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.

Look and learn: Matt Prior watches as Hashim Amla plays another sublime shot on his way to an unbeaten 183

Amla class and Smith clout stand out

England 385 South Africa 403-2 (SA lead by 18 runs with 8 wkts left): England's celebrated bowling attack left in tatters as South African pair turn the First Test on its head

Graeme Smith is in line to become the most-capped Test captain

Evergreen Smith ready for third England scalp

Captains come and captains go. But Graeme Smith of South Africa seems to plough forever onward and upward. By the end of the series against England which begins at The Oval on Thursday, he will be the most enduring captain in Test history.

Misbah ul-Haq could make Pakistan the best Test side in the world within two years

Rajan's Wrong 'un: With Whatmore at his side Misbah may make Pakistan purr

He could plausibly make Pakistan the best Test side in the world within two years

England captain Andrew Strauss: 'I feel in good form but
I haven't performed well enough'

Defiant Strauss: I'm not stepping down in the middle of a series

He was disappointed and he was defiant. If he was going anywhere he was not saying so. It was neither the time nor the place. There was a series still on the line and, if it cannot be won by England now, it can be drawn.

Forearmed: 'We anticipate a long time in the field,' says Jimmy Anderson, leader of the England attack, 'and generally around the world we anticipate that'

England's bowlers must strike balance

History suggests tourists need five-man attack to counter pitch and heat

2012: Electricity, communications and water are cut off as temperatures plummet. Food supplies, especially for children, are said to be dangerously low, and many people are too scared to venture out

Robert Fisk: Is Homs an echo of what happened in Srebrenica?

No entry to the International Red Cross. Not yet. Maybe in a few days, when the area has been secured. Men and boys separated from the women and children. Streams of refugees. Women, children, the old, few males. Stories of men being loaded on to trucks and taken away. Destination unknown. Devastation. No journalists, no freedom of movement for the UN. The place was called Srebrenica.

Will Hawkes: Hampshire a bigger club than Essex? That's a bit rich...

County Focus: Incredibly, Chris Tremlett is the first Hampshire-born Hampshire cricketer to have played Test cricket for England in England

Robin Scott-Elliot: How Beefy used Operation BBQ to rescue English spirits

View From The Sofa: Botham: The Legend of '81, BBC 2

Will Hawkes: Non-stop rain and a deluge of stats adds up to one dull day

View From The Sofa: England v Sri Lanka, Sky Sports 1

Will Hawkes: Too much INXS and plenty of Floyd adds up to a tedious gig

View From The Sofa: Cricket AM, Sky Sports 1

On the Front Foot: Long Room, short fuse as MCC pays lip service to sledging

In an admirable attempt to clean up the game, the MCC and the England and Wales Cricket Board last week began to put their feet down.

Sport on TV: O'Brien hits a purple patch to become the hairo of Ireland

As if smashing England all round the park in Bangalore on Wednesday was not bad enough, Ireland's hero Kevin O'Brien then took his helmet off and revealed his purple quiff to celebrate his historic hundred off 50 balls. Perhaps Shane Warne's Advanced Hair Studio has taken on an acidhead stylist. Purple hair, green beards, orange sideburns – oh no, hang on. That's their natural colour.

Sport on TV: Harmison's wide of the mark but as usual Warne is bang on

Who needs 'Auld Lang Syne' any more? We're all doing the "Sprinkler" now, and the group hug with everyone jigging up and down. Four years ago Steve Harmison was spraying it around, now it's just champagne and Mitchell Johnson that are going all over the place. And for a change, we don't have to try and forget all about the auldest acquaintance in sport.

Sky's the limit for Strauss, who made England real contenders

Ashes holders are not a great team (yet) but remember just how far they have come since their humbling at Shane Warne's hands at the MCG in 2006

Captain: Why it's cricket's toughest job

It is not easy leading a losing side. I know, I played in enough of them and watched the pressure get to Gower, Atherton and Hussain in different ways.
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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor