- The moment of truth: can vibrant new England survive Australia onslaught? | Mike Selvey
England have been transformed by a new aggressive approach but will be tested by Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc when the Ashes series starts at Cardiff The next month or so will show just how far the vibrant new England have come: whether the cultural transformation infused in the team (and through it, the cricket-following public) during the first part of the summer is a permanent marking or whether it will be washed away under a pace-bowling onslaught. The Test series against New Zealand, and the white-ball matches that followed, were a revelation, the counterpunching partnership at Lord’s between Joe Root and Ben Stokes, where the side were in dire trouble at 30 for four, something that may be looked on in time as a watershed. It had strong overtones of the manner in which Michael Vaughan’s team hit back at Edgbaston in the 2005 Ashes, in the aftermath of the heavy defeat in the first Test at Lord’s, and the message was clear. There is always talk of brave new worlds when it comes to the fortunes of England cricket but here was a side adding strong deeds to the rhetoric. Continue reading... Mitchell Johnson, in action during a net practice at Cardiff, will pose a severe threat to England't top order. Photograph: BPI/Rex ShutterstockMitchell Johnson, in action during a net practice at Cardiff, will pose a severe threat to England't top order. Photograph: BPI/Rex Shutterstock
- Australia's Ashes squad - in pictures
Profiles and pictures of the players Australia hope will bring home the Ashes this summer View England’s squad here Continue reading...
- Ashes 2015: Michael Clarke expects Australia to control their emotions
• ‘I understand the rules of our game and where that line sits,’ says Clarke • ‘As captain of this team I need to be more disciplined and I know I will be’ Michael Clarke will continue to encourage on-field aggression from his players going into Wednesday’s first Test in Cardiff, even though the Australian captain admits he overstepped the mark during the last Ashes series. Related: Ashes preparation is ending, time for the main event: England v Australia | Jason Gillespie Continue reading... Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke, is happy for his side to sledge as long as they do not overstep the mark.
- Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook promises more attack-minded England side
• Young players prompt captain to go on front foot • Adil Rashid’s chances of Test debut played down Alastair Cook goes into his third Ashes series as England captain accepting his own style of leadership must adapt to the free-spirited group of players he now has at his disposal if Australia are to be overturned this northern summer. Speaking before the first Test in Cardiff, Cook stressed the importance of moving on from the 5-0 whitewash in Australia 18 months ago, claiming that result – and the mental scars of facing Mitchell Johnson – would have no bearing on his side’s chances of regaining the urn. Continue reading... Alastair Cook and Australia’s captain Michael Clarke pose with the Ashes in Cardiff. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty ImagesAlastair Cook and Australia’s captain Michael Clarke pose with the Ashes in Cardiff. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
- The Ashes: England have grounds for (cautious) hope against Australia
We should not read too much into the hype and extended buildup to the Ashes, a series that looks as if it might be tighter than was predicted a few months ago For these final few hours, then, the 2015 Ashes remains unwritten. By the time some get around to reading this the contest will already be under way, and we will know what the first morning brought. Whether the opening delivery was sent straight to a startled second slip, was spanked past point for four, or left alone to fly by wide of off-stump. Nothing in cricket, few things in sport, are as storied as the Ashes. From the very first Test at The Oval – when WG Grace gulled Sammy Jones into giving away his wicket, and in doing so goaded “The Demon” Spofforth into taking seven English wickets for 44 runs – through to the very last, in January 2014. An England team cobbled together out of their reserves, skittled again, in Sydney this time . All out in 32 overs on the third afternoon of the match. In seven weeks, we’ll have a few more tales to add. Continue reading... Mitchell Johnson traumatised England in Australia last time out, but his record in away Ashes series is not as formidable.Mitchell Johnson traumatised England in Australia last time out, but his record in away Ashes series is not as formidable.
