grand final experts Leeds on their maiden Old Trafford appearance.

McGuire, who also laid on the first of two tries for Tom Briscoe, admitted he could not have dreamt of a better finish.

It was a humbling first grand final experience for Castleford, who finished 10 points clear of nearest challengers Leeds in the Super League table.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t do ourselves justice,” said coach Daryl Powell.

“If we’d done that and got beat then you can hold your hands up and say ‘fair enough’.

“Leeds didn’t see the best of us tonight and massively deserved the win. But they didn’t have much to beat.”