Arts and Entertainment

Two hundreds this week by England batsmen in the warm-up games before the Ashes series starts in Brisbane on 21 November. But they will soon be forgotten, whereas to score a Test century is to be remembered forever.

Danny Cipriani, with girlfriend Kelly Brook

Marathon, pah! Try 16 pubs in five miles

A veteran of the notorious Otley Run sympathises with its victims

Kevin Pietersen needs at least two first-class games before the Ashes

Kevin Pietersen may 'consider his future' after the Ashes suggests Andrew Flintoff

The England batsman is currently struggling with injury

County Championship round-up: It's an Aussie one-two as Ed Cowan pips George Bailey to 50

The first County Championship half-century of an Ashes summer was scored, appropriately, by an Australian, pipping another to the mark by moments. Ed Cowan, the man likely to open the batting for Michael Clarke's team in the first Test at Trent Bridge in July, marked his first appearance on that ground for Nottinghamshire by passing 50 in the 20th over against Middlesex, an over ahead of George Bailey, Australia's Twenty20 captain, on his Hampshire debut against Leicestershire at the Ageas Bowl. Bailey fell seven runs short of a debut century.

Steven Finn

Steven Finn determined to cement England place ahead of Ashes

Finn acknowledges that competition for places is fiercer than ever

Jason Bent, Simon Brodkin's spoof footballer, being taken off the pitch

A different kind of comic strip: comedian warms up with Manchester City before Everton game

Simon Brodkin may be known as the star of BBC3’s Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People, but now he’s found a new avenue of fame, as a sporting prankster.

New Zealand v England first Test: England produce abject batting performance

Tourists all out for 167 in first innings

England fight back after wicket drought against India in fourth Test

Fourth test, Nagpur, day three: England 330 (145.5 overs), India 297-8 (130.1 overs)

Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting's fine timing returns as he is first of three greats to see game is up

Ponting retires at the right time but will Tendulkar and Kallis follow his lead?

'The way Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann worked out the wicket was great'

Down the years it has been possible to lament the death of English spin bowling. It was probably interred around 35 years ago somewhere close to a seaming Headingley green top. That would teach it for interfering where it was patently no longer either desired or sought.

Kevin Pietersen’s England central contract formally ended last night

Public apology the price of Kevin Pietersen's England return

Restoring trust is key in a make-or-break week for resolving a dispute that has drained Flower

Kevin Pietersen has appeared disgruntled but still kept up his form with the bat

Central-contract deadline looming for England batsman Kevin Pietersen

The clock is ticking on Kevin Pietersen's status as a centrally-contracted England cricketer.

Batsman Andrew Strauss

England captain Andrew Strauss retires from professional cricket

Andrew Strauss today described his decision to step down as England Test captain as being in the "best interest" of the national team.

England's Stuart Broad (C) reacts during the fourth day of the third International Test cricket match between England and South Africa at Lord's

It should be five Tests, not three, to decide the world's best team

Anybody still think a substandard one-day series with Australia in June was a good idea?

Gareth Batty celebrates taking the wicket of Steven Crook

County Championship round-up: Batty leaves it late to lift Surrey's chances of survival

Surrey gave themselves a fighting chance of preserving their place in the First Division with a tense eight-run win over Middlesex at The Oval, where they had their opponents on the brink of defeat at 197 for 9 chasing 254 to win but then took 29 overs to claim the last wicket.

Rory Burns hit a second century in his eighth first-class match

Surrey pair break batting records against arch-rivals

In a bleak season, some beacons of hope shine for Surrey. Two left-handers, both Surrey-born, combined to set a partnership record with a century apiece at The Oval yesterday to give their side at least a chance of easing their relegation fears with a win over their nearest neighbours.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?