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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 26 November 2013

Trott departs tour as England’s Ashes left in turmoil

England’s troubled start to their Ashes tour continued yesterday as Jonathan Trott returned home suffering from a stress-related illness. The batsman (right), who endured a torrid time against Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson during last week’s first Test defeat, left the England camp on Sunday shortly after the 381-run hammering at The Gabba.

Tensions between the two sides are at breaking point, following David Warner’s verbal attack on Trott, in which he called the second-innings display of the South African-born 32-year-old “pretty weak and pretty poor.” Warner has since admitted that he may have gone too far.

“I was aware that Jonathan struggled with these things,” England coach Andy Flower said. “He’s been managing it from the start of the tour. This condition didn’t pop up just before the first Test. He’s been dealing with these issues for his cricket career and dealt with them successfully.”

Ian Bell is likely to move up to No 3 for the second Test, which starts on Thursday week in Adelaide. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes are also options. MORE

Villa in fightback to earn derby draw

Ashley Westwood was the hero for Aston Villa last night as Paul Lambert’s side came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at neighbours West Bromwich Albion. Shane Long had scored two early goals, before Karim El Ahmadi and Westwood replied after the break. MORE

Wenger praises Ramsey comeback

Arsène Wenger has praised the part played by Aaron Ramsey in Arsenal’s fine form this season. “You have to give him credit for that transformation,” the Frenchman said. “That he could come back, never give up and convince everybody he has the needed quality.” MORE

Mourinho ready to play role of Scrooge

Jose Mourinho believes the hectic Christmas schedule could be decisive in determining the Premier League title race this season. “It’s a period where only the braves can survive because it’s hard,” the Chelsea manager said. “The squad can play a role, not just the team.” MORE

Lennon wary of ‘wounded’ Milan

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is under no illusions as to the threat posed by Milan tonight, despite the Italian side’s recent domestic struggles. “They’re always dangerous,” he said. “They’ll have pride. They could be a wounded animal. I don’t think they’ve got anything to prove.” MORE

How to keep the fans interested

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel cruised to yet another grand prix win on Sunday, further turning off viewers. David Tremayne suggests answers to the problems facing Formula One as the German threatens a long era of dominance. MORE

Rocky Creek to run in Cup at Newbury

Reynoldstown Chase winner Rocky Creek will represent Paul Nicholls in  the Hennessy Gold Cup this Saturday. The horse beat Houblon Des Obeaux in last February’s Ascot Chase and was one of 23 acceptors at the five-day declaration stage.

Shakes-Drayton could miss Games

The knee injury suffered by Perri Shakes-Drayton at August’s World Championships could keep the Briton out of the entire 2014 season, including the  Commonwealth Games. She said: “I have to remain really positive... I will be back.” MORE

Gloucester increase their Tongan party

Gloucester have bolstered their Tongan contingent by signing tight-head prop Sila Puafisi. The 25-year-old, who arrives from New Zealand side Tasman Makos, links up with compatriots Lua Lokotui and Sione Kalamafoni at Kingsholm. MORE

Legends support Clarke after fine

Former Australian greats Shane Warne and Matthew Hayden have criticised the ICC’s decision to fine captain Michael Clarke 20 per cent of his first Test match fee, after comments he made to England’s James Anderson.

Angus Fraser

Everyone with a love for sport will wish Jonathan Trott well but don’t expect him to be the last casualty. The unforgiving, win-at-all costs environment that prevails around sport will ensure this is not the case. MORE

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