News The tone in the Sky Sports commentary box these days is like a dressing-room banter free-for-all

The first session of the First Test has often proved a pivotal passage of play in Ashes series Down Under. Even the first ball; Steve Harmison’s wide to second slip in 2006, or Michael Slater smashing Phil DeFreitas through cover point for four in 1994. It tends to “set the tone”, as the pundits like to say – and the tone in the Sky Sports commentary box these days is like a dressing-room banter free-for-all.

Masterly Batting: 100 Great Test centuries, by Patrick Ferriday & Dave Wilson

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.

James Anderson during England practice on Wednesday

Ashes 2013: Former pace bowler Bob Willis happy to be overtaken by James Anderson ‘the magician’

James Anderson’s 10 wickets in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge showed he is England’s “magician”, according to the former pace bowler Bob Willis. His spellbinding deliveries could oust Willis from the No 2 spot in the list of England’s top Test wicket-takers at Lord’s over the next five days.

Jimmy Anderson had reached a triple-century of Test wickets, a fellow member of the 300 club was predicting he would take a further 150 for England

James Anderson: Plenty to come as King of Swing joins the 300 club

Anderson joins elite England few and is backed by Botham to reach more milestones

James Anderson of England celebrates dismissing Peter Fulton of New Zealand to take his 300th test match wicket

James Anderson takes 300th Test wicket

Bowler joins Fred Trueman, Bob Willis and Ian Botham by reaching his triple-century of Test victims

Sir Ian Botham has been in town this week

On the Front Foot: How cricket especially likes to keep things in the family

When Hamish Rutherford steps out for New Zealand at Dunedin on Wednesday he will be the 47th player whose father also played Test cricket. The game has a long tradition of keeping it in the family that shows no sign of fading.

Old friends are reunited but England fail to click in ODI opener against New Zealand

New Zealand 259-7 England 258 (New Zealand win by three wickets)

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, right, salutes the crowd as he walks off with Martin Guptill after defeating England by three wickets

Alistair Cook praises New Zealand duo

England were ambushed by 'wounded soldier' Martin Guptill as New Zealand won the first one-day international by three wickets.

Alastair Cook: The England captain has reached 23 Test hundreds at 27 years of age

Praise pours in for 'amazing' Alastair Cook

Captain breaks 73-year record for England centuries to earn plaudits from across the cricketing world

'Clearly, we’re going to have a look at selection. We might have got it wrong” Alastair Cook, England captain

Alastair Cook: Everyone’s got to have a look at themselves to turn series around

The heroic captain knew it was not enough and he knew where it had all gone wrong. Alastair Cook made 176 from 374 balls but it was a first innings that in total mustered only 15 runs more which sent England plummeting to defeat.

Stuart Broad

Sir Ian Botham hits back at Stuart Broad after Twitter rant at England critics

Broad took to Twitter this morning to take a swipe at "too many ex playing 'experts' being negative" about England

<b>Aston Villa 2-4 Chelsea </b><br/>
Aston Villa fans give a standing ovation during the 19th minute in support of club captain Stiliyan Petrov who was diagnosed with acute leukemia last week.

Stiliyan Petrov pays visit to Aston Villa training ground

Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov has paid his first visit to the club's training ground since being diagnosed with acute leukaemia and is in "good spirits", according to first-team coach Gordon Cowans.

JAMES ANDERSON: The England fast bowler dropped two catches on day one at Galle

Accurate Anderson first to pass the 250 mark since Botham

To be spoken of in the same breath as Brian Statham is an accolade few deserve. Statham was one of the greatest fast bowlers who ever lived. Jimmy Anderson deserves it.

Diary: Labour plan Mensch seat grab

Those who, like me, have grown used to Louise Mensch, Conservative MP for Corby, appearing in their Select Committee daydreams may be concerned to learn that Labour is keen to win her seat back. Corby is a marginal, which Mensch snatched from Labour's Phil Hope by fewer than 2,000 votes last year. And last week Labour selected its new candidate, Andy Sawford, son of another former Labour MP. This is very early in the electoral cycle for a constituency party to pick its champion. I do hope her local challenger won't distract Mrs Mensch from her pursuit of Piers Morgan and/or the writing of her next racy novel.

County round-up: Pyrah plays Botham role 30 years to day

The challenge for the writer here was to resist making any strained references to Headingley 1981 on the 30th anniversary of one of Test cricket's most remarkable comebacks but Yorkshire made it impossible. Moreover, no contrivance was necessary.

It was 30 years ago today: England surely must lose but Beefy and Bob prove that miracles do happen

From the magic of Botham to Willis' heroics, five protagonists of the unforgettable third Test at Headingley recall day-by-day how home side conjured greatest comeback in cricket history against Australia
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent