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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 09 July 2013

Cook admits to  first Test nerves –and excitement

England captain Alastair Cook yesterday spoke of his excitement ahead of the first Ashes Test against Australia, which begins this morning at Trent Bridge.

England have a superb opportunity of winning three Ashes series in a row, having prevailed in 2009 and 2011, and boast plenty of experience. All England’s squad except for Joe Root, above, and Jonny Bairstow have played in Ashes series.

Today’s Test is the first of 10 over the next seven months and Cook said yesterday: “There is excitement and a few nerves floating around – I think those are the two favourite words  that are going to be used come tomorrow morning – nerves  and excitement.”

“I think you are remembered for your Ashes performance,” Cook added. “In eight weeks’ time, I’d love to be sitting at  The Oval having won the Ashes. That’s the ultimate aim as an English captain. You join a very elite band of cricketers who could say that.”  MORE

Cavendish suffers setback after crash

Mark Cavendish missed out on yet another stage win when a combination of misfiring tactics and a collision conspired to relegate him to third on the  10th stage. Sky’s Chris Froome, however, finished in the peloton to retain the overall leader’s yellow jersey. MORE

Collingwood: This is our Olympics

Paul Collingwood believes the Ashes series “are like the Olympics”. The former England all-rounder, who played the last of his 16 Ashes Tests in Sydney in 2011, said: “It brings that extra pressure, nervousness. The speculation and intensity is on another level.” MORE

Pietersen tipped to thrive once again

Alastair Cook believes Kevin Pietersen will hit top form on his  return to the England side for the first Ashes Test. “Although he’s been away from the game for a long period of time, he’s ready to play,” Cook said. “It won’t surprise me if he scores a hell of a lot of runs.” MORE

England hope to shine at Euros

England women’s team go into the European Championship in Sweden, which starts today, knowing they will need to be at their best to overturn Germany. England coach Hope Powell said: “We know we can beat the best nations in the world.” MORE

Laudrup to stay at Swansea after spat

The Swansea manager, Michael Laudrup, insists he will stay at the club after a summer bust-up and says he rejected approaches from PSG, Monaco and Fenerbahce. Laudrup said: “I’ve said and confirmed many times I wanted to stay.” MORE

Suarez: I could remain in England

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has admitted that he is aware of interest from Arsenal and that it is not impossible he may yet stay in the Premier League. “There are two or three clubs who I think are interested,” Suarez said yesterday. MORE

Schwarzer signs for Chelsea

Mark Schwarzer has joined Chelsea on a one-year deal. The 40-year-old goalkeeper was a free agent after turning down a new contract offer at neighbours Fulham. “It’s a phenomenal club,” said Schwarzer yesterday. “I didn’t take much convincing.”

Haye and Fury set for showdown

David Haye and Tyson Fury will finally fight in a heavyweight bout on 28 September in Manchester. A statement released yesterday labelled the bout, “the biggest heavyweight encounter of 2013”. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

We should not write off Michael Clarke’s beleaguered side this summer. If Ashes history has taught us anything it is surely the folly of kicking an Australian when he is down. MORE

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