Tag Archives: centurions

England win Test series in India for first time in 28 years

England end 28-year wait for series victory in India as Trott bats hosts into submission

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 17 December 2012

England scored a famous 2-1 Test series victory over India after centurions Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell shut the hosts out to confirm the stalemate they needed in Nagpur.

Trott (143) and Bell (116no) barely had a moment's anxiety in a stand of 208 before England declared on 352 for four in the final session, with a lead of 356 which rendered an India second innings unnecessary.

It is almost 28 years since England last won a Test series here, under David Gower and when current captain Alastair Cook was a babe in arms only weeks old.

Party time: Prior celebrates victory with England back room staff

Party time: Prior celebrates victory with England back room staff

Cook has been one of the foundations
of this success, with centuries in his first three Tests after replacing
Andrew Strauss as permanent captain.

But it was Trott and Bell who today
ensured an achievement all the more notable after England's crushing
nine-wicket defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad.

There was much reason for personal
satisfaction too – in Trott's second hundred of 2012 while Warwickshire
team-mate Bell registered his first since making 235 against these same
opponents at The Oval in 2010, and in a country where he had previously
passed 50 just once in three tours.

Cook, Kevin Pietersen and spinners
Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann had begun England's comeback in Mumbai;
then the captain was at it again in Kolkata last week, when Steven Finn
and in particular James Anderson's mastery of reverse-swing completed
England's skills set.

It was heartening that Trott and Bell
should be involved in the home straight, though, after their relative
troubles in a year which has seen England lose seven of 15 Tests as well
as their position at the top of the International Cricket Council
rankings.

After Trott's ducks in Ahmedabad and
Mumbai, he contributed significantly at Eden Gardens and here –
completing the process with a typically cussed near five-hour hundred
and also passing 1,000 runs after all in the past 12 months.

England's number three reached three
figures with a trademark boundary wide of mid-on off leg-spinner Piyush
Chawla, and celebrated with feeling.

All around him India, minus veteran
master batsman Sachin Tendulkar who was off the field with a sore neck,
wore glum faces resigned to a first home series defeat in eight years.

Bell did nothing to lighten their mood
either and, having had just one escape on 75 when a fierce cut at
Piyush Chawla was edged and put down by Virender Sehwag at slip, reached
his painstaking six-hour hundred from 293 balls.

Getting shirty: KP enjoys a beer in his shirt signed by all the players

Getting shirty: KP enjoys a beer in his shirt signed by all the players

Along the way, there had been 13 fours and a six over long-off from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.

Soon after that blow to bring up the
200 stand, Trott was finally gone – India's only success of the day when
he was caught at leg-slip off Ravichandran Ashwin from the 310th
delivery he faced.

He and Bell had joined forces at a
wobbly 94 for three when Pietersen was bowled shouldering arms at Jadeja
last night, and Trott's only alarm came on 106 when he missed a Chawla
top-spinner but survived the lbw appeal.

England arrived here needing only a
draw, but Cook was at pains beforehand to spell out the danger of
settling for limited ambition with stakes so high.

In the event, conditions dictated that
the stalemate would have to do on a mesmerisingly slow surface which
precluded a scoring rate much in excess of two an over throughout.

Despite its crazy-paving cracks from the outset, the VCA Stadium strip never deteriorated either.

Unwatered and unrolled for almost
three weeks before the match, the intention seemed to be to provide a
'result' pitch in the hope India's four spinners could outbowl England's
two.

If those were the expectations, it was soon abundantly clear the hosts were barking up the wrong tree.

Solitary seamer Ishant Sharma was by
far the pick of their attack in the first innings, when low bounce from
his high trajectory posed the biggest threat to England.

But after the tourists recovered from
16 for two to top 300, it was hard to see India getting far enough in
front quickly enough to apply the pressure.

So it proved as, even after a near
double-century fifth-wicket stand between Virat Kohli and captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, they ended up declaring with a marginal deficit.

England knew then they merely needed
to bat long in increasingly benign conditions to claim the prize of a
historic series victory.

