The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Alex Homer Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cook and Pietersen Wrap Up 2-0 Test Series Win Wed, 24 Mar 2010 19:11:54 +0000 Alex Homer alastair cook_dd_171109_p

Alastair Cook’s 12th Test century ensured a cleansweep for England as they completed a 2-0 Test series win on Wednesday in Dhaka to add to their 3-0 One Day International series triumph.

England 2nd innings 209/1 (44 overs: Cook 109 not out Pietersen 74 not out)

Bangladesh 2nd innings 285 all out (102 overs: Al Hasan 96 Iqbal 52, Tredwell 4/82)

England 1st innings 496 all out (173.3 overs: Bell 138, Bresnan 91, Shakib 4/124)

Bangladesh 1st innings 419 all out (117.1 overs: Iqbal 85 Naeem 59 not out, Swann 4/114)

The stand-in captain was joined by Kevin Pietersen in a 167-run partnership that wrapped up the tourists’ nine-wicket win in the final session.

Shakib Al Hasan earlier played a seemingly lone hand in extending Bangladesh’s lead to 209 before he was last to fall, stumped off James Tredwell four short of a deserved hundred.

Adding 96 to his first innings 49 and first innings 66-27-144-4, Al Hasan highlighted his allround credentials. His teammates Shafiul Islam and Naeem Islam however gave their wickets away with ill-timed slogs finding fielders off Tredwell, given the second new ball.

And when Steven Finn trapped Abdur Razzak leg before with a 87.1mph yorker-cum-low-full-toss, Al Hasan can be excused his terminal dash down the wicket in search of quick runs.

As the chase began, Trott signalled his intent to score as he forcefully cut and pulled behind square off Shafiul.

And if any further indication were needed of Cook’s excellent form throughout the tour, the Essex man provided it. He was confident to cover drive Shafiul, a shot he shelved against South Africa before reworking his technique with Graham Gooch.

Revision’s Reward

While both openers benefitted from revising their attacking method, Trott was dismissed on 19 by the reluctance of Third Umpire Nadir Shah to properly review the run-out referred to him.

Number three Pietersen needed no encouragement to put pressure back on Bangladesh, striking Al Hasan through extra cover- again showing his improvement hitting left-armers in to out.

Mahmudullah and Al Hasan countered by bowling leg stump lines from over the wicket. Pietersen answered with the now typical switch-hit while Cook opted for the classical fine sweep.

The evening session saw Cook pass fifty with an authoritative pull off Rubel Hossain before the wheels appeared to come off for Bangladesh as Al Hasan let a Cook cover drive through for four, taking the skipper to 64.

Not to be outdone by Cook’s straight-bat strokeplay, Pietersen played to his legside strength as his slogswept Razzak to pass his own milestone off 55 balls.

One question remained as England neared their target, whether Cook would reach three figures as Pietersen went through the gears.

That he did, thanks to a wide Mahmudullah delivery cut for four to put the gloss on a efficient, if not electrifying, win.


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England Eye Victory after Bresnan Falls Shorts Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:48:50 +0000 Alex Homer tim bresnan 230310

Tim Bresnan and James Tredwell extended England’s lead in Dhaka before joining Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad to take six Bangladeshi wickets before stumps.

Day Four Bangladesh 2nd innings 172/6 (68 overs: Iqbal 52 Jahurul 43, Broad 2/37)

England 496 all out (173.3 overs: Bell 138 Bresnan 91, Al Hasan 4/124)

Bangladesh 419 all out (117.1 overs: Iqbal 85 Naeem 59 not out, Swann 4/114)

Though Abdur Razzak finally accounted for Bresnan and Tredwell, both stumped, it was not before the former had come within nine runs of a maiden Test century and the Kent spinner added 38 runs.

Tamim Iqbal continued his aggressive approach of the tour, reducing the deficit to 49 by lunch, though Imrul Kayes fell to a legside delivery from Stuart Broad which deflected into the stumps off his thigh pad.

Graeme Swann removed Iqbal but not before Jonathan Trott spilled the most regulation of catches at backward point.

As Iqbal advanced, Tredwell held the ball back and Trott shelled the looping top-edge. The opener inexcusably repeated the error against Swann; Broad’s catch ensured the drop was not costly.

And Tredwell’s change of fortune turned the tide when Junaid Siddique played a backfoot drive on 34, only for the ball to cannon off the foot of Alastair Cook at silly point and loop back to the bowler.

Ambitious Strokeplay

Jahurul Islam got off his debut duck with his first two scoring shots both sixes and added 43 precious runs before Swann beat him through the gate.

Thereafter wickets fell in a hurry as Bresnan added Mahmudullah caught behind on 6 before a loose off-drive saw the back of Mushfiqur Rahim. Broad’s second wicket came as a combination of inside edge and pad rolled into the stumps.

Shakib Al Hasan remained 25 not out at the close but the captain will realistically have to help his team bat through three sessions on Wednesday if Bangladesh are to secure just their seventh Test draw.

Much-maligned wicketkeeper Rahim earlier ensured Bresnan was punished for his first shot in anger as Razzak extracted extra bounce and beat the allrounder’s attempt to saunter down the pitch.

After showing the strength in depth of the tourists’ tail by first cutting Razzak when he dropped short and lofting Al Hasan twice over cow corner, Tredwell too fell victim to exaggerated bounce and sharp glovework from the diminutive stroke-maker.

The Tigers’ gameplan was evident when Iqbal crashed two drives at Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood at extra cover in Broad’s first over.

With Iqbal’s departure however, after his fifth Test fifty, Bangladesh’s chances of setting a total all but evaporated.

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Ian Bell Century Gives England a Lead in Mirpur Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:40:29 +0000 Alex Homer Ian Bell 241209

Ian Bell’s tenth Test century made sure England passed Bangladesh’s imposing first innings, finishing 21 runs ahead with two wickets remaining in Mirpur on Monday.

Day Three England 440/8 (154 overs: Bell 138 Bresnan 74 not out, Al Hasan 4/99)

Bangladesh 1st innings 419 all out (117.1 overs: Iqbal 85 Islam 59 not out, Swann 4/114)

After Jonathan Trott failed to add to his overnight score as a combination of rebounds off first thigh pad then right elbow saw a Shabik Al Hasan delivery onto the stumps, Matt Prior added 62 breezy runs.

After Prior was bowled, Tim Bresnan knuckled down in a 143-run stand with Bell, which crucially saw England all but equal the Tigers’ first dig.

