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.

Ashes Diary: Trott under the collar for Cook

Sometimes it's the little things that say so much. Plenty has been written about this England side's unity, but actions speak louder than words and yesterday Jonathan Trott stepped up to the plate, as I believe they put it in a game not entirely dissimilar to cricket. Noticing at the change of over that Alastair Cook's collar was a little askew, the South African-born batsman leant over and corrected it. Now that's team spirit.

Ashes Diary: Tait turns his back on full five days – and so it seems do Aussie crowds

The mood is grim in Australia. After the euphoria of day three, day four proved what Englishmen hoped and Australians feared: the home attack will struggle to bowl England out this summer without the aid of freakish good luck or sloppiness from the visitors. If only the Aussies had a gun-fast bowler to call on who could turn England over.

The Gabba: History against England in the first Test

In one of the stories about the origins of the informal name of the Brisbane cricket ground it means “fight talk place.” That is apparently the translation of the word Woolloongabba, actually the name of the suburb where the ground stands and known to all and sundry as The Gabba.

Ponting meets Pietersen in heavyweight battle for glory

With Australia's captain showing signs that his once impregnable guard is down, the tourists will need their talisman to land a knockout blow, says James Lawton

England can take heart from Gabba green-top

The state of Graeme Swann's thumb may have occupied English thoughts in Perth, but over on the other side of Australia there came a more telling pointer as to what could await come 25 November and day one of the Ashes in Brisbane.

Strauss comes out slugging to hit one-day doubters down the ground

England captain's place is supposedly under threat ahead of the World Cup but his tactical nous and remodelled game mean it should not even be an issue

Swann puts new spin on ball of the century

Farhat falls to perfect off-break that evokes memories of Warne's leggie to Gatting in '93

Henry Olonga: He has a love for Zimbabwe even now. But while Mugabe is alive, he knows he can't return

Olonga stunned cricket and the wider world when he donned a black armband at the World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in his homeland. Seven years on, he has told his life story to Derek Clements

Steve Easterbrook: An appetite for more growth at McDonald's UK

The Business Interview: As the head of McDonald's Northern European division, he has led rapid growth

Plunkett in the groove as Durham battle back

Essex 484 Durham 83-1

On the Front Foot: Finns aren't what they used to be as First Test team is leaked

Only nuclear codes are protected more zealously than the identity of an England Test team. "We will name the XI on the morning of the match," runs the well-rehearsed line of captains (whoever they are) and coach Andy Flower. Sometimes it is delivered with the hint of a sardonic smile. Sometimes the impression is given that nuclear codes should be available to all but that if the England team sheet fell into the wrong hands then world cataclysm would follow. Imagine, then, how perplexed the chaps were on Thursday night in Chittagong when news of the team leaked. For once, it was of slightly more than passing interest because it contained the 20-year-old, hot off the plane from London, fast bowler Steve Finn but not the off-spinner James Tredwell, who had waited patiently for this moment. It was as if they were naming a team for the Waca at Perth rather than the Divisional Stadium. Regardless of this and the realistic supposition that they could have thrown all the names of the squad (and backroom staff) up into the air and still come up with a team to defeat Bangladesh, the identity of the leaker was a mystery. Clearly, somebody within the camp must have told somebody who then told somebody else, who then put it on the blogosphere. A senior figure at Sky seemed to know early on, while Mike Atherton, commentator, recently ennobled as sports journalist of the year and a former England captain, was trying desperately not to reveal the team, which he knew because he was presenting the caps to the two new players the following morning. Atherton observed the proprieties all right. Mischief, however, was soon afoot. Somebody blogged or tweeted or texted or facebooked or just plain wrote that Tredwell and Finn would be making their debuts (wrong with the former, right with the latter) and a national newspaper put the information on its website. The world kept turning. Unless there are exceptional circumstances (injuries, nuclear codes falling into enemy hands) England should name their team the day before the match.

Strauss has much to learn from two great captains

Graeme Smith took on a wave of English hostility yesterday as he refused to walk when he was still a long way from a brilliant, clubbing 20th Test century and then he sat with his big shoulders hunched watching lightning flashes light up the storm-laden highveld sky.

No ICC action over 'ball-tampering'

England will face no action over yesterday's ball-tampering controversy in the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, the International Cricket Council said today.

Beat Boks and then we party, says Strauss

South Africa are top of tree but England can knock them down a branch or two

Ideal Rashid is ready to turn heads

One-day side still needs fine-tuning but emerging all-rounder can help to provide balance
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