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.

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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.

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.

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: 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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