But a flurry of late wickets gave the home side some deserved reward for their perseverance in the afternoon session.

Bresnan however remained, 26 runs shy of a maiden Test hundred, a reminder both of Bangladesh’s ill-fortune with the umpires after he survived a bat/pad appeal early, and their lack of penetration thereafter.

After Sunday’s vigil, Trott would have hoped to push on but he was cruelly denied as his deflected defence dribbled onto off stump.

And things nearly went from bad to worse when Prior appeared plumb leg before to Rubel Hossain as he tried to flick a reverse-swinging delivery through midwicket when on 9.

Umpire Tony Hill took a different view and Prior carved Rubel through backward point whenever he erred on his way to his 13th half century in Tests.

But Prior fell victim to his own fluency as he attempted a third boundary in one Al Hasan over and was castled swiping across the line.

Bangladeshi Bubble

The Tigers were in the hunt for a rare Test win but Bresnan burst the Bangladeshi bubble when he was adjudged not out on 5 by Rod Tucker despite a clear inside edge caught by short extra cover.

Al Hasan plugged away despite that set back, managing 14 maidens in 33 overs but Bell and Bresnan kept the scoreboard ticking albeit slowly.

Bell was nevertheless quick to pounce on the few scoring opportunities available as a straight six off Abdur Razzak, bizarre beneficiary of the new ball, took him into the 90s before cutting Al Hasan to bring up his first hundred without a teammate having managed the feat earlier in the innings.

Al Hasan had his revenge though when Bell top-edged a slog sweep and the captain had a hand in Swann’s dismissal, deflecting a Bresnan straight drive onto the stumps while the non-striker backed up.

Mahmudullah struck the final blow of the day as he trapped Broad leg before on three.


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Trott and Bell Face an Uphill Battle in Mirpur Sun, 21 Mar 2010 22:40:50 +0000 Alex Homer jonathan trott 040110

Jonathan Trott’s painstaking 64 not out saw England finish 248 runs behind Bangladesh’s third highest total in Tests in Mirpur on Sunday.

Day Two England 171/3 (64 overs: Trott 64 not out Pietersen 45, Al Hasan 1/26) trail by 248 runs

Bangladesh 1st innings 419 all out (117.1 overs: Iqbal 85 Naeem Islam 59 not out, Swann 4/114)

Bangladesh frustrated England throughout the morning, adding 89 runs in 23.1 overs largely through half centuries from Shafiul Islam and Naeem, his namesake.

In reply, opener Trott set his stall out for others to bat around him as he limped to his second Test century, having taken 33 balls to get off the mark.

Trott’s plan came somewhat unstuck as first Alastair Cook, then Kevin Pietersen, contrived their own dismissals and the onus was on Paul Collingwood to up the scoring rate.

Rubel Hossain however removed Collingwood leg before from just his third delivery and it was left to Ian Bell , who remained not out on 25, to take the scoring initiative with Trott terminally turgid.

Monotone Mirpur

The batsman-friendly surface showed from the off as Shafiul blazed 11 fours on his way to a 51-ball 53, his maiden Test half century.

That England were unable to stem the flow of runs however was down to Cook’s reluctance to install a fieldsman at third man, where no less than nine fours came in Bangladesh’s morning salvo.

While Naeem continued to accumulate on his way to 59 not out, thankfully for England, a complacent Shafiul wafted at Tim Bresnan, Matt Prior taking the edge diving one-handed catch in front of first slip.

And Hossain gave England a further reminder of the favourable conditions as he unfurled two copybook cover drives against Steven Finn, before being caught behind off Graeme Swann for 17.

Cook and Trott negotiated the next five overs without alarm before Cook slogswept Abdur Razzak straight to the grateful Imrul Kayes at deep midwicket after lunch for 21.

And though Kevin Pietersen battled his way to 45, during which he became the youngest player to 5,000 Test runs, he fell to a leading edge, caught at short extra cover, trying to hit Shakid Al Hasan to leg.

Collingwood came and went, and Trott barely ticked over the scoreboard while Al Hasan tied up an end with 15 maidens in his 24 overs.

While Trott remained both content just to nurdle through square leg and reluctant to sweep a monotone spin attack, the Tigers ended day two in the ascendancy, with England still 248 runs behind.

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Swann and Tredwell Arrest Bangladesh’s Flying Start Sat, 20 Mar 2010 17:47:35 +0000 Alex Homer graeme swann 030110

England spinners Graeme Swann and James Tredwell arrested a flying start from Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal in Mirpur on Saturday.

Day One Bangladesh 330/8 (94 overs: Iqbal 85 Mahmudullah 59, Swann 3/94 Tredwell 2/85)

On his 21st birthday, Iqbal came within 15 of being the first batsman since Pakistan’s Majid Khan in 1976/77 to score a century before lunch.

But debutant Tredwell was thrown in to bowl at Test cricket’s deepest end and had Iqbal adjudged caught behind by a diving Matt Prior as he attempted to sweep.

Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan followed Iqbal’s raucous start before Steven Finn removed the former after his fourth Test half century and Tredwell dismissed Al Hasan to leave the Tigers 254/6.

And the Bangladeshi momentum was dealt a further blow when Tim Bresnan had Mushfiqur Rahim caught behind on 30 when he was rebuilding Bangladesh’s first innings.

Naeem Islam remained at the close, not out on 33, but with Swann removing Abdur Razzak leg before, England will hope to wrap up the tail quickly on Sunday morning.

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat in searing morning temperatures and Iqbal made England thankful they opted for a five-man bowling unit, with Tredwell replacing Michael Carberry from the first Test in Chittagong.

However long he had dreamt of his Test debut, Tredwell would nevertheless never have imagined he would come into the attack with the scoreboard reading 114-1 in the 17th over and he coped admirably as only two singles came from his first three overs.

And Tredwell’s accuracy was repaid when he removed Iqbal before Swann recovered from his initial mauling –his first four overs going for 37 – to remove Jaharul Islam for a duck.

Junaid Siddique and Mahmudullah resisted England’s attempts to control the scoring and three fours from Siddique off Broad at the start of the afternoon session moved Cook to opt for spin at both ends.

And Swann obliged his captain when he trapped Siddique leg before for 39,while Mahmudullah fell when he drove the opening ball of a late Finn spell to Paul Collingwood at backward point.

Al Hasan was equally guilty of wasting his opportunity, falling for 49, on a pitch offering no assistance bar that which Bresnan found with his jaffa to Rahim.