Thanks to their relentless fourth-wicket pair, it was never in doubt.

Unstoppable: Trott's 143 laid the foundations for England's decisive draw with India

Unstoppable: Trott's 143 laid the foundations for England's decisive draw with India

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Steven Gerrard feeling nervous before 100th England appearance

Gerrard feeling nervous as he prepares to pull on special boots to mark 100th England game

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 13 November 2012

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, the Champions League, double FA Cup and thrice League Cup winner, has admitted feeling nervous on the eve of England's friendly with Sweden on Wednesday night.

But for Gerrard this is not just a run-of-the-mill calendar-padding fixture, this is the match in which he will win his 100th international cap.

So we can forgive the all-action midfielder his flustered demeanour – only five others have played more times for England.

History boy: Steven Gerrard admits he is nervous on the eve of winning his 100th England cap

History boy: Steven Gerrard admits he is nervous on the eve of winning his 100th England cap

Bootiful: He is commemorating the game with a pair of specially embroidered boots

Bootiful: He is commemorating the game with a pair of specially embroidered boots

'I'm excited. I'm slightly nervous which I haven't been for a while,' explained Gerrard.

'I can't wait for the game to start. My England journey has had ups and downs a lot like any other player.

'I still feel I have a few chapters to write yet. I don't feel I'm at the end.

'I'm really happy with my form in an England shirt at the moment.'

Gerrard has a pair of specially embroidered boots to commemorate the occasion, with 'Sweden vs. England', '100 Caps' and the date of the matched etched into the leather.

Preparation: Gerrard (centre) during the training session at the Friends Arena, Stockholm

Preparation: Gerrard (centre) during the training session at the Friends Arena, Stockholm

One of few: Only five other players have broken the 100 cap milestone

One of few: Only five other players have broken the 100 cap milestone

Revisited: The classic Bobby Moore photo from the 70s was redone with Gerrard in the centre

Revisited: The classic Bobby Moore photo from the 70s was redone with Gerrard in the centre

In addition to the boots he also marked the event by returning to his primary school and posing for an exclusive Sportsmail photo with the children wearing his 99 caps, a la Bobby Moore in 1973.

Peter Shilton (125 caps), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106 caps) and Billy Wright (105) are the centurions before him.

Beckham's record for an outfield player is Gerrard's next target but he says his focus lies on ensuring England successfully navigate their group and make it to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

'I don't know (if he will pass the mark) we'll have to wait and see,' said Gerrard.

'David is a hero of mine. I've always looked up to him and I enjoyed playing alongside him.

Leading the way: David Beckham holds the record for most caps for an outfield player

Leading the way: David Beckham holds the record for most caps for an outfield player

'But to be honest it is not important to me if I beat David's record. I just want to qualify this team for the next big tournament.'

Sweden and Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled the Englishman 'fantastic' and told him he should be playing at a bigger club than Liverpool.

Ibrahimovic said: ‘I think English players have a big heart, always fighting and very aggressive. But for me, Steven Gerrard feels more international. He has more skills than a normal player.

'He could have played for a big international club outside the Premier League.

On the wind-up: Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Gerrard could have played for a big club

On the wind-up: Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Gerrard could have played for a big club

He added: 'He always plays at a high level when he is not injured. He is a very good person to have as a team-mate in your team. He always gives 200%, is a good fighter and has good skills and a good touch with the ball also.

Gerrard laughed off the comment saying: 'I’m a big fan of Zlatan as a player but I’m not going to take his advice.

'I am very happy at Liverpool and in my opinion I am at one of the biggest clubs in the world, a team that has won the European Cup five times. So I’m happy where I am, but thanks for his opinion.'

Leading the way: Gerrard is set to captain England on Wednesday night

Leading the way: Gerrard is set to captain England on Wednesday night

Steven Gerrard cleared to face Sweden for England

Gerrard set for 100th England cap after recovering from knee injury

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UPDATED:

18:40 GMT, 12 November 2012

England captain Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap on Wednesday after a scan confirmed he suffered no knee ligament damage during Liverpool's Premier League draw with Chelsea yesterday.

