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.

There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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South Africa
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Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
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Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

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

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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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
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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
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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
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The man who hunts giants

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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