With Tredwell and Swann’s spell accounting for 59 out of 94 overs, let us hope the pitch at least detiorates to avoid cricket as pedestrian, and dominated by the batsmen, as in Chittagong.


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Broad Fit and Firing for England before Second Test Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:06:01 +0000 Alex Homer stuart broad shooting 190310

Stuart Broad is expected to be fit for the second Test against Bangladesh, starting in Mirpur on Saturday, despite missing training on Thursday.

Captain Alastair Cook will be relieved the Nottinghamshire paceman (pictured with father Chris Broad) recovered sufficiently from illness to take part in nets on Friday.

England’s XI is likely to mirror the first Test in Chittagong as the selectors persist with a four-man bowling unit, despite the heavy workload that tactic left to Graeme Swann.

Cook refused to rule out the possibility of including off-spinner James Tredwell as part of that four-man attack but, as the most senior seamer on tour, Broad is an essential cog in Cook’s bowling machine.

With Graham Onions, James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom all unavailable due to injury, the relatively ‘old head’ of Broad will be invaluable on a pitch unlikely to assist the quicks.

With Broad seemingly fit, Steven Finn would be the most likely to make way for potential debutant Tredwell as the Middlesex seamer is the least experienced specialist bowler with the squad.

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John Lloyd Resigns Davis Cup Captaincy Thu, 18 Mar 2010 16:36:39 +0000 Alex Homer john lloyd 180310

Davis Cup Captain John Lloyd stepped down on Thursday following Great Britain’s humiliating defeat to Lithuania, leaving Greg Rusedski the bookies’ favourite to take over.

Tim Henman has already ruled himself out of the speculation, while Andy Murray has urged the Lawn Tennis Association to consult with the players before any decision on Lloyd’s replacement is made.

LTA performance director Steven Martens is charged both with reviewing the GB’s team’s decline and finding Lloyd’s successor before the Euro-Africa Zone Group Two relegation play-off with Turkey in July.

Defeat at Eastbourne in four months’ time would see GB drop into the lowest tier of the Davis Cup competition alongside tennis minnows Albania, Luxembourg, Malta and San Marino.

Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey has however been outspoken of the LTA’s decision to investigate its failings internally, through Martens.

Petchey told BBC Radio 5 Live: “John Lloyd has become a scapegoat, he was only given the players, he had no power. We have become a laughing stock.

“We have asked the guy who has been running the programme for the last four years to do the internal review. Can you imagine what he is going to say?

“That I have come to the conclusion I am not very good at my job?”  

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Murray Through to BNP Paribas Quarter Finals Thu, 18 Mar 2010 16:16:59 +0000 Alex Homer andy murray 180310

Andy Murray cruised into the last eight of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after his opponent Nicolas Almagro retired with a left ankle injury.

Murray was up 6-2, 1-0 when Spaniard Almagro, unseeded for the tournament, withdrew from the match having called for treatment at the end of the first set.

The Scot goes on to face sixth-seed Robin Soderling who overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets to book his quarter final place.

Meanwhile, Ivan Ljubicic knocked Novak Djokovic out of the tournament with his 7-5, 6-3 win. Rafael Nadal however saw off John Isner 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to remain in contention for the title.

Nadal, twice winner of the tournament and Murray’s victor in last year’s final, will face Tomas Berdych.  

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Champions League: Mourinho’s Inter see off Chelsea Wed, 17 Mar 2010 15:48:38 +0000 Alex Homer jose mourinho chelsea manager 170310

José Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge saw his Inter side knock Chelsea out of the Champions League on Tuesday, with a 3-1 aggregate win over two legs.

Didier Drogba’s late red card for a petulant stamp on Thiago Motta’s foot highlighted Chelsea’s frustration on the night when Samuel Eto’o’s goal after 79 minutes gave Inter a 1-0 win.

The respect with which Mourinho (pictured when Chelsea manager) is remembered on the Fulham road led to exaggerated hype before the game.

And if the prize of progression into the last eight of Europe’s premier football tournament was not mouth-watering enough, The ‘Special One’ had football fans around the world drooling when his teamsheet revealed he would field three strikers, despite holding a 2-1 aggregate lead.

Through Eto’o, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev, the former Chelsea boss planned to stretch the Blues’ defence to such an extent on the counter-attack, they would have to gamble with extra personnel forward for their equalising goal.

A blistering first half was the only possible result but Carlo Ancelotti’s team did not appear to have read Mourinho’s script as first Michael Ballack shot wide before Nicolas Anelka had a close-range effort cleared by Thiago on the line.

Inter’s defensive duo of Lucio and Walter Samuel came into their own after the break however, restricting Chelsea’s highlights to a speculative 53rd minute long-ranger from Florent Malouda.

And as Chelsea threw on attackers in substitutes Joe Cole and Salomon Kalou, Wesley Sneijder bypassed an over-committed defence with his chipped through ball to Eto’o, who outmuscled Branislav Ivanovic and beat keeper Ross Turnbull at his near post.

After he was denied a penalty, when Samuel hauled him down in the box, Drogba may have been justified in his later temper.

Stamping on Motta, Drogba showed a lack of professionalism when Mourinho’s tactics showed Chelsea lacking Champions League pedigree.

Elsewhere, Andres Pelop’s goalkeeping error put CSKA Moscow into the last eight as Keisuke Honda’s free kick wrapped up their 3-2 aggregate win over Sevilla.

Tomas Necid latched onto Honda’s assist to give the Russians the lead in the first half but Sevilla responded through Diego Perotti’s tap-in, before Pelop’s attempted punch only deflected Honda’s set piece into the top corner.

Premier League

James Milner kept Aston Villa’s dreams of European football alive as his second-half strike saw Villa to a 2-1 win over Wigan, after James McCarthy netted an own goal and Gary Caldwell headed the Latics’ equaliser.

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Ten for Swann as England Relieved with Win Tue, 16 Mar 2010 18:20:44 +0000 Alex Homer graeme swann 030110

Graeme Swann became the first England off-spinner to take ten wickets in a match since Jim Laker in 1956 as England finally secured victory against Bangladesh by 181 runs on Tuesday.

Bangladesh 2nd innings 331 all out (124 overs: Siddique 68 not out Rahim 47 not out, Swann 5/127 Bresnan 3/63)

England 2nd innings 209/7 declared (49.3 overs: Bell 39 not out Cook 39, Al Hasan 4/62)

Bangladesh 1st innings 296 all out (90.3 overs: Iqbal 86 Rahim 79: Swann 5/90)

England 1st innings 599/6 declared (138.3 overs: Cook 173 Collingwood 145 Pietersen 99)

England win by 181 runs

The Tigers’ day four heroes Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim held up England by batting through the morning session as Siddique brought up his maiden Test century.

