Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Snakes & Ladders: England's quest to reach the top of the game

England have fixed their sights on becoming the world's No 1 Test team – and sooner rather than later. Given a good run of results, and a fair wind, they could be crowned by the end of a summer which sees them start against fourth-ranked Sri Lanka and then tackle leaders India. Knowing England, though, their journey from today in third spot is unlikely to be without its ups and downs. Or snakes and ladders. Independent Sport will monitor England's progress on a daily basis throughout the summer's seven Tests.

Up: Even the umpires are keen to see England get on with it (well, they were yesterday). Having admitted to a mistake on rainy Saturday when ordering tea to be taken during a rare spell of sunshine, Rod Tucker and Aleem Dar refused to let a bit of rain stop play.

Up: You can never have too many all-rounders. Jimmy Anderson, now playing cover drives off front foot and back like David Gower of old. Just needs to keep working at his bowling...

Up: England were so much in control while batting yesterday that coach Andy Flower and one-day captain Alastair Cook (with Andrew Strauss chipping in) were able to turn their thoughts to picking a one-day squad. Still, saves on hiring a meeting room.

Up: Plenty of glass at the Rose Bowl, but it all remained intact despite Matt Prior's duck. The TV cameras kept careful watch, mind – and England's keeper played along by raising his bat in mock anger.

Down: The tactic of giving the new ball to Chris Tremlett and relegating Stuart Broad to first change was not an instant success. Tremlett failed to strike in his preferred role and Broad did not respond with a flurry of wickets.

State of play on the snakes and ladders board: One step forward, England...