There was, for the first time in his Test career and perhaps his life, a moment’s hesitation in Ben Stokes. He had come off the field after taking 6 for 99 in his fourth Test match and was asked if he relished the fray.

James Lawton: Banishment of brilliant young hope Amir is the greatest scandal of all

The ICC put three cricketers in the dock but you have to ask the whereabouts of the people who were in charge of Amir's well-being

Sport on TV: Can Fred Flintoff avoid image of TV presenters as cavemen?

So what has Andrew Flintoff been doing while his old muckers have been winning the Ashes? After a decade of straining every sinew, quite literally, for his country, you might think he would put his feet up. But instead he has entered another world where the capacity to inflict pain is even greater: TV presenting.

Andrew Flintoff urges Paul Collingwood to take break

Former England captain Andrew Flintoff believes Paul Collingwood should return home early after his poor tour of Australia to focus on the World Cup.

Minor British Institutions: Fish fingers

Ah, the British and food. It doesn't much matter what it is, as long as it's inside something: bread, breadcrumbs, batter, pastry, packet. And if it's easy and good for a laugh as well, bingo. Thus the fish finger, the frozen digit stapled into our lives from weaning (unless you're Nigella, who didn't taste one until she was 19).

The Ashes are won! But did England teach the Aussies how to party?

Even without Flintoff, players (and Barmy Army) hit Sydney for six

Fingers on the buzzer! The <i>IoS</i> bumper Boxing Day quiz of 2010

Who could forget Gaga's gory frock, the X Factor talent, or spring's very strange political liaison (and we don't mean the coalition). Matthew Bell tests your knowledge of the news, people and stinging insults that make the past 12 months a time to remember. (Answers at the bottom of the page)

Sport on TV: Fast cars, guns and moonshine. What more could a man want?

So they haven't selected the new Stig from the Stig Farm yet. Top Gear (BBC2, Tuesday) has yet to replace Ben Collins, who outed himself as the show's stormtrooper-lookalike boy racer in his autobiography – an act that was regarded as so abject by the BBC that it was as if Santa Claus had whipped off his fake beard to reveal that he had been Noel Edmonds all along (the clue was in the name).

On the Front Foot: High time to remember the tie that helped save Test cricket

In all the fuss about you know what, an important anniversary has been so far overlooked in Brisbane. It is 50 years since the first tied Test was played at the Gabba to open what became the most thrilling series of the 20th century. In December 1960, Australia were left with 233 to win on the final day against West Indies. First-innings hundreds had been scored by Gary Sobers for the visitors and Norman O'Neill for the home side. Allan Davidson had taken 11 wickets in the match for Australia but Wes Hall ran through their second innings on the fifth morning. With the home side at 92 for 6 it seemed that West Indies must win, before Davidson marshalled an astonishing recovery, so that at 226 for 6 it seemed that Australia must win. But Davidson was run out by a direct hit from Joe Solomon and Australia needed six runs to win from the final (eight-ball) over, bowled by Hall. Three wickets fell while five runs were added, the ninth going down as the batsmen tried for a third, winning, run and the 10th off the seventh ball, another direct hit from Solomon. The match and the series which followed helped to save Test cricket (as this series might). It was 1-1 going into the final Test, and the home side won it by two wickets. There is a dinner in Brisbane next month, but it would have been something to celebrate when cricket was in town.

Angus Fraser's England Ashes XI (apologies Athers)

The former fast bowler turns selector &ndash; here is his team from his three decades of playing in and watching battles for the urn

Ashes quiz answers

1. How many wickets did Wilfred Rhodes take in England's 4-1 victory in 1911-12?


Surrey snap up Pietersen for next summer

Kevin Pietersen has signed for Surrey for the 2011 domestic season. The England batsman played for the county in the final few months of the 2010 season, having been released by Hampshire. Pietersen said he was "delighted" to have signed.

Leading article: Follow on

The first ball of the Ashes series has not even been bowled, but already the mind games have begun.

Bad light mars play as Aussies make silly point

Council threatens to sue over publicity stunt for the Ashes tour

Adam Gilchrist says England start Ashes as favourites

Adam Gilchrist believes England should start favourites to win this winter's Ashes series.

Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own