But Swann’s brought the left-hander’s 292-ball vigil, and the 167-run stand for the sixth wicket, to an end when he induced Siddique to edge to Paul Collingwood.

And that long-awaited edge started the Bangladesh rot as the remaining four wickets fell inside 18 overs after lunch, with Michael Carberry taking a diving catch off Naeem Islam to give England their final wicket, and Swann his second five-wicket haul of the match.

Hard toil was the order of the day as Alastair Cook took the second new ball five overs into Tuesday’s play in desperation at the lack of bounce and increasingly limited, slow spin with its predecessor.

With the new pill, Stuart Broad showed the tourists there was light at the end of the tunnel when he appeared to have trapped Rahim leg before.

The diminutive wicketkeeper/batsman was given the benefit of the doubt as Broad’s delivery flicked the top of the front pad, though Hawkeye replays suggested the fiery paceman’s appeal was sound.

And Broad bore further frustration when Siddique nicked one of few edges to carry through the third slip area, left vacant by Cook in favour of a second gully on a slow Chittagong wicket.

Siddique perhaps deserved some fortune after his gutsy second dig and took full advantage as he advanced to 96 with an imperious backfoot drive through cover off Steven Finn.

Obvious Relief

And when Finn over-pitched from round the wicket, the number three fairly launched into the straight drive which brought up his three figures to the jubilation of the Bangladeshi team and fans.

Siddique celebrated by kissing the Chittagong surface but that adrenaline release barely contributed to his downfall as he was outfoxed by the spin of Swann on 106 after lunch.

Though Islam blitzed his way to 36 including three sixes, what followed was a procession of Tigers’ wickets as Rahim yorked himself shimmying down the wicket on 95 and was bowled by Swann.

Broad then trapped Abdur Razzak plumb in front on 1, before Tim Bresnan had Shahadat Hossain caught behind for 12.

And Swann added the cherry on top as Carberry pouched the whirling dervish Islam to wrap up victory. 

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Rahim and Siddique Take England to Fifth Day Mon, 15 Mar 2010 23:36:38 +0000 Alex Homer mushfiqur rahim 150310

An unbeaten 81-run stand between Mushfiqur Rahim and Junaid Siddique saw Bangladesh frustrate England in Chittagong on Monday.

Day Four Bangladesh 2nd innings 191/5 (75 overs: Siddique 68 not out Rahim 47 not out, Bresnan 2/45)

England 2nd innings 209/7 declared (49.3 overs: Bell 39 not out Cook 39, Al Hasan 4/62)

Bangladesh 1st innings 296 all out (90.3 overs: Iqbal 86 Rahim 79: Swann 5/90)

England 1st innings 599/6 declared (138.3 overs: Cook 173 Collingwood 145 Pietersen 99)

Rahim followed his first innings 79 with an unbeaten 47 while number three Siddique put his first innings troubles against Stuart Broad to bed during his 199-ball unbeaten 68.

Ian Bell and Matt Prior began the morning looking to extend the tourists’ lead and though Prior perished on 7, attempting to hit Shabik Al Hasan over mid-on, Graeme Swann provided Bell breezy support as England added 78 to their overnight lead before Alastair Cook’s declaration.

And the Tigers began in inauspicious fashion as opener Imrul Kayes was peppered by Broad after his first innings dismissal revealed a weakness against the short ball.

The trailblazing Tamim Iqbal was first to fall on 14 however, as Swann curved his stock off-spinner in and beat the left-hander’s outside edge to hit off stump.

After riding out Broad’s bouncer barrage, Kayes then nicked a hooping Steven Finn outswinger on 23 as the debutant struck on the stroke of lunch.

Aftab Ahmed provided fleeting resistance before Tim Bresnan induced him to nick to Prior and the tireless Yorkshireman bowled Mahmudullah for 5 shortly after.

And Bangladesh were reeling at 110/5 when Swann trapped Al Hasan leg before, though the delivery seemed to strike the glove as the Tigers’ skipper attempted to sweep.

Other Ideas

Siddique and wicketkeeper/batsman Rahim however battled throughout the evening session and the introduction of Jonathan Trott bowling highlighted the Bangladeshis’ moral victory of taking the Test to the final day.

While the highest successful fourth innings chase in Test history is 418, England management and captain Cook felt it necessary to extend their lead to 512 through Bell and Swann’s flamboyance.

After England chose not to enforce the follow-on to protect a weary four-man attack, to allow Swann to bat – with his bowling workload already sure to exceed the three seamers on this flat wicket – made Sunday’s logic seem even more flawed.

Swann’s excessive workload meanwhile begged the question: will England revert to a five-man attack for the second Test in Dhaka? 

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Swann Ends Stubborn Bangladesh Resistance Sun, 14 Mar 2010 17:03:45 +0000 Alex Homer graeme swann 140310

Graeme Swann’s fifth five-wicket haul in Tests and a lead of 434 runs left England in control in Chittagong on Sunday but not before some resolute Bangladeshi resistance.

Day Three England 2nd innings 131/5 (36 overs: Cook 39 Carberry 34, Razzak 2/7) lead by 343 runs

Bangladesh 1st innings 296 all out (90.3 overs: Iqbal 86 Rahim 79, Swann 5/90)

England 1st innings 599/6 declared (138.3 overs Cook 173 Collingwood 145 Pietersen 99)

A Michael Carberry run-out finally broke the back of a defiant 39.3 over stand between Mushfiqur Rahim and Naeem Islam, before Swann pouched the two wickets remaining, but the pair’s defiance was convincing enough to deter Alastair Cook not to enforce the follow-on.

Cook himself and the rest of his top order colleagues then fell to a succession of indifferent stokes as their attempts to push England’s advantage, strong as it is at the end of day three, were found wanting.

Tim Bresnan earlier removed overnight batsman Tamim Iqbal on 86 with an unplayable delivery before Steven Finn’s first Test scalp of Shahadat Hossain looked set to spark a Tigers’ lower-order collapse.

Wicketkeeper batsman Rahim and Islam had other ideas however, making England toil in the field with their 113-run partnership.

Such was their negotiation of England’s attack and fortune in surviving Finn’s control of reverse swing, it fell to Carberry to break the dogged eighth-wicket stand with Islam’s dismissal for 38.

After the allrounder turned blindly in search of a two, the slide and quick return by Carberry proved the first of three wickets to fall in four balls.

First substitute fielder James Tredwell, on for Cook, did his offspin colleague Swann a good turn, clinging on to a diving, one-handed catch from Rahim’s slog sweep on 79, before Swann’s arm-ball beat Rubel Hossain two balls later.

Tredwell’s appearance probably masked discussion between Cook and coach Andy Flower over the follow-on. That England took over 51 overs to remove the last five Tigers’ batsman, and Cook has only a four-man bowling attack, forced the decision to bat again.

Indeterminate Strokes

A series of miscued sweeps from the captain signalled he would not match his first innings and his third swirling top-edge was held by Aftab Ahmed on the boundary.

Jonathan Trott followed shortly after, slapping a Shakib Al Hasan long hop straight to square leg on 14, and a rejuvenated Kevin Pietersen breezed to 32 before the Bangladesh skipper struck again.

Carberry was not rewarded for his patient 34 as he was similarly adjudged leg before Paul Collingwood fell attempting to loft Abdur Razzak.

Matt Prior’s arrival at the crease may seem disappointing with England five down but such a significant lead should see them wrap up victory on Monday.

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Collingwood Century Sets Stage for Broad and Swann Sat, 13 Mar 2010 15:46:39 +0000 Alex Homer collingwood record waits after washout 201109

Paul Collingwood became England’s second centurion before their declaration paved the way for Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann to leave Bangladesh five wickets down in Chittagong.

Day Two Bangladesh 154/5 (39 overs: Iqbal 81 not out Mahmudullah 51, Swann 3/40)

England 599/6 declared (138.3 overs: Cook 173 Collingwood 145 Bell 84, Mahmudullah 2/78)

Though Alastair Cook missed out on a double hundred, when he inexplicably returned the favour of a Mahmudullah half-tracker by giving the bowler a return catch, Collingwood and Ian Bell followed the captain’s lead, putting on 184 runs in 35 overs.

After bringing up his century, Collingwood signalled his and England’s intent with a series of sixes off Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak before he perished in the deep.

Three runs later Bell missed out on the chance to become England’s third centurion of the innings, pouched off Al Hasan, and Cook declared.

And Collingwood’s tenth Test hundred allowed Broad and Swann to make inroads into the Bangladeshi line-up, despite solid resistance from Tamim Iqbal.

With his opening burst, Broad found bounce Shahadat Hossain could not muster on day one with either new ball and removed first Imrul Kayes on four and Junaid Siddique for seven.

Iqbal followed his 125 in the One Day series by treating Broad’s attempted chin music with contempt, bringing up the home fifty with a six over fine-leg.

Though Iqbal appeared unruffled, Broad nevertheless highlighted the gulf in raw pace between the English and home seamers.

Graeme Swann’s introduction however showed the importance of an energetic action, lacking in Razzak and Al Hasan, to impart spin.

Early Rewards

Continuing a remarkable record of taking wickets in his first over, Swann removed Aftab Ahmed by dint of sharp reflexes by Bell at short leg and the rub of the umpire’s bat-pad decision to leave Bangladesh 51/3.

Mahmudullah arrived at number five, promoted to replace the retired 22-year-old Raqibul Hasan, and provided Iqbal some much-deserved support as the pair rebuilt the innings, scoring 94 in 18 overs.

Their stand saw Iqbal become the fastest Bangladeshi to 1,000 Test runs, as his 50 came up from 53 balls after the opening tucked into debutant Steven Finn’s first spell: three overs costing 25.

After registering his own 50, Mahmudullah however departed to a gloved sweep off Swann, before the Nottinghamshire twirler bowled Al Hasan attempted a lofted drive over off.

Shelving his earlier attacking strokeplay Iqbal, with nightwatchman Shahadat Hossain, then remained till the close.

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Captain Cook’s Century makes Bangladesh Toil Fri, 12 Mar 2010 15:28:57 +0000 Alex Homer alastair cook 120310

Alastair Cook led from the front on Friday in Chittagong as he became the fifth man to score a century in his first Test as England captain, finishing the day 158 not out.

Day One England 374/3 (90 overs: Cook 158 not out Pietersen 99)

Kevin Pietersen, whom Cook emulated with his century on captaincy debut, also ended his poor run of form though fell agonisingly short of three figures when bowled by Abdur Razzak on 99.

The new-found aggression which characterised Cook during the One Day International series whitewash was again on show as the stand-in skipper brought up his century with a slog-swept six.

And if a change in mentality has rejuvenated Cook’s strokeplay, an adjustment made by Pietersen over the course of this week’s net practice saw him fare better against left-arm spin.

Using his trigger movement to move straight down the wicket, rather than across his stumps, negated the threat of lbw –allowing Pietersen freedom to play through the offside.

That he did, and in a partnership spanning 45 overs, the former and current England captains put on 170 runs as they took full toll of generous Bangladeshi bowling on offer.

After Razzak castled Pietersen, Paul Collingwood eased his way 32 not out while Cook finishing not out, with a likely two to three sessions batting tomorrow, gave himself the chance of a big double hundred.

Bowling in Tandem

Only seven maidens were bowled in the entire day’s play illustrating the ill discipline of the attack. The reluctance of seamer Rubel Hossain meanwhile to bowl with the second new ball highlighted the lack of strategy apparent.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan had won the toss and elected to bowl on a seemingly flat wicket bound to take turn late in the match. Though Al Hasan’s side features four spinners, it seemed a move born out of lack of faith in the home side’s middle order.

Not likely to complain, Cook and debutant Michael Carberry began in positive fashion before spin frustrated Carberry into an ill-fated sweep and he was adjudged leg before off Mahmudullah on 30.

Though Trott could only manage half Carberry’s boundary count of six, his composure was reminiscent of his prolific form with domestic county Warwickshire following a century in warm-ups.

And while Trott was unfortunate to be given out caught behind on 39 when the ball brushed his helmet, the lack of UDRS referral system was the only thing to go for Bangladesh all day. 

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Tim Henman in the Mix for Davis Cup Captaincy Wed, 10 Mar 2010 19:30:46 +0000 Alex Homer tim henman 100310

Tim Henman is being touted as the man to improve Great Britain’s fortunes in the Davis Cup by three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker.

John Lloyd is considering his future after GB’s loss to Lithuania saw him become the first British captain to lead the team to five consecutive defeats.

And if GB fail to beat Turkey in July they will drop into the Davis Cup’s lowest tier, Europe/Africa Zone Group III.

