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.

Cricket: Atherton earns his moment of joy

New Zealand 124 & 191 England 383 England win by innings and 68 runs: SECOND TEST: England's trouncing of New Zealand by an innings and 68 runs takes embattled tourists into welcome territory

Cricket: Atherton unlikely to adopt a bold strategy

SECOND TEST: Caddick strives for recognition but Silverwood is ruled out as New Zealand look to turn defiance into attack

Cricket: Stewart's epic labour of glove

Derek Pringle studies the double life of England's singular success on tour

Botham inspires Irani to make recovery

Cricket

It's just not cricket: Botham Jnr sells his soul to rugby

The name is the same, but not the game. Liam Botham may be a chip off the old block but he is still his own man. There was no way that he could have emulated the feats of his father, former England Test cricket all-rounder Ian Botham, who singlehandedly, and in one bound, won the Ashes when Liam was just four years old, in 1981.

Sri Lanka approach Lamb

Allan Lamb, the former England batsman, is being targeted by Sri Lanka to run their international sides.

Cricket: Simpson slams English game

The former Australian coach Bob Simpson has hit out at the standard of English cricket and cited Ian Botham as one of the components in its decline.

Presenting the Sixes and Sevens XI

Simon O'Hagan selects a side to look back in anguish

Lord Donaldson calls for jury research

Research into how juries reach their verdicts was last night demanded by Lord Donaldson, the former Master of the Rolls, following the failure of Ian Botham and Allan Lamb's libel action against Imran Khan and the acquittal at a trial in Liverpool of four women accused of criminal damage after an attack on a British Aerospace Hawk jet.

Imran's 'humiliation and denigration of Botham'

Imran Khan, the former Pakistan cricket captain, "lashed out" at Ian Botham because he was horrified by the publicity given to his own confession of ball-tampering, the High Court was told yesterday.

Imran offers public apology to Botham

Imran Khan changed his tune again yesterday and admitted that his defence - a plea of justification - had failed. The dramatic climbdown came on the ninth day of the High Court cricket libel trial, as the real battle between England and Pakistan got under way at Lord's.

Cricketers' wives tell how charge of racism has upset family life

Emotions were running high on the seventh day of the Imran Khan libel hearing yesterday. There was laughter and tears as the wives of Allan Lamb and Ian Botham stepped into the witness box to stand by their men - followed by a hush as George Carman, QC, delivered a rousing speech to the jury.

Hammond under the microscope

BOOK OF THE WEEK

Reverse swing ball stumps QC in cricket libel case

CLARE GARNER

Khan v Lamb and Botham; Botham steps up to crease for libel battle

Ian Botham played a straight bat against his cricketing rival Imran Khan as he stood in the dock yesterday afternoon, denying that he was a racist and a ball-tamperer. The jury was well briefed on the lingo and aerodynamics of the game. Charles Gray QC, representing Mr Botham and Allan Lamb, delivered an ABC guide to cricket - even though he admitted that his definition of a twelfth man was wide of the mark.
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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
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Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
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A Syrian general speaks

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‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

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