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The Sport Matrix: Thursday 1 August 2013

Cook refuses to consider series win before third Test

Alastair Cook has insisted England will take their time as the third Test starts at Old Trafford today, with the home side on the verge of retaining the Ashes.

A draw means England hold on to the urn, but Cook, right, says the result will take care of itself.

“It is a great opportunity we have,” he said. “It is very exciting. We have obviously earned the right to get into this position as a team. But you cannot start thinking about anything else. We break it down and we have to not get carried away.

“One of the strengths we do have as a side is trying to break it down into as small things as we can. One hour at a time, not looking too far ahead.”

Kevin Pietersen faces a late fitness test before today’s start, with James Taylor standing by for an Ashes debut. MORE

last six ashes matches at old trafford

Aug 1981 England won by 103 runs

Aug 1985 Match drawn

July/Aug 1989 Australia won by nine wickets

June 1993 Australia won by 179 runs

July 1997 Australia won by 268 runs

Aug 2005 Match drawn

Ennis-Hill forced out of Worlds

Jessica Ennis-Hill has been forced to miss this month’s World Championships in Moscow after failing to recover sufficiently from recent Achilles and heel problems. “To say I am gutted is an understatement,” the heptathlete said. “No athlete likes to miss a major championships.” MORE

Final-round error costs Hunt gold

A poor entry on his final routine cost Gary Hunt gold in the high diving World Championships, though his silver was Britain’s first medal of the event. He lost out by 0.9 points to Colombian Orlando Duque, after leading the nine-time World Series champion ahead of the final round. MORE

Gerrard: Suarez vital to Reds season

Steven Gerrard admits the success of Liverpool’s season rests on the future of Luis Suarez. “Where we sit now, it all depends on what decision Suarez makes,” the captain said. “If we lose him the challenge becomes more difficult. It’s that simple.” MORE

Australia can win series, says Clarke

Michael Clarke still believes that Australia can turn around a 2-0 deficit and reclaim the Ashes. “We have to be at our best,” the Australia captain said. “I honestly believe we can win this series. Our backs are against the wall but if we play our best cricket we can give it a real shake.” MORE

Toronado swoops for Sussex success

Toronado gained revenge over Dawn Approach as he finally beat the favourite on day two of Glorious Goodwood. The three-year-old, trained by Richard Hannon, produced a late surge to take the Sussex Stakes by half a length yesterday. MORE

Hodgson to coach England Under-21s

England manager Roy Hodgson will take charge of the Under-21 side for the friendly with Scotland on Tuesday week. He has taken on the role for the Bramall Lane encounter as a one-off while the FA decides on a successor to Stuart Pearce. MORE

Laudrup looking for clean sheet

Michael Laudrup admits a clean sheet is vital as Swansea play a first match on the European stage in 22 years tonight. “We want to win,” he said ahead of the Europa League qualifier at home to Malmo. “But we know it’s important not to concede.”

Park has backing to make history

Inbee Park is grateful for the support she has received as she attempts to win a record fourth major of the year at St Andrews. “It’s amazing how many people are on my side,” the South Korean said ahead of the Women’s British Open. MORE

Altano the value bet in Cup clash

Provided he is kept close to the action, Altano can prove the value in the Goodwood Cup today against leading home hopes Mount Athos and Brown Panther. The latter could relish the step up in trip. MORE

James Lawton

With so much history in the air, Kevin Pietersen might consider it an opportune moment to make a powerful statement about why he remains, foibles and self-indulgences and all, such a compelling figure. MORE

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