Gerrard suffered a knock late in the 1-1 draw and, after reporting for duty in Manchester, was sent for a precautionary scan by the Football Association.

The scan revealed there was no damage, meaning Gerrard will lead his country into their friendly against Sweden in Stockholm, where he will become only the sixth Englishman to reach a century of caps.

Stricken: Steven Gerrard had a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Stricken: Steven Gerrard had a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Doubt: Steven Gerrard picked up a knee injury against Chelsea on Sunday
England's centurions

Peter Shilton (125 caps)

David Beckham (115 caps)

Bobby Moore (108 caps)

Bobby Charlton (106 caps)

Billy Wright (105 caps)

An FA statement read: 'Steven Gerrard
has been cleared to travel with the England squad to Sweden having
undergone a precautionary scan on Monday afternoon.

'The England captain reported to the
team hotel following Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea and, having
received positive news, is set to win his 100th cap against Sweden on
Wednesday evening in Stockholm.'

Gerrard picked up the injury after a collision with Fernando Torres midway through the second half at Stamford Bridge.

England boss Roy Hodgson's plans for the friendly have been hit by a string of withdrawals, Gerrard's team-mate Jonjo Shelvey among them.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge paid tribute to Gerrard, saying: 'He is a great player and has been fantastic with me when I've been in the squad.

'If you ask any midfielder who has played against him they will say he's a great player. For them to say he is such a great player and to be on 99 caps is a huge achievement and hopefully he will win his 100th cap on Wednesday.'

Danny Welbeck

Joe Hart

Swede dreams: Danny Welbeck and Joe Hart will be in the travelling party bound for Stockholm

At the other end of the experience spectrum, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has been called into the senior squad for the first time, and Sturridge has already been impressed by what he has seen.

'I've watched him a few times, he is very talented and looked sharp in training today,' Sturridge added. 'He has a lot of skills and I am looking forward to playing with him.

'I think it's a great vote of
confidence from the manager to pick him even though he's playing in the
championship. I'm sure that's given him a lot of confidence.'

England leaving hotel

Wilfried Zaha

On their way: England players leave their hotel, including Wilfried Zaha (right) who earned his first call

As for his own position, Sturridge admitted it can be frustrating to not play as often as he would like for Chelsea, but is grateful for the opportunity to show England manager Roy Hodgson what he is capable of.

'It's a lot more difficult when you
are not playing regularly but I try to train well and as hard as I can
and just wait for the opportunities,' he added. 'I am thankful for the
manager choosing me and giving me the showcase to show what I am capable
of.

'When he got the job he made it clear it
was not always about players who are starting for the team and if he
believes in you he will choose you for his squad.'

Raheem Sterling

Roy Hodgson

Hopes: Raheem Sterling (left) will win his first cap if he is given the nod by manager Roy Hodgson (right)

Everton's Leon Osman is in the senior
squad for the first time at the age of 31, but the midfielder insisted
he had never fully given up hope of being called up.

'You always (have the) desire to play
for your country and I was still hopeful,' Osman said. 'I had stopped
worrying or looking for my name in the squad every time, but I didn't
give up hope.

'I am feeling good at the minute, I am
enjoying it and pleased that the form I have shown for Everton has been
recognised. To find ourselves fourth and playing probably the best
football at the club for a good number of years has played a big part
(in my selection).

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

'It's strange to be a rookie but have more experience than some of the others but I'm enjoying it so far. Hopefully, I can bring a bit of maturity and experience to the team.'

Asked about the extent of his England ambitions, Osman added: 'I have developed late but it's great to be here and hopefully I will be able to get one cap; but if I get one I will want two, if I get two I will want four.'

Steven Gerrard a doubt for England

Gerrard's 100th England cap in doubt as captain undergoes scan on knee injury

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UPDATED:

16:12 GMT, 12 November 2012

Steven Gerrard may have to wait to make his 100th appearance for England after picking up a knee injuring during Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The midfielder will have a scan this afternoon to determine the extent of the knock but the captain is expected to travel to Sweden for the friendly in Stockholm.