- Ashes 2015: our writers’ predictions | Guardian writers
England or Australia? Will weather play a part? And who out of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood or Mark Wood will shine brightest with ball in hand? Who will win? Australia, just. The Australian team is not as invincible as many seem to think, while England are better than they are being given credit for and improving. There is little between the sides. In the end it may well come down to the Australians’ ability to remove the lower England order, something that was key in the last series. Continue reading... The batting of England's captain Alastair Cook could prove decisive to the home side's chances this summer. Photograph: Huw Evans/Rex ShutterstockThe batting of England's captain Alastair Cook could prove decisive to the home side's chances this summer. Photograph: Huw Evans/Rex Shutterstock
- Ashes preparation is ending, time for the main event: England v Australia | Jason Gillespie
All the pre-series talk falls away when the coin flips on day one of the first Test – and that’s when calmer heads in the dressing room come into their own The first day of a first Ashes Test is something special and both sets of players, young or old, must embrace it. Sure, the intensity is like no other game you will play, but breathe it in. Ride that wave. Because the training is out of the way, the team meetings have been held, the plans are in place and finally all the talk in the media is replaced by the real thing: the cricket. Related: Watching the Ashes from the other side of the world: late nights and stale beer | Russell Jackson Continue reading... Michael Clarke, Australia's captain, left, and the head coach Darren Lehmann will have keenly felt the absence of bowler Ryan Harris. Photograph: Philip Brown/ReutersMichael Clarke, Australia's captain, left, and the head coach Darren Lehmann will have keenly felt the absence of bowler Ryan Harris. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
- Ashes 2015: Stuart Broad and James Anderson is a partnership of equals | Mike Selvey
While Anderson appears undroppable and Broad’s place in the team is often questioned, both will be as important if England are to beat Australia It was coming towards the end of a long hot Antiguan day, the final one of the first Test in April, and Jimmy Anderson, in his 21st over, was searching for the wicket that would give England a chance of winning the match, and at the same time, make him his country’s leading Test wicket-taker. It was getting irritating. Jason Holder and Denesh Ramdin had been batting for the past 32 overs, adding 105 for the seventh wicket to frustrate England. The pitch was slow, offering little, and the second new ball already more than 30 overs old. Before the over started Anderson, wearying, had walked back to his mark and engaged in conversation with Stuart Broad, standing at mid-off. Continue reading... Stuart Broad and James Anderson celebrate during the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley in May. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
- Ashes 2015: England will try to 'out-skill' Australia, says Anderson – video
England's James Anderson looks ahead to his side's first Test against Australia on Wednesday in Cardiff. Anderson says it's difficult to single out individual players on the Australian team as a threat, calling them 'a very strong side'. The pace bowler also hopes players who have not had any Ashes experience can contribute positively to the team Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for 150707_MASHAAL_JULY_SPORTAshes 2015: England will try to out-skill Australia, says Anderson - video
- Ashes 2015: will it be the hope that kills England fans?
The brilliantly fun series against New Zealand has left us with genuine hope of reclaiming the Ashes but Australia’s arrival brings back feelings of familiar dread, writes The Maccabees guitarist Felix White Has there been another Ashes series in recent memory when the cricket in the month preceding made it feel like a shame that it was going to happen at all? In a fledgling English summer when the phrase ‘brand of cricket’ has been repeated so often it has all the cross-eyed meaning of ‘red-lorry-yellow-lorry’, how odd and unprecedented it seems that England beat someone else at their own game. It was, after all, New Zealand’s own brand of cricket we were playing. And so, with the Ashes upon us, here we are: a nation of cricketers who actually learnt lessons. English sportsmen who said they were going to do something and actually went and did it. Disorientating, yes, and perhaps belated, but nonetheless, an achievement to be celebrated. All it took was a touring side as entertaining and as full of modern virtuoso cricket perspective as New Zealand to free us up. Their captain, Brendon McCullum, turned up as a hero to the likes of Moeen Ali, and left with all his best ideas stolen. It almost felt like an apology was in order. Whisper it, but it looked like playing for England was a lot of fun. Continue reading... The Maccabees' Felix White and Jonathan Agnew watch England's recent Test against New Zealand from the Lord's press box. Photograph: Fiction RecordsThe Maccabees' Felix White and Jonathan Agnew watch England's recent Test against New Zealand from the Lord's press box. Photograph: Fiction Records
- Nottinghamshire’s Chris Read hits 23rd hundred to frustrate Middlesex
• Middlesex 374 & 7-0; Nottinghamshire 419-9 dec • Read and Brett Hutton give Notts first-innings lead Had a soothsayer revealed a decade ago that Jimmy Anderson was to become England’s leading wicket-take, it would have been a fair assumption Chris Read was to become his chief accomplice. As things transpired, while their relationship remained strong off the field – Read performing usher duties at Anderson’s wedding – only three times did they combine for dismissals in Tests, all in Sydney at the end of the 2006-07 whitewash by Australia. Continue reading... Chris Read scored 108 and shared a stand of 157 with Brett Hutton for the seventh wicket for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesChris Read scored 108 and shared a stand of 157 with Brett Hutton for the seventh wicket for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
- Lord Patel of Bradford handed expansionist role by ECB
• Labour peer to promote game with British-Asian communities • ECB also looks to increase participation in beach cricket The England and Wales Cricket Board has appointed Lord Patel of Bradford to its board of directors, with the Labour peer expected to assist with a renewed push to better connect the governing body with British-Asian communities and promote the game. Under the new chief executive Tom Harrison and the chairman Colin Graves, there is an acceptance the ECB needs to better understand and support the sport within British-Asian communities – a move which could reap benefits in terms of participation figures and talent development. Continue reading... England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison will welcome Lord Patel of Bradford. Photograph: Corbis/ColorsportEngland's director of cricket Andrew Strauss and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison will welcome Lord Patel of Bradford. Photograph: Corbis/Colorsport
- Sport picture of the day: close but no cigar
Craig Overton of Somerset has a lucky escape as Matthew Hobden of Sussex fails to hold onto a diving catch at mid off during day three of the LV County Championship match between Somerset and Sussex. Overton went on to make 53 not out as Somerset made 274 in their first innings Continue reading...
