Last Update: August 24, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Last Update: March 18, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Last Update: August 24, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Last Update: August 24, 2019 - 2:30 pm
Ashes 2019: England chasing 359 v Australia, third Test day three – live!
Ashes 2019: England chasing 359 v Australia, third Test day three – live!

Cummins hits Denly. An Archer-esque bouncer follows him and he’s hit right on the front of the helmet. For the third time today we go through the formal process, now with the England team doctor. In keeping with the practice, he’s given a replacement lid. Play on.

10th over: England 26-2 (Root 4, Denly 7) Hazlewood is attacking Root’s stumps, the captain getting his blade down in time to get a single behind square. Denly gets under another bumper then flashes at the fuller ball that follows. This is tough going. Can he survive?

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England v Ireland: Rugby World Cup warm-up – live!
England v Ireland: Rugby World Cup warm-up – live!

Ben Youngs has a view on topping the world rankings and it’s not a positive one.

Related: Topping world rankings is not important, says England’s Ben Youngs

Don’t forget you can fling all of your thoughts my way by emailing me here or going the full social media route and tweeting me here

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Norwich City v Chelsea: Premier League – live!
Norwich City v Chelsea: Premier League – live!

86 min: Ben Godfrey leaves one in on Mason Mount, stamping on his instep with a late challenge. It’s a definite yellow card offence and possibly a red. Following a VAR check, he escapes with any censure. I’m not sure what the lads in VAR Towers are drinking this afternoon, but I wouldn’t mind a drop of it. Chelsea substitution: Willian on for Christian Pulisic.

84 min: According to BT Sport’s referee-in-residence Peter Walton, Martin Atkinson initially awarded a goal to Kurt Zouma, only for VAR to urge him to change his mind, because Olivier Giroud had backed into Tim Krul as the goalkeeper tried to catch a ball dropping out of the sky. That wasn’t the way I read the situation and I’m convinced Giroud didn’t foul Krul.

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Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Watford v West Ham and more – live!
Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Watford v West Ham and more – live!

Whatever happened to Pavel Pogrebnyak, eh? Some effort if you can get the other eight.

10 - Teemu Pukki is the 10th player to have scored in each of his first three @premierleague appearances, while only Pavel Pogrebnyak also scored as many as five in his first three in the competition. Command. #NORCHE

Fun fact: Teemu Pukki, on target again for Norwich today, has outscored seven of the eight teams kicking off at 3pm. His five-goal tally matches Manchester United’s.

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US Open form guide: Djokovic favourite but Daniil Medvedev could threaten | Jacob Steinberg
US Open form guide: Djokovic favourite but Daniil Medvedev could threaten | Jacob Steinberg

The Russian looks best placed to challenge the big three at Flushing Meadows after beating the world No 1 in Cincinnati

The defending champion has played only one tournament since winning Wimbledon last month and losing his Cincinnati semi-final to Daniil Medvedev will be a concern for the world No 1. Only a slight one, however, given how Djokovic has developed the knack of raising his game in the biggest moments this year, as he demonstrated by saving two championship points before outlasting Roger Federer in the longest Wimbledon final of all time last month. He heads to Flushing Meadows as the undisputed favourite.

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Roger Federer says he is mentally and physically ready for US Open
Roger Federer says he is mentally and physically ready for US Open

• Swiss needed holiday to recover from Wimbledon final defeat
• ‘I’ve been playing well recently. I’m happy with my game’

Roger Federer concedes it took a family holiday to help him recover from losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, when he blew two match points and lost all three tie-breaks. Yet the Swiss insists he is mentally and physically fit to challenge for a sixth US Open title, confidence that will be tested long before the final on 8 September.

Federer, who turned 38 two weeks ago, always gives the impression the clock is ready to stop for him one more time. It did not happen over five gruelling sets on Centre Court six weeks ago against Djokovic, and the odds are the world No 1 will outlast everyone again in New York. Nevertheless Federer, who won the last of his five US Open titles in 2008 against Andy Murray, says he is prepared to dream of glory for a while yet.

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England’s psychological scars will take time to heal, says Josh Hazlewood
England’s psychological scars will take time to heal, says Josh Hazlewood

• Bowler took five for 30 during England’s 67 all out horror show
• ‘If we start well again, they might think here we go again’

Josh Hazlewood fancies England will take time to recover from the scars of their 67 all out Headingley horror show as Australia now look to finish them off and retain the Ashes with two Tests to spare. Hazlewood was part of the touring side that was bowled out for 60 on the first morning at Trent Bridge four years ago but can now look back on figures of five for 30 that helped roll England for their lowest Ashes total since being 52 all out in Don Bradman’s last Test at the Oval in 1948.

And so while Graham Thorpe, England’s batting coach, was trying to remain upbeat in the aftermath of his side’s devastating morning, claiming a target of 330 may still be achievable, Hazlewood believes the psychological damage is already done.

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Twitter and racist abuse in football: how can it be tackled? | Paul MacInnes
Twitter and racist abuse in football: how can it be tackled? | Paul MacInnes

Abuse of Pogba, Méïté and Abraham has again put social media in the spotlight. Action is needed but solutions are complicated

On Monday Paul Pogba missed a penalty for Manchester United against Wolves and the match ended as a draw. Shortly afterwards, a number of messages – some purporting to be from Manchester United fans – appeared on Twitter abusing Pogba. They used the “n” word, replaced Pogba’s face in photographs with that of a gorilla, and told him to “go back to selling bananas in Colombia”. Soon enough, the tweets were called out by United fans and reported to Twitter. The next morning United issued a statement condemning the messages: “The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club.” A number of United players posted messages in solidarity with Pogba and the issue of racist abuse on social media platforms became a public talking point.

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Wesley and El Ghazi sink Everton to get Aston Villa up and running
Wesley and El Ghazi sink Everton to get Aston Villa up and running

It turns out Dean Smith was right to call for some perspective. “What are we coming to if we’re judging players after two games?” asked the Aston Villa manager on the eve of this match in response to questions about the performances of Wesley, the club-record signing, in particular. Little more than 24 hours later, the Brazilian striker registered his first goal in English football and Villa’s season was up and running courtesy of a gritty victory over a disappointing Everton side.

After starting the season with back-to-back defeats, following a summer when the club spent £127m on 12 new signings, this felt like a hugely significant result for Villa. Smith may not harbour any doubts about the ability of Wesley or any of the other new faces at the club, but the outside noise would have become a little louder if Villa had come away from this game still looking for their first points of the season.

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England's Joe Root on Jofra Archer, Steve Smith and the third Ashes Test – video
England's Joe Root on Jofra Archer, Steve Smith and the third Ashes Test – video

The England captain expects his side to 'go up another level' in the third Ashes test at Headingley. Batsman Jason Roy has passed a concussion test after being struck during a nets session, but Australia are without their star man, Steve Smith. The batsman remains sidelined after being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer delivery in the second Test at Lord's

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Liverpool v Arsenal, Puskás Award outsiders and Japan's strangest sports | Classic YouTube
Liverpool v Arsenal, Puskás Award outsiders and Japan's strangest sports | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features Challenge Cup finals, tennis meltdowns and a team scoring without touching the ball

1) It’s Liverpool v Arsenal this weekend, and there’s only one place to start as we dig into the archives – a match so famous, it’s got its own documentary. Jumping forward 20 years to 2009, and Andrey Arshavin bags all four in a 4-4 draw. Unai Emery would surely take that: recent trips to Anfield have seen the Gunners lose 4-1 in 2007, 5-1 in 2014, 4-0 in 2017 and 5-1 again last season. Happier memories for travelling fans: a late Robin van Persie winner in 2012, and an FA Cup & Carling Cup double three days apart in January 2007.

2) Saturday’s Challenge Cup final sees St Helens and Warrington fight for the famous trophy at Wembley for the first time. Wire have lost two of the last three finals, including an historic defeat to Catalans Dragons last year.

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The Fiver | A mere 427 matches away from reaching next summer’s final in Gdansk
The Fiver | A mere 427 matches away from reaching next summer’s final in Gdansk

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Wolves play the first leg of their Euro Vase play-off against Torino this evening. If they win the tie they’ll just have to win a bingo tournament, recite the alphabet backwards for the amusement of a couple of Uefa suits and profess their undying love for West Brom to ensure their place in next week’s group stage draw. Then they’ll only be a mere 427 matches away from reaching next summer’s final in Gdansk. European glory beckons! Not that the Fiver’s stereotypical English cousin, $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver, sees what all the fuss is about. It’s been banging on about the handball law again. Reckons the EU’s up to no good. Doesn’t see why English teams should bother with all that European football nonsense. Doesn’t remember voting for Wolves to be in Euro Vase anyway. Bloody foreigners.

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Which team had the first away following in football? | The Knowledge
Which team had the first away following in football? | The Knowledge

Plus: scoring in all four divisions, recent British and Irish XIs and where did Jack Taylor’s 1974 World Cup final coin come from?

“Which team had the first away following in football?” tweets @djgcfum.

Here’s Alasdair Brooks with quite an answer: “This is difficult, given the lack of verifiable records for the formative period of football, and the difficulty of deciding what constitutes ‘football’ (assuming that the question means ‘association football’) before the formal codification of a single set of rules, and deciding what constitutes an ‘away following’ in the 19th century.