Gerrard picked up the injury after a collision with Fernando Torres midway through the second half at Stamford Bridge.

Stricken: Steven Gerrard will have a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Stricken: Steven Gerrard will have a scan on his knee after picking up an injury against Chelsea

Doubt: Steven Gerrard picked up a knee injury against Chelsea on Sunday
England's centurions

Peter Shilton (125 caps)

David Beckham (115 caps)

Bobby Moore (108 caps)

Bobby Charlton (106 caps)

Billy Wright (105 caps)

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is hopeful Gerrard will be fit to join a prestigious list of England centurions but will be unlikely to want him risked if he is not 100 per cent fit.

'I think Steven will be alright,' Rodgers told Liverpool's official website. 'He has just opened up his medial ligament a bit. He has got some ice on his knee and we'll find out the full extent later on.'

England boss Roy Hodgson's plans for the friendly have been hit by a string of withdrawals, Gerrard's team-mate Jonjo Shelvey among them.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge paid tribute to Gerrard, saying: 'He is a great player and has been fantastic with me when I've been in the squad.

'If you ask any midfielder who has played against him they will say he's a great player. For them to say he is such a great player and to be on 99 caps is a huge achievement and hopefully he will win his 100th cap on Wednesday.'

Danny Welbeck

Joe Hart

Swede dreams: Danny Welbeck and Joe Hart will be in the travelling party bound for Stockholm

At the other end of the experience spectrum, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has been called into the senior squad for the first time, and Sturridge has already been impressed by what he has seen.

'I've watched him a few times, he is very talented and looked sharp in training today,' Sturridge added. 'He has a lot of skills and I am looking forward to playing with him.

'I think it's a great vote of
confidence from the manager to pick him even though he's playing in the
championship. I'm sure that's given him a lot of confidence.'

England leaving hotel

Wilfried Zaha

On their way: England players leave their hotel, including Wilfried Zaha (right) who earned his first call

As for his own position, Sturridge admitted it can be frustrating to not play as often as he would like for Chelsea, but is grateful for the opportunity to show England manager Roy Hodgson what he is capable of.

'It's a lot more difficult when you
are not playing regularly but I try to train well and as hard as I can
and just wait for the opportunities,' he added. 'I am thankful for the
manager choosing me and giving me the showcase to show what I am capable
of.

'When he got the job he made it clear it
was not always about players who are starting for the team and if he
believes in you he will choose you for his squad.'

Raheem Sterling

Roy Hodgson

Hopes: Raheem Sterling (left) will win his first cap if he is given the nod by manager Roy Hodgson (right)

Everton's Leon Osman is in the senior
squad for the first time at the age of 31, but the midfielder insisted
he had never fully given up hope of being called up.

'You always (have the) desire to play
for your country and I was still hopeful,' Osman said. 'I had stopped
worrying or looking for my name in the squad every time, but I didn't
give up hope.

'I am feeling good at the minute, I am
enjoying it and pleased that the form I have shown for Everton has been
recognised. To find ourselves fourth and playing probably the best
football at the club for a good number of years has played a big part
(in my selection).

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

Chance: Everton midfielder Leon Osman is also among those in line for a first England appearance

'It's strange to be a rookie but have more experience than some of the others but I'm enjoying it so far. Hopefully, I can bring a bit of maturity and experience to the team.'

Asked about the extent of his England ambitions, Osman added: 'I have developed late but it's great to be here and hopefully I will be able to get one cap; but if I get one I will want two, if I get two I will want four.'

Steven Gerrard set to become sixth England player to reach 100 caps

Gerrard on century duty as Liverpool man set to become sixth England player to reach 100 caps

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 7 November 2012

Steven Gerrard will on Thursday be named in Roy Hodgson's squad for next Wednesday's friendly in Sweden where he is set to become the sixth England player to reach 100 caps.

Hodgson plans to select some younger players to offer them a taste of international football but it is a prestigious game for the Swedes, to mark the opening of the 150million national stadium, the Friends Arena, built near the site of the stadium which hosted the 1958 World Cup final.

Century duty: Steven Gerrard is set to reach 100 caps

Century duty: Steven Gerrard is set to reach 100 caps

Barring injury, Gerrard will lead his country out in Stockholm.

He follows David Beckham, Peter Shilton, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Billy Wright into the band of England centurions.

Ashley Cole, also on 99 caps, is unlikely to be included because of his hamstring injury, and Frank Lampard is also out with a calf injury.

Wayne Rooney is expected to be inthe squad and Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson could earn a call-up.

How many Gerrard chats to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in training on Wednesday

How many Gerrard chats to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in training on Wednesday

Shuffling the pack: Roy Hodgson (right) is ready to pick a crop of young stars for the Sweden clash

Shuffling the pack: Roy Hodgson (right) is ready to pick a crop of young stars for the Sweden clash

David Beckham collects UEFA award for 100 caps at Wembley alongside Sir Bobby Robson

Centurion Beckham picks up UEFA gong at Wembley alongside Charlton and Shilton

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UPDATED:

17:39 GMT, 2 June 2012

David Beckham was given a standing ovation as he returned to Wembley alongside fellow England greats Sir Bobby Robson and Peter Shilton to collect his award for playing over 100 internationals.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star sat beside Manchester United legend and 1966 World Cup winner Charlton in the Royal Box to watch England's final Euro 2012 warm-up game against Belgium.

Ton-derful: David Beckham is presented with his commemorative century cap by FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley

Ton-derful: David Beckham is presented with his commemorative century cap by FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley

The pair were paraded at half-time to a rousing reception alongside former goalkeeper, and 1990 World Cup semi-finalist, Shilton.

The celebrated trio then received their gong from European football's governing body UEFA in recognition of surpassing the century milestone of caps for the Three Lions.

Centurions: Beckham was joined on the pitch by Sir Bobby Charlton, Shilton, Stephanie Moore and Billy Wright's family

Centurions: Beckham was joined on the pitch by Sir Bobby Charlton, Shilton, Stephanie Moore and Billy Wright's family

All smiles: Beckham and Peter Shilton were given a standing ovation at half-time during the Belgium game

All smiles: Beckham and Peter Shilton were given a standing ovation at half-time during the Belgium game

Beckham, who won 115 caps for England, revealed he is looking forward to the upcoming European Championships – which will the first major tournament the Three lions have played in without the midfielder since Euro '96.

He said: 'There will always be expectations on an England team going into a major competition.

National service: Beckham stood beside Charlton and Shilton (far R) in the Royal Box during the national anthem

National service: Beckham stood beside Charlton and Shilton (far R) in the Royal Box during the national anthem

'We've got a new manager and a lot of talented players coming through, so we're looking forward to this one.

'I want England to succeed in every competition they go into and every game they play. I'm looking forward to it.'

The widows of both Bobby Moore and Billy Wright were also present to accept the honour on behalf of their late husbands.

Harry Robinson"s idol threat with Shane Williams set to line up for Barbarians against Wales

Robinson's idol threat with Williams set to line up for Barbarians against Wales

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 30 May 2012

Facing the mighty Shane Williams on his final waltz at the Millennium Stadium is not the easiest way to begin your international career.

Thankfully for Wales and Cardiff winger Harry Robinson, keeping a close eye on his hero will be nothing new when he faces the Barbarians on Saturday, with seats on the plane to Australia at stake.

Robinson is 5ft 10in, just shy of 13 stone and has gunpowder in his boots.

Debut: Harry Robinson

Debut: Harry Robinson

He is no giant like George North or Alex Cuthbert but, like Williams, has proved you do not need to be a monster in this Wales back line, you just need a blistering turn of pace and a knack of finding a way round rather than through.

Robinson said: ‘I’m glad I got to play against Shane in an Ospreys shirt first. I think if I was playing him for the first time in an international I’d be petrified. But I know what to expect — the unexpected.

'He was a role model for me because I’ve never been a big guy playing rugby. I’ve always looked up to players with a similar stature like Shane. I try to play like him — stepping away from tackles. Not like George and Alex, who run through. He’s been an inspiration.’