Greg Rusedski has been linked with the Davis Cup captaincy but Becker feels four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman would be the ideal candidate to reverse GB’s fortunes.

Becker told BBC Sport: “I would like to see Tim involved in some shape or form because I think he is a big role model.

“He has shown not that long ago that he was one of the best players.”

And the German explained the 35-year-old Henman would be better equipped to communicate with younger players than Lloyd, Henman’s senior by 20 years.

Becker continued: “It is very difficult to speak the language of the kids today. You have to be not that far away from them in years to have some sort of communication with them.

“I think Tim would have that, plus he was a great player.”

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Champions League: 5-star Arsenal Ease to Quarter Finals Wed, 10 Mar 2010 00:22:48 +0000 Alex Homer nicklas bendtner 090310

Nicklas Bendtner’s hat-trick and goals from Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboué saw Arsenal to a thumping 5-0 win (aggregate 6-2) over Porto on Tuesday and through to the Champions League quarter finals.

Two goals in 15 minutes from Danish International Bendtner, crafted by Andrey Arshavin, saw the Gunners turn round their 2-1 first leg deficit before the break.

It took a jinxing run from Samir Nasri however to fire the Gunners’ second half showing as complacency took hold after Bendtner’s brace cancelled out costly first leg errors by Lukasz Fabianski.

Nasri cut inside from the right wing and weaved his way past three Porto defenders in the box before manufacturing the chance to hammer the ball emphatically home from a tight angle.

Until that magical moment, Brazilian International Helton had kept Porto’s hopes of progression alive with a series of fine saves, including denying conjurer Nasri’s left-foot shot with his fingertips.

Just three minutes later it appeared all Helton’s efforts had been in vain as Arshavin broke with pace from outside his own penalty area and played Eboué in with a backwards through ball.

Such was the Ivorian International’s confidence that the second-half substitute first rounded Helton before sweeping the ball into an empty net with his left foot as he tumbled.

But when Eboué was bundled over in the box in the dying seconds, Bendtner was not to be denied the chance to put the gloss on the evening, and bag his first senior hat-trick, from the resultant spotkick.

Elsewhere, Arjen Robben’s 30-yard strike ensured Bayern Munich’s passage to the quarter final stage on away goals following their 4-4 aggregate draw with Fiorentina.

Goals from Juan Vargas and a double from Stevan Jovetic, scored either side of Bayern’s Mark van Bommel, put the Italians 3-1 ahead in the Artemio Franchi stadium before Robben’s long-ranger saw the Germans through.

Premier League

Meanwhile Darren Bent matched Bendtner’s European efforts with a hat-trick of his own after Frazier Campbell opened the Black Cat’s scoring after just 41 seconds in their 4-0 crushing of Bolton.

Sam Ricketts was sent off conceding the penalty that led to Bent’s second before the former Spurs striker bagged his third two minutes from time.

And a double from Cameron Jerome gave Birmingham revenge over Portsmouth for dumping them out of the FA Cup, though Nwanko Kanu’s header threatened a tighter finish than the Blues’ eventual 2-1 win.

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Kathryn Bigelow Wins First Female Best Director Oscar Mon, 08 Mar 2010 19:41:55 +0000 Alex Homer kathryn bigelow 080310

Kathryn Bigelow made history on Sunday as the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director for the Iraq war film The Hurt Locker.

Bigelow beat her ex-husband James Cameron, director of Avatar, to six Oscars, including Best Picture and Bigelow’s award coincided fittingly with International Women’s Day on Monday.

Cameron had been widely expected to repeat the success he claimed with Titanic, which was awarded 11 Oscars in 1998.

But Barbara Streisand’s exclamation of “It’s About Time” on opening the envelope before Bigelow’s award provided something of a spoiler for the Academy’s first female Best Director winner.

Meanwhile Cameron’s $300million 3D blockbuster managed just three minor awards –for Art Direction, Cinematography and, perhaps predictably, Visual Effects.

Best Actress went to Sandra Bullock for her role in American football drama The Blind Side while Jeff Bridges scooped Best Actor for his performance in Crazy Heart.

Hollywood Brits

Dame Helen Mirren, Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan all missed out after their nominations for Best Actress and Best Actor categories, despite Firth and Mulligan’s success at the Baftas.

The writing team behind In the Loop, including Armando Ianucci, and Nick Hornby for An Education both returned empty-handed for their adaptations.

Previous Oscar winners Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, and Jenny Shircore, make-up artist on The Young Victoria, fared no better.

The surest sign however the British contingent lost out to American talent, was Barry Ackroyd’s disappointment for his cinematography on the night’s runaway success, The Hurt Locker.

Fellow Britons Sandy Powell, costume designer for The Young Victoria, and Ray Beckett, one of the sound editors on The Hurt Locker, carried the flag however with victories in their fields.

The Oscars 2010 in full

Directing – Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Picture – The Hurt Locker
Actress in a Leading Role – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Actor in a Leading Role – Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Actress in a Supporting Role – Mo’Nique, Precious (based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire)
Actor in a Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Animated Feature Film – Up
Original Screenplay – The Hurt Locker, by Mark Boal
Adapted Screenplay – Precious ( based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire), by Geoffrey Fletcher
Foreign Language Film – El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes), Argentina
Documentary Feature – The Cove
Documentary Short – Music by Prudence
Short Film (Animated) – Logorama
Short Film (Live Action) – The New Tenants
Music (Original Score) – Up
Music (Original Song) – The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett)
Art Direction – Avatar
Cinematography – Avatar
Costume Design – The Young Victoria
Film Editing – The Hurt Locker
Make-Up – Star Trek
Sound Editing – The Hurt Locker
Sound Mixing – The Hurt Locker
Visual Effects – Avatar

This picture is from flickr

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Kieswetter Century Gives England Whitewash Fri, 05 Mar 2010 13:08:07 +0000 Alex Homer kieswetter in epp_dd_041109_p

Craig Kieswetter’s maiden One-Day International century set up England for a 45-run win against Bangladesh, securing a 3-0 series whitewash in Chittagong on Friday.

England 284/5 (50 overs: Kieswetter 107 Morgan 36, Razzak 2/40)

Bangladesh 239/9 (50 overs: Ahmed 46 Rahim 40, Bresnan 4/28 Swann2/38)

The Johannesburg-born opener bounced back from low scores in his first two outings for the senior side with 107 from 124 balls, including nine fours and three sixes.

Fireworks down the order from the in-form Eoin Morgan (36) and Luke Wright, with 32 not out off 13 balls, ensured England reached an imposing 284-5 at the end of their allotment, with 103 runs coming from the last nine overs.

Bangladesh in response showed their naivety as an International team in letting the run rate spiral out of their control in the middle overs, with no batsman managing a half century.

Tim Bresnan meanwhile topped his ODI best bowling figures – including the wickets of Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Suhrawadi Shuvo and Shafiul Islam – as his 4/28 bettered his previous best of 3/51 in the second ODI of the series.

In so doing Bresnan bagged a place for the upcoming two-Test series with Bangladesh, as England’s win was tempered by the news Ryan Sidebottom will fly home with a thigh injury.

MRI scans on injuries sustained by Stuart Broad and Graham Onions returned positive results but Middlesex’s Steven Finn will join the Test squad as seam-bowling cover.

After the early loss of Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh’s recovered their chase as Aftab Ahmed and Mushfiqur Rahim grew in confidence in their 56-run partnership.

A mix-up with Rahim however saw Ahmed (46) run out, while Rahim (40) contrived to sweep Graeme Swann to Bresnan on the deep wicket boundary as his strokeplay was growing in fluency.

And the home side’s chances effectively disappeared with the dismissal of captain Shakib Al Hasan.

After a run-a-ball 38, Al Hasan fell victim to an LBW decision off the part-time bowling of Kevin Pietersen and Bangladesh were unable to match England’s first innings thereafter.

The lack of planning that went into the chase showed when, with the run rate climbing beyond eight and over, Bangladesh delayed taking their second Powerplay.

With established batsmen Mahmudullah and Naeem Islam at the crease, eventually dismissed for pedestrian scores of 33 off 54 balls and 18 off 31 balls respectively, that criminal error ultimately cost them.

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Dalai Lama’s Goodwill on Twitter Thu, 04 Mar 2010 19:09:19 +0000 Alex Homer dalia lama 040310

The Dalai Lama is on Twitter and is tweeting for a better world, gathering over 140,000 followers since joining the social networking site on 22nd February this year.

The 75-year-old Tibetan leader has so far used his account, verified by the blue tick box next to his profile, to spread messages of global goodwill including ‘Dalai Lama Uurges*sic U.S. To Spread Democracy in NSU Speech’ on 24th February.

And such spelling mistakes suggest the humanity that Philippa Carrick, chief executive of the Tibet Relief Fund, cites as the reason his Holiness is so popular.

Ms Carrick told The Times: “He has an inordinate amount of followers. It is testimony to the remarkable outreach he has.

“Whether people are Buddhist or not, they respect his spirituality and humanity. ”

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Morgan Blitz Sees a Nervy England Home, Just Tue, 02 Mar 2010 17:08:44 +0000 Alex Homer champions trophy sri lanka_dd_250909_p

Eoin Morgan became the first batsman to score centuries for two different countries as he saw England to a nervy two-wicket victory over Bangladesh with 110 not out off 104 balls on Tuesday.

Bangladesh 260/6 (50 overs: Rahim 76 Kayes 63, Bresnan 3/51)

England 261/8 (48.5 overs: Morgan 110 not out Cook 60, Al Hasan 3/32 Razzak 3/52)

As wickets tumbled in Mirpur, Morgan showed a Michael Bevan-esque acceleration, powering 30 in a 32-run partnership spanning 3.1 overs with debutant James Tredwell.

With England in their Powerplay, Shakib Al Hasan set five fieldsman inside the ring on the offside for Abdur Razzak with three overs remaining.

That Morgan in response reverse swept a quicker ball outside leg stump from the left-arm spinner through backward point, epitomised his calm.

And with 16 needed off the final two overs, the Anglo-Irishman’s sense of theatre was such he managed boundaries over leg and extra cover before he struck Shafiul Islam for an enormous six to seal victory with seven balls remaining.

Though without leading seamer Mashrafe Mortaza, who withdrew from the ODI squad to visit his ailing mother, Mushfiqur Rahim’s and Imrul Kayes’s earlier efforts saw Bangladesh to their highest ODI total against England.

Debutant Suhrawadi Shuvo and Naeem Islam provided late fireworks in the latest indication Bangladesh are a fearless side.

And Craig Kieswetter’s dismissal from his second ball struck a further psychological blow before Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood fell LBW to Razzak, leaving England 68/3.

Alastair Cook rebuilt the innings, bringing up his half century as Morgan found his feet, before Cook was caught behind off Al Hasan.

And Matt Prior picked up where Cook left off in a 90-run partnership with Morgan which seemed to be taking England home before left-arm spin again intervened, when Prior fell LBW to Razzak on 42.

While set, Prior had seemed set to assuage all doubt of his stature as wicketkeeper/batsman by comparison to recent challenger Kieswetter.

In a microcosm of his frustrating recent career Prior fell, having reduced the rate to a manageable run-a-ball with Morgan and in so doing exposed the lower order.

First Luke Wright then Tim Bresnan fell attempting ambitious slog sweeps off Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, before Al Hasan castled Graeme Swann, who had tried to saunter down the wicket.

And with Stuart Broad demoted down the batting order with a back problem, it was left to Tredwell to hold up an end while Morgan powered England home. 

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Keeper Conundrum Drags on With Davies’ Selection Tue, 02 Mar 2010 08:00:53 +0000 Alex Homer matt prior 020310 

Steven Davies’s selection alongside Craig Kieswetter and Matt Prior for the 30-man ICC World T20 squad, announced yesterday, shows the selectors hedging their bets Kieswetter is the real deal.

Kieswetter’s debut in England’s six-wicket win on Sunday provides as clear an indication as any coach Andy Flower believes the Somerset man has the batting ability to play international cricket. That he did not keep is rather an indication the selectors do not yet feel his glovework is up to scratch.

To then name Davies in the 30-man squad shows the selectors unwilling to stick their neck out and say Kieswetter can become the all-round package. And so England’s keeper conundrum drags on.

Geraint Jones, Chris Read, Tim Ambrose, James Foster – you almost need a pneumonic to remember them. And having seen off those challengers, Prior now has Kieswetter and Davies hot on his heels.

Kieswetter’s rare ability to hit over the top has selectors weak at the knees at the thought of a quick-scoring opener. And if he continues to improve his capacity to build innings that all-round ability would allow England to include five bowlers in Tests.

Judging by his top-order selection against Bangladesh, Kieswetter pips Davies and Prior as a batsman, how bad must Geoff Miller and Co. then think his keeping to persist with Prior?

