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.

Rugby Union: Greenwood at centre of speculation

Leicester powerhouse's return leaves England coach Woodward with wealth of choice.

Cricket: The man who chooses to dream

England's supreme selector has a mission: to play the Aussies at their own game and beat them

Paper back to old formula

IT HAS been quite a week for The Sun - and it's not over yet. Going back to a tried-and-tested tabloid formula the newspaper has so far "stitched up" the comedian Lenny Henry, the cricketer Ian Botham, the royal bride Sophie Rhys-Jones and Chris Tarrant, the disc jockey and TV presenter.

The Brian Viner Interview: Botham's macho menace survives

THERE IS, I confess, a flutter of apprehension as I wait to face Ian Botham. The last time we met, at Edgbaston four years ago, I incurred his wrath by asking a question, deemed inappropriate, about his son Liam. The wrath of Botham is not pretty, although at least he didn't chase me round a car park in a fury, as he is famously said to have done the former Australian captain Ian Chappell.

Cricket World Cup: Umpires add to confusion

IT STARTED with a shambles and ended with a streaker. And if the much-publicised "Anti-Streaker squad" recruited by Kent did not appear to be doing their stuff, nor were the umpires.

Cricket: Hollioake hones a positive outlook

England's former one-day captain plans to regain respect after dealing with bruised pride.

Cricket: Thorpe in overdrive

Northamptonshire 248 and 338 Surrey 286 and 301-2 Surrey won by eight wickets

Cricket: Botham's England warning

IAN BOTHAM has criticised England's decision to allow members of their World Cup squad to play in county matches during the build-up to this summer's tournament.

You ask the questions: Ian Botham

(Such as: Ian Botham, are you walking the London Marathon because you are not fit enough to run it?)

Cricket: 'Knackered...but the boys did it'

EVERYONE WAS jumping on the England bandwagon last night as it prepared to roll out of Melbourne and on to Sydney for the final Test of an Ashes series suddenly brought to life by yesterday's surprise outcome.

Parliament & Politics: Tories name donors giving over pounds 5,000

WEETABIX, THE makers of Ian Botham's favourite breakfast cereal, emerged yesterday as one of the main corporate backers of the Conservative Party.

Lifetime of achievement in 24 seasons

CRICKET DIARY

Cricket: DeFreitas driven by desire

Experienced campaigner inspires Derby's revival.

A rabbit out of his hat

PROFILE: George Carman; Tim Hulse wonders if the libel lawyer extraordinaire still possesses the same old adversarial magic

Media: CV - Neil Reading Founder, Neil Reading PR

I wanted to go to drama school: I was always in school productions, and took classes at evening and weekends. I got two O-levels, and then went into the sixth form, but after a couple of months I felt I left.
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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

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

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Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee