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.

Ashes Diary: Johnson pure box office for Boxing Day

Thank you, Mitchell Johnson. Not my words but those of Cricket Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide. Well, not his words, exactly, but that's undoubtedly what he's thinking after Johnson's brilliant spell in Perth rescued the MCG from the prospect of a moderate Boxing Day crowd. That looked very possible before Australia's win in the third Test, when one Melbourne newspaper ran an online poll asking respondents if they would bother going to the Test should England have wrapped up the Ashes by then. Most responded in the negative.

The Ashes: The fiercest rivalries

The 2010/11 Ashes are nearly upon us as England look to retain the urn against Australia.

Prior: England will not enter sledging contest

The Ashes and sledging go together like stumps and bails but England are seemingly determined to for once avoid any slanging match with Australia. Matt Prior, the visiting wicketkeeper, insists that if one-liners and wise-cracks rear their head over the next three months, they will come from the home team.

England intend to avoid sledging during the Ashes

England intend to avoid sledging tactics and let their cricketing ability do the talking for them in the Ashes this winter.

Yorkshire's title hopes rest on Key generosity

Yorkshire 261 & 51-1 Kent 302

Strauss shines to secure thrilling victory for England – and cricket

Pakistan 294-8 England 295-6

England can be one-day wonders of the World

Amid the hullabaloo, one small matter has been easily overlooked. England have become unusually efficient at limited-overs cricket. Already world champions in the shortest form of it, there is no reason to doubt that they can make it a double in India next spring by winning the original version.

Pietersen fights fire with fire to steal show

Kevin Pietersen enjoyed some much-needed time in the middle at Hove yesterday as he searched for form ahead of the winter Ashes tour, scoring a brisk 116 off 105 balls for his new county, Surrey.

James Lawton: England must find the consistency of natural-born winners

It says a lot for the development of England under Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss that there will scarcely be a breath of selection controversy at Trent Bridge over the next few days.

Pakistanis stagger over the line to make history

Heartstopping first victory over the Australians in 15 years but Ponting claims confidence is not dented, writes Stephen Brenkley in Leeds

Nervous Pakistan square series

Pakistan secured their first Test win against Australia in 15 years after they nervously knocked off the 40 runs they required on the fourth morning at Headingley.

88 all out: Australia reduced to rubble

England take heart with Ashes looming as Pakistan rip through opponents' fragile batting

Don't be afraid (or Afridi) of Aussies

Pakistan are usual shambles but Ashes pointers for England are that Ponting's men are not all-powerful

Round-up: Payne's seven-wicket haul in vain as Essex triumph

Gloucestershire teenager David Payne took four wickets in as many balls but it was not enough to stop his side from suffering a 42-run defeat to Essex in their Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Chelmsford.

County Championship round-up: Notts are quick to dispose of Kent

Nottinghamshire set down an early marker in the County Championship, completing victory by the new 16-point maximum over Kent with almost a day and a half to spare.

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

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English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

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