Since he became England’s first-choice, Prior endured criticism for the disparity between his keeping and batting.

The irony in all this is in seeking to balance the two, improving dramatically through work with Bruce French, Prior’s scores have dropped off – averaging just 22.57 in the recent drawn Test series with South Africa.

French’s influence however was obvious. So highly-regarded is he for his development of Prior, he has worked closely with Kieswetter throughout his rise.

Yet the Jo’burg-born stumper must have room for improvement with Davies still in the frame. England’s first-choice must prove himself across both disciplines. If only French could improve his batting…

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Cook Left Out of 30-Man World T20 Squad Mon, 01 Mar 2010 17:52:40 +0000 Alex Homer alastair cook 010310

England include five uncapped players in their ICC World T20 squad but found no place for current 50-over captain Alastair Cook, it was announced today.

Hampshire Opener Michael Lumb, Warwickshire and Middlesex seamers Chris Woakes and Steven Finn, Yorkshire left-armer spinner David Wainwright and Somerset all-rounder Peter Trego were all called up.

Cook, who is currently deputising as skipper for Andrew Strauss, has however not yet done enough to convince selectors he is cut out for T20, revealed National Selector Geoff Miller.

Paul Collingwood was named T20 captain in today’s squad, which also features recalls for players out of the recent international reckoning: Owais Shah, Ravi Bopara and Sussex’s Michael Yardy.

The 30-man squad will be trimmed to 15 by the end of the month for the blockbuster event, which takes place in the Caribbean between 30th April and 16th May.

ICC World T20 squad in full: Paul Collingwood (captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Steven Davies, Joe Denly, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Saj Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Peter Trego, Jonathan Trott, David Wainwright, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy.

This picture is from flickr.

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Owner Will Fund Portsmouth Administration Fri, 26 Feb 2010 13:00:07 +0000 Alex Homer fratton park 260210

Portsmouth owner Balram Chainrai has agreed to continue funding Pompey as they became the first Premier League club to go into administration on Friday.

Avram Grant’s team will accept a nine point penalty which will almost certainly see them relegated at the end of the season.

With four potential buyers now rumoured however, waiting on administration, it appears the 112-year-old club has a much better chance of surviving.

Going into administration will see the winding-up process started by her Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which was due before the High Court next week, suspended automatically.

Pompey must however enter a Company Voluntary Agreement for unsecured creditors by the end of the season or begin next season facing another deduction of at least 15 points.

This picture is from flickr.

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Europa League: Fulham to Face Juventus in Last 16 Fri, 26 Feb 2010 12:08:06 +0000 Alex Homer mark schwarzer 260210

Fulham will face Juventus in the last 16 of the Europa League after holding on to a draw and a 3-2 aggregate win over UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday.

Brede Hangeland gave Roy Hodgson’s men the lead going into the break as he met Damien Duff’s free kick with a forceful header against the run of play.

And with Mark Schwarzer (pictured) in the form that saw him named pundits goalkeeper of the year for 2009, it looked as if the Cottagers might hang on for an unlikely victory.

Douglas Costa had other ideas however as excellent approach play saw him tee up Jadson 12 yards out for the Ukrainians’ equaliser after 69 minutes.

Fulham’s attempts to cling on to their aggregate lead were not helped when first Bobby Zamora limped off with an Achilles problem and then Danny Murphy was sent off for kicking Darijo Srna in extra-time.

Shakhtar however had no time left to capitalise as the West Londoner’s defence held out for a famous European cup tie with the Turin giants.

Goals from Javier Mascherano, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard meanwhile kept alive Liverpool’s hopes of silverware this season as they came from behind to beat Unirea Urziceni in Romania.

An uncontested Joao Bruno Fernandes headed home a corner from Razvan Padureta after 18 minutes to put Unirea level 1-1 on aggregate.

Mascherano made amends for the Reds’ lacklustre marking when he powered home a loose ball from 25 yards for just his second goal in three years at Anfield.

Babel netted the visitors’s second when he pulled down a Gerrard free kick and shot on the turn to effectively seal Liverpool’s passage into the last 16 and a tie with Lille, before Gerrard added gloss to the victory with Liverpool’s third.

Fellow Merseysiders Everton were left to concentrate on the Premier League as their chance of a trophy in 2010 disappeared after their 3-0 loss at Sporting Lisbon.

Miguel Veloso picked up where he left off with his late penalty at Goodison Park to open the scoring, before Pedro Mendes and Matias Fernandez put the tie beyond the Toffees’ reach.

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Sachin Tendulkar Makes World Record ODI Score Wed, 24 Feb 2010 17:44:59 +0000 Alex Homer tendulkar fan chaudhary 240210

Leading Test and One Day International run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar today made history again as the first man ever to score a double hundred in an ODI, against South Africa in Gwalior.

Tendulkar eased past the previous record score of 194 – held by former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar, against India in 1996-7, and equalled by Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry against Bangladesh earlier this year.

Tendulkar reached the landmark with a single through gully off Charl Langeveldt in the final over of the Indian innings and the 36-year-old’s knock was a testament to his longevity as a cricketer.

Cameo’s from Dinesh Karthik (79), Yusuf Pathan (36) and crucially MS Dhoni, with a brutal 35-ball 68 including four sixes, eased pressure on Tendulkar as he began to cramp on the way to 200 not out.

While Dhoni was second fiddle in his 101-run partnership with Tendulkar, Langeveldt bowling to the little master, despite an eye injury, added an interesting subplot to the tale.

Chasing India’s eventual 401/3 from their 50 overs, South Africa’s chase was doomed as they fell to 105/6 inside 15 overs.

Langeveldt’s Due

On a day when the crowd raised the roof at Gwalior for Tendulkar however, Langeveldt raised the bar for team spirit in coming out to bat to ensure his teammate AB de Villiers reached a fifth ODI century of his own, albeit in a losing cause.

In so doing, the Proteas tailender matched his own previous ODI best of 12 despite his impaired vision due to plastering around his eye before he became Indian’s final wicket in their 153-run victory.

Mumbai’s favourite son grabbed all the headlines, though he hit just three sixes compared with 25 fours in his 147-ball masterclass. As ever with Tendulkar, brute strength was a distant second to stamina.

Tendulkar’s achievement is all the more special for the expectation he shoulders from his avid fans in every game, to an extent seen in his award of a silver bat for 20 years at the forefront of Indian cricket at the end of today’s match.

This picture is from B.Sandman on flickr.

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