Ricky Ponting in action for Surrey

Ricky Ponting struggles for grand farewell with Notts on top

Surrey 198 Nottinghamshire 50-0

Editorial: The high price of payday loans

It is better to have lending in the legal economy than drive it into the criminal underworld

California couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier who took gay marriage ban to court get married just an hour after legal ruling

The lead plaintiffs in the US Supreme Court case that overturned California's same-sex marriage ban tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, about an hour after a federal appeals court freed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

James Pattinson celebrates the dismissal of Chris Jones

Somerset 320 & 260 Australians 321-5dec & 36-0: James Pattinson’s looking a real Ashes threat

An early term report on Australia’s progress might say: “Good, room for improvement, none for complacency.” The tourists are steamrollering Somerset in the first match of the Ashes tour but Somerset have suffered similar crushings already this season by their Championship peers.

Guitarist Wang Hongbin performing on the Tesla Coil

A truly electrifying performance

A Chinese band have really thrown down the gauntlet for musicians when it comes to spine-tingling performances.

James Foster’s 143 continued a fine run of form for Essex

County Cricket Round-Up

Batsman of the Day

Kevin Pietersen celebrates his 177 not out against Yorkshire

'Genius' Kevin Pietersen fires big ton to make Ashes statement of intent

Any notion that Kevin Pietersen might need a knock or two to rediscover his touch after 100 days without a competitive innings need no longer concern England pre-Ashes. After two days in the field, his right knee apparently fully recovered from the deep-seated bone bruising that had laid him low since the second Test in Wellington in March, Pietersen went about his primary business with bat in hand and responded with 177 not out, his 48th first-class hundred and his ninth biggest.

Essex v Lancashire match report: Essex skittled for just 20 on day of humiliation

Essex 273 & 20 (Mickleburgh 10; Chapple 5-9); Lancashire 398 (Katich 122; Masters); 4-72 Lancashire win by an innings and 105 runs

Syrian rebels 'gain control' of a key military base in Hama

Syrian rebels have gained control of a key military base in the central Hama province after intense clashes with regime forces, activists said.

'Near apocalyptic' dust storm causes 27-vehicle pileup, killing lorry driver and leaving several others fighting for their lives

Blinded by dust as the storm tore across Interstate 80, vehicles began ploughing into each other, dramatically stretching limited emergency resources in sparsely populated Humboldt County, Nevada

Matthew Fisher becomes youngest county cricket star aged 15

Fifteen-year-old Matthew Fisher today became county cricket's youngest post-war player after he was handed his senior debut by Yorkshire.

Protesters clashing with riot police in Istanbul

Turkey protests continue despite Deputy Prime Minister's apology over police's 'excessive violence'

Politicians accused of giving mixed signals in bid to quell anti-government protests

Caleb McGillivary is accused of killing Joseph Galfy at his home

'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker' denies murdering 73-year-old lawyer

A man who gained internet fame as “Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker” has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

Ricky Ponting’s 192 was not enough to hand Surrey their first win

'Small-town club' Derbyshire fume at Surrey's lucky Ricky Ponting

Derbyshire 452 & 164-3 Surrey 553-8 dec

Centurion Adam Lyth has an average of 47.6 against Somerset
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'