- County cricket – as it happened
All the action from Notts v Middlesex and Leicestershire v Kent County cricket: the week’s final over 6.14pm BST Richard Gibson reports from Notts v Middlesex Chris Read is doing as much as anyone right now to safeguard Nottinghamshire’s Division One status and his 23rd first-class hundred - he survived a relatively straightforward catch to opposite number John Simpson on 70 - has seen the hosts open up a lead over Middlesex at Trent Bridge. The 36-year-old eventually departed to a loose drive at Toby Roland-Jones. His 108 backed up by Brett Hutton’s career-best, unbeaten 70. 4.35pm BST Richard Gibson reports from Notts v Middlesex Well Chris Read and Brett Hutton clearly enjoy batting together: after dictating terms to Worcestershire last week over a two-hour period, they have just remained steadfast for a full session to move Nottinghamshire to within 63 runs of Middlesex with four wickets standing. Continue reading... Dawid Malan of Middlesex hits out during their match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.Dawid Malan of Middlesex hits out during their match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
- Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq hails Younis Khan after Test series victory against Sri Lanka - video
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq praises Younis Khan after his unbeaten 171 led their side to Test series victory over Sri Lanka. Completing their highest ever run chase in Test cricket, the Pakistanis sealed a seven-wicket win with 382 runs. This is Pakistan's first Test series win in Sri Lanka since 2006 Continue reading... 140x84 trailpic for Pakistans Misbah-ul-Haq hails Younis Khan after Test series victory against Sri Lanka - video
- Sam Northeast calls on ECB to tackle ‘result’ pitches after Kent win
• Leicestershire 159 and 123; Kent 210 and 74-2 • Kent win by eight wickets Criticism, however politely expressed, carries more weight when you have won a match at a canter, so Sam Northeast should surely be taken seriously after his Kent side beat Leicestershire by eight wickets, lifting themselves off the bottom of the County Championship Division Two. The game was concluded in well under two and a half days and, despite leaving with 20 points, Northeast made it clear he had been unimpressed by the condition of the Grace Road pitch. Continue reading... Sam Northeast, of Kent, goes on the attack. Photograph: JMP/Rex ShutterstockSam Northeast, of Kent, goes on the attack. Photograph: JMP/Rex Shutterstock
- Geoff Boycott’s smacking comment on BBC Test Match Special cleared
Ex-England cricketer’s remark that Stuart Broad wasn’t smacked enough when he was a child prompted complaint that it condoned physical abuse of children Test Match Special is better known for remarks about cakes sent in by listeners and pigeons landing on sight screens. But when Geoff Boycott suggested England cricketer Stuart Broad wasn’t smacked enough by his mother when he was little, it prompted an inquiry by the BBC Trust after a listener complained it condoned physical abuse of children. Continue reading... Test Match Special pundit Geoff Boycott made the remark about England cricketer Stuart Broad when the bowler made an unsuccessful LBW appeal during a Test match against India.
- Cricketer dies after being hit by ball in the chest
• Bavalan Pathmanathan was playing for Manipay Parish Sports Club in Surrey • Manipay Parish: ‘Our club was totally shocked by his death at this young age’ A British Tamil batsman has died after being struck in the chest by a ball while playing in a residential suburb in Surrey over the weekend. Bavalan Pathmanathan turned out for Manipay Parish Sports Club (UK) in division three of the British Tamil League on Sunday at Long Ditton recreation grounds, where he received the blow. Continue reading... Bavalan Pathmanathan was fatally injured by a cricket ball to the chest during a cricket match on Sunday 5 June.
- Younis Khan hits stunning 171 to lead Pakistan to series victory over Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka 278 & 313; Pakistan 215 & 382-3 • Pakistan win by seven wickets and jump three places to third in Test rankings Younis Khan’s unbeaten 171 guided Pakistan to their highest successful run chase on Tuesday with the tourists easing to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka to clinch the three-match series by a 2-1 margin. Misbah-ul-Haq (59 not out) blasted Jehan Mubarak for a six to seal Pakistan’s first Test series win in Sri Lanka since 2006 as the visitors chased down a daunting 377-run target in the second session of the final day. Continue reading...
- Warwickshire rocked as Yorkshire’s Ryan Sidebottom takes six wickets
• Veteran returns from injury to leave Yorkshire on brink of victory • Dawid Malan hits unbeaten 182 for Middlesex Ryan Sidebottom rolled back the years to push champions Yorkshire to the threshold of another victory at Edgbaston. Sidebottom, the veteran left-armer, was the chief architect of Warwickshire’s incredible implosion to 37-9 on the second morning. The 37-year-old claimed the first six wickets of the innings as the home batsmen were left to rue some injudicious choices on which deliveries to play and which to leave. Continue reading... Ryan Sidebottom of Yorkshire, second left, celebrates taking the wicket Warwickshire's Laurie Evans. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images