Snakes and Ladders: England's quest to reach top of game
Tuesday 31 May 2011
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: KP may have his problems with left-arm spinners but he is a whiz when it comes to keepy-uppy. We counted nine on the trot, so to speak, during a warm-up session – maybe Chelsea will pay England a handsome transfer fee.
Up: You can never have too many batsmen in good form – and Ian Bell looks ready to enjoy a summer of heavy scoring on the evidence of his sweetly struck unbeaten 103 at Sophia Gardens.
Downp: The list of candidates to replace side strain victim Jimmy Anderson in Friday's second Test is no longer quite so long. Well, not if Ajmal Shahzad's figures for Yorkshire against Sussex (31-2-145-1) are anything to go by.
Up: Who needs five bowlers? Or four? Or three for that matter? With Jimmy Anderson not on the field and Stuart Broad unable to do any damage, the deadly duo of Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann reduced Sri Lanka to nervous wrecks.
State of play on the snakes and ladders board: Jump forward two spaces England.
Paul Scholes: Frustrated Steven Gerrard should have started crucial game between Liverpool and Manchester United
Paul Scholes: It's amazing Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has so few caps for England
New kits for 2015/16: Have the Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona strips been leaked?
What time does WWE Wrestlemania 31 start? Full match card and predictions ahead of Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and Sting vs Triple H
England vs Lithuania: Theo Walcott 'at risk of being left behind' in Three Lions pecking order
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First