Sport

What a fine mess English cricket finds itself in. Yet for supporters of a certain age, the last two months in Australia have just been a return to normal service.

Steven Finn broke New Zealand's resistance

Angus Fraser deserves credit for unleashing Steven Finn's growing aggression

When a cricketer suffers poor form, his wisest move is usually to speak to those who know his game best.

Pair of aces: Joe Root (left) is congratulated by Jonny Bairstow after hitting a four to bring up his maiden Test century against New Zealand yesterday

Local hero leaves Nick Compton with plenty to think about

Try to avoid thinking about pink elephants and you can be sure of the image that will pop into your mind. The more you seek to escape a train of thought, the more closely you follow it.

Alastair Cook must recapture the touch he had early in his captaincy

Edgy England need Alastair Cook in form

Kevin Pietersen will be welcomed back but captain is key for a side whose batting is wobbling worryingly

Ian Bell is expected to recover from tonsillitis in time to play for England in the second Test against New Zealand

Ian Bell to recover in time to play for England in the second Test against New Zealand

Ian Bell is expected to recover from tonsillitis in time to play for England in the second Test against New Zealand starting on Friday.

Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan are both recalled to the England squad to face New Zealand

Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan return for New Zealand series

Duo back in 12-man England squad after missing Tour of New Zealand

Joe Root played a captain’s innings for the England Lions

New Zealand 285 England Lions 219-2 report: England to stick not twist as Joe Root is still pulling up trees

England will announce their first Test squad of the summer on Saturday. The chairman of selectors, Geoff Miller, will not be required to learn new lines.

James Taylor could be the man to fill England's middle order hole

There is less than a week until what for many is the true start of the cricketing summer, the first Test Match of the year, and yet there is still some uncertainty about the composition of England's batting lineup.

Fawad Ahmed: 'I'm happy in Australia. I'm looking forward. Now i have a new life and this is a new era'

Australia's spin options for the Ashes

Since the retirement of Shane Warne, the Baggy Greens have struggled to fill the void

Despite a couple of scares Kevin Pietersen made 68 by lunch

Confusion surrounds Kevin Pietersen injury: England batsman out of third Test in New Zealand and IPL with knee problem - will he miss the Ashes too?

Management handling of ailment picked up three weeks ago leads to doubts over return

New Zealand v England: Stuart Broad and Matt Prior keep tourists in control

England wicket-keeper Matt Prior struck an outstanding innings of 82 to put the tourists in a strong position after day two of the Second Test against New Zealand.

Despite a couple of scares Kevin Pietersen made 68 by lunch

Second Test: Kevin Pietersen takes over after England lose their concentration and early wickets

New Zealand fight back following opening day dominated by marker for the future from Compton

A frustrated Alastair Cook in New Zealand

England captain Alastair Cook labelled a 'genius' by Brendon McCullum

England play New Zealand in the second Test from tonight

New Zealand v England first Test: Steven Finn heroics can't cure England of first Test syndrome

England 167 & 421-6 drew with New Zealand 460-9 dec: Nightwatchman secures the draw but tourists still don't know how to remedy cardinal defect

New Zealand v England first Test: England produce abject batting performance

Tourists all out for 167 in first innings

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz