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The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 20 March 2013

Compton enjoying opening with Cook

Nick Compton hopes his fine start to life as a Test opener with Alastair Cook will ensure his place for the Ashes series. The pair already sit 18th on the list of England's best opening pairs. "You go to bed thinking about the Ashes," he said. "You get full of exuberance." MORE

Taylor called up for injured Cahill

Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has been called up to the England squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers after Gary Cahill became the latest central defender to withdraw through injury. Michael Dawson and Rio Ferdinand had previously left the squad. MORE

Lampard has eye on century of caps

Frank Lampard will talk with England coach Roy Hodgson when he decides where he will play next season, in an effort to prolong his national career and reach 100 caps. "I want to do my best to try and put myself in the squad. That doesn't change wherever it might be." MORE

Newcastle cry foul over tackle ruling

Newcastle are to challenge the Football Association's ruling that they cannot take further action over the tackle by Wigan's Callum McManaman on Massadio Haïdara. "Current disciplinary procedures are not fit for purpose," Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias said. MORE

Northampton in talks with North

George North's agent has revealed Northampton are in talks with Scarlets to sign the winger. The 20-year-old has also been linked with a move to France. "There has been an approach between the clubs to discuss a possible transfer," his agent, Christian Abt, said.

Opinion: James Lawton

If Michael Owen didn't win as many caps or score as many goals as others, he had his own distinction. It came in blazing speed and a predatory touch no less thrilling because of its essential simplicity. MORE

Appleton latest to fall foul of Rovers' chicken farm

The soap opera that is Blackburn Rovers Football Club claimed another victim yesterday when Michael Appleton was sacked as manager, just two months after taking over at Ewood Park.

The 37-year-old, above, was giving his marching orders by letter on the orders of the club's "global adviser" Shebby Singh, whom he had never met. He becomes the third Rovers manager to be dismissed this season under the ownership of Venky's, departing with a record of four wins in 15 matches. The club won at Arsenal in the FA Cup last month but failed to win any of the eight subsequent matches. MORE

Widnes furious at Hock refusal

Widnes coach Denis Betts has criticised Wigan for refusing to let Gareth Hock play against them this week. Hock is on loan from Wigan and is barred from turning out on Saturday under his deal. "They must be afraid," Betts said.

England complain to IRB over referee

England's anger at the performance of referee Steve Walsh during last week's defeat to Wales has led them to complain to the IRB. "I'm annoyed at a number of outcomes," forwards coach Graham Rowntree said. "I need clarification. We're frustrated." MORE

Woods seeks a return to top spot

Tiger Woods aims to cement his comeback with a return to the world No 1 spot for the first time in two years. Woods, who this week confirmed his relationship with skiier Lindsey Vonn, would take top spot with a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. MORE

Millar warns of need to plan ahead

David Millar has implored British Cycling to do more to ensure GB's place at the top of the world remains. "We need to start looking at the base of the pyramid," he said. "We need to start focusing on creating more of our own racing scene." MORE

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