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The Spin | Pavel Florin: ‘I came to England to speak with people. This is espionage’
The Spin | Pavel Florin: ‘I came to England to speak with people. This is espionage’

The Romanian bowler received VIP treatment at Lord’s, but the drive to grow cricket in Romania and Europe needs attention

Presumably, these days, there is some sort of support group for those who have become overnight internet sensations. Somewhere someone who accidentally invented a new dance move, or tasered their own foot, can go for advice, solace, group counselling. A closed Facebook group where Fenton’s owner or Hot Mugshot Guy warn newcomers of the things no viral superstar realises – for instance, that life might get unexpectedly expensive.

Romania’s cricketer extraordinaire, Pavel Florin, has learned the hard way. Standing in the President’s Box at the Lord’s Ashes Test this weekend, as a cluster of surrounding dignitaries were topped up with champagne, his shoes shone with fresh-from-the-box lustre. When he left his home city of Cluj-Napoca, he hadn’t expected to be invited to the zenith of cricket’s social season. He certainly hadn’t packed for it.

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County cricket talking points: it's all to play for in the T20 Blast
County cricket talking points: it's all to play for in the T20 Blast

Both groups of the T20 Blast are finely poised as teams turn their attention back to the County Championship

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog

Lancashire continued their fine season with a crushing win over Northamptonshire to all but secure qualification from the North Group with three matches to spare. Alex Davies steered them their target of 158 with an unbeaten 75, the academy product playing as a specialist batsman since Dane Vilas took captain’s dibs on the gloves. Since he was one of this column’s five county cricketers of the year in 2017, Davies’ form has dipped a little in red-ball cricket, but he enjoyed a good Blast last season and he’s back for more this time round. He’ll be 25 on Friday, still plenty young enough for international recognition, especially with England looking like they might need a little freshening up for the winter tours.

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How the Brisbane Broncos rose out of the political mess that was 1980s Queensland | Joe Gorman
How the Brisbane Broncos rose out of the political mess that was 1980s Queensland | Joe Gorman

To a remarkable degree, the decline of old style politics coincided with the demise of traditional rugby league

By the end of July 1987, cracks were beginning to show in the premiership of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. For six months he had embarked on the infamous “Joh for PM” campaign, succeeding only in splitting the Liberal–National Party coalition vote at the federal election. The bluster and hubris that had once made him a folk hero of the political right had finally caught up with him, and for the conservative movement he was now a kind of King Midas in reverse: everything he touched turned to shit. As Labor was elected to a third successive term in office, the federal leader of the Liberal Party, John Howard, declared that Bjelke-Petersen “must carry an enormous share of the blame”.

Within weeks of the humiliating result, in which Labor actually gained four seats in Queensland, a probe into police misconduct began. Prompted by an investigation by the ABC’s 4 Corners program, as well as months of reporting by the Courier-Mail, the Fitzgerald Inquiry raked through a vast web of official corruption – an open secret known in Queensland as “the Joke”. According to Matthew Condon, author of a true-crime trilogy of books about corruption during the Bjelke-Petersen era, “the Joke” was an “elaborate, multi- million dollar scheme of kickbacks from illegal gambling, SP bookmakers, brothels and escort services”.

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Fast bowlers have not hit a new peak – they’ve just reached a plateau | Andy Bull
Fast bowlers have not hit a new peak – they’ve just reached a plateau | Andy Bull

There is a school of thought that bowlers such as England’s Jofra Archer are bound to be faster now, simply because of the advances in sport science – reality suggests something different

At 96mph the ball travels from the bowler to the batsman in the bat of an eyelid. Really. At that speed a batsman has around 0.4sec to play with which, most studies seem to agree, also happens to be how long it takes to blink. But that 0.4sec is only a fag-packet calculation. The true number would allow for the ball’s deceleration and its journey down into the pitch and up away from it, but still, we are dealing with the tiny margins, tenths and hundredths, that a batsman has to spot the length, the line, make up his mind, and then play a shot. So near the top of the accelerometer, cricket begins to seem almost physically impossible.

At that speed strange things start to happen, for the batsman, the bowler, and the spectators. Time begins to both speed up and slow down, as though someone’s sitting on the remote. Our sense of it gets elastic. On Saturday Steve Smith, who, with his Heath Robinson batting technique, usually seems to have so much time to work in, was all of a sudden so short of it he could not even make it halfway through a shot before the ball was on him. And then when he fell, everything slowed right down again, as the crowd fell silent and minds filled with a flood of awful thoughts.

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