The Spin | England reaping the benefits of Lions tours that turn tyros into Test players

Four of England’s winning Test team in Galle were on a successful Lions tour to Sri Lanka two years ago and this is one part of ECB planning that should be praisedAs the projected costs of The Hundred mount, tripling from the original estimate of £13m up to £40m – and counting – budgets are being slashed at ECB Towers. Gone is Andrew Strauss’s pet North-South series, gone is the not-so-mourned Pace Programme, gone are the Overseas Placements that so benefited Ollie Pope and Mason Crane in consecutive winters in Sydney.But still hanging on, whether by thread or rope, is the Lions Programme, perhaps English cricket’s most secret and deadly weapon. The first part of this winter’s tour starts on Sunday against Pakistan A, with a four-day match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Five one day and two Twenty20 games follow over the next three weeks, ricocheting between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Pope has been dispatched from the main England tour to get more match practice than he would twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines in Sri Lanka. Then, after Christmas, the Lions head to India. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

David McNamara: Referees plan to use 'rock, paper, scissors' in support of banned official

Referees at some grassroots football matches are planning to use the rock, paper, scissors game at kick-off to show support for a suspended official.

15-11-2018

NBA: Detroit Pistons beat Toronto Raptors in thrilling final six-second finish

Watch the thrilling finish to the Detroit Pistons' 106-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors in the NBA on Wednesday, with a Kawhi Leonard mistake costing the Raptors dear.

15-11-2018

England 3-0 USA: player ratings from the friendly at Wembley

Debutant Callum Wilson scored and shone, while Wayne Rooney’s farewell was a fitting reminder of his qualityJordan Pickford Saved well from Pulisic to deny USA an unlikely opening goal. Subbed at half-time. 6 Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Joe Cokanasiga has power and pace to add to England’s strength in depth

Eddie Jones gives Bath wing his debut against Japan, having been impressed with how his fitness has improvedWhen Joe Cokanasiga was plucked from obscurity to tour Argentina last year, Eddie Jones was typically blunt as to why: “He’s big and he’s fast.” On Thursday – Cokanasiga’s 21st birthday – Jones handed the Fiji-born wing a Test debut and cited his immeasurable progress over the past 18 months. Truth be told however, the reason has not changed, even if the soundbite has: “He’s got power and he’s got pace.” Related: The Breakdown | It was tough on Sam Underhill, but England try was rightly disallowed Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

15-11-2018

Croatia 3-2 Spain: Home win means England can still advance in Nations League

Croatia gain a dramatic injury-time victory over Spain in their Nations League Group A4 tie - and keep alive England's hopes of winning the tournament.

15-11-2018

'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

15-11-2018

'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

15-11-2018

Anna Gasser makes history as first female snowboarder to land triple cork – video

Olympic champion Anna Gasser has written another chapter in her snowboard career after becoming the first woman to land a cab triple cork. The 27-year-old pulled off the jump on her first attempt at the Stubai Glacier in Austria.The cab triple 1260 involves taking off in the switch position with your 'wrong' foot forward, followed by three and a half rotations in the air, and then landing in the forward position. The Austrian also made history in 2013 with a cab double cork 900 kicker, and 2015 when she became the first woman to land a competition cab double underflip. She also claimed the gold medal in the Big Air competition at the Pyeongchang Games.Winter Olympics: hits and misses from Pyeongchang Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Croatia stun Spain to set up Nations League decider against England

• Tin Jedvaj’s stoppage-time winner gives Croatia 3-2 win• Wembley showdown will decide qualification and relegationTin Jedvaj scored a last-gasp winner to revive Croatia’s hopes of reaching the Nations League finals as Spain fell to a 3-2 defeat in Zagreb.The game was goalless until Andrej Kramaric tucked Ivan Perisic’s headed pass beyond David de Gea in the 54th minute. However, Spain responded immediately when Dani Ceballos recorded his first senior goal with a left-footed drive. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

15-11-2018

Women's World T20: India beat Ireland and take 'team hat-trick'

Three wickets in successive balls - though not all credited to the bowler - help India beat Ireland by 52 runs to reach the Women's World Twenty20 semi-finals.

15-11-2018

Jack Leach confident England can win second Test despite Sri Lanka’s lead

• Spinner and nightwatchman says bowling last is advantage • Joe Root sends letter to England fans forced out of hotelPresumably Jack Leach drove the team bus home as well. He had done everything else in Pallekele; he bowled the most overs, he opened the batting and then he was wheeled out in front of the press corps after England’s trickiest day of the Test series.Leach had no idea he would be opening the batting until leaving the field; it was a ploy that made sound cricketing sense but still a bit of shock to him. “Rory Burns said: ‘I’ve been waiting a while to get to this position, you’ve done it straightaway,’” Leach said. Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Rugby union: talking points from the second round of autumn Tests

England take heart from All Blacks defeat, Springboks’ power will test Scotland’s growing optimism and Italy prove a point In 2012 England also went 15-0 up on New Zealand at Twickenham and went on to win 38-21. This time they could not score a point after the 25th minute, instead allowing the All Blacks to snatch a 16-15 victory in a classic encounter of its type. Which team, though, is on the steeper upward curve? If the heavy rain was a leveller, there was no disguising the fact England, after a tough year, are on the way back. They now know they can ruffle the All Blacks, even with a patched-up pack, and South Africa’s two shuddering recent games against New Zealand also showed the world’s No 1 side are not invincible. Brodie Retallick may have had the last laugh at Twickenham but the All Black pack will have to dig deep again to avoid being ambushed in Dublin on Saturday. Robert Kitson Continue reading...

15-11-2018

Video assistant referees (VAR) in English football - the story so far

Match of the Day pundits debate how successful the video assistant referee system has been so far in England.

15-11-2018

Sri Lanka surge as England toil despite Ben Stokes' brilliance in the field

Roshen Silva leads way for Sri Lanka to frustrate EnglandEngland 290; Sri Lanka 336. Sri Lanka lead by 46 runsFor the first time in the series England’s plans have gone awry. A first-innings lead was expected after their spirited recovery on Wednesday evening on a helpful pitch, which, as promised, is encouraging more turn for the spinners. Yet 24 hours later Sri Lanka were still batting and in proud possession of a significant lead. A gripping pitch brings a gripping contest and after two days the home side, seemingly in disarray after the first Test in Galle, were just about winning it.Roshen Silva, the replacement for the injured captain Dinesh Chandimal, led the way with a beautifully judged innings of 85, which ended with England having to bat for one over. It was defended successfully by Jack Leach, which presumably means that England will have a new No 3, Keaton Jennings, on Friday. Continue reading...

15-11-2018