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams and prop Rhodri Jones have also been handed first Test match appearances by caretaker coach Rob Howley, together with 19-year-old Robinson.

WALES TEAM

Liam Williams; Robinson, Bishop, Hook, Brew; Biggar, Lloyd Williams;
Gill, Matthew Rees (capt), Rhodri Jones, AW Jones, Evans, Turnbull, Ryan
Jones, Tipuric. Substitutes: Hibbard, James, Shingler, M Williams,
Webb, Warren, Harries.

Robinson's Blues colleague Martyn Williams, meanwhile, remains on course to win his 100th cap after being included among the replacements.

Williams is set to join Welsh centurions Stephen Jones and Gareth Thomas by reaching the three-figure landmark.

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees will captain a Wales side that includes a number of fellow Grand Slam and RBS 6 Nations winners this season such as locks Alun-Wyn Jones and Ian Evans, plus number eight Ryan Jones.

And there are returns to the Test arena for Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop and fly-half Dan Biggar, who both played key roles in last Sunday's RaboDirect PRO12 title-clinching victory over European champions Leinster in Dublin.

Williams apart, the bench also includes uncapped Scarlets centre Adam Warren for Wales' final game before embarking on a three-Test tour to Australia.

Ton up: Martyn Williams is set to earn his 100th cap

Ton up: Martyn Williams is set to earn his 100th cap

A group of players are set to leave for Australia tomorrow with assistant coach and defence specialist Shaun Edwards. That list includes star names such as Sam Warburton, Mike Phillips, George North, Adam Jones, Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau.

They will step up preparations for the first Test in Brisbane, with the remaining tour squad members arriving Down Under next Monday.

'We have picked a side on form, with an eye on bringing players through for the future, but very much with the intention of getting the summer campaign off to a winning start,' Howley said.

'We have an opportunity against the Barbarians to get an important summer series off to a winning start.

'We have momentum from the Six Nations, and the Ospreys have added to that with a great win in our domestic competition.

'We are now looking for the next step and a victory on home soil against a formidable Barbarians team before we set off for Australia.'

England beat West Indies by nine wickets at Trent Bridge to seal series victory

England crush Windies by nine wickets at Trent Bridge to seal series victory

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

15:33 GMT, 28 May 2012

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UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 28 May 2012

England v West Indies scorecard

Click here for a full scorecard

England coasted to a series-clinching nine-wicket win in the second Investec Test against the West Indies, wrapping up victory on the fourth evening at Trent Bridge.

Chasing 108 to win, captain Andrew Strauss (45) and Alastair Cook (43 not out) sealed a result – and an unassailable 2-0 lead with one game to play – that was all-but assured by last night's bowling exploits.

Marlon Samuels, following on from his first-innings century, at least succeeded in frustrating England with 76 not out in his side's 165 all out – a significant improvement on their overnight position of 61 for six.

All over: Alastair Cook (left) and Jonathan Trott (right) celebrate after scoring the winning runs

All over: Alastair Cook (left) and Jonathan Trott (right) celebrate after scoring the winning runs

The day summed up the West Indies' exploits in this game and the tour as whole: a period of defiance against the odds followed by England asserting their dominance at the decisive moments.
Tim Bresnan and James Anderson both finished with four wickets in the second innings, while Strauss took his series tally to 309 runs in four knocks.

England opened with last night's hero Bresnan and the ever-reliable Anderson but found the West Indies in much more resolute form than on the third evening.

With both first innings centurions – Samuels and Darren Sammy – at the crease, that was perhaps no surprise.

Easy pickings: Opening batsman Alastair Cook helped see England home to their victory target

Easy pickings: Opening batsman Alastair Cook helped see England home to their victory target

The pair started confidently, Sammy off the mark immediately and Samuels flicking his fifth ball of the morning for four.

Sammy punched Bresnan to the extra-cover ropes and Samuels turned Anderson to long-leg as the runs ticked by at a decent rate.

They continued busily, Samuels caressing a cover drive for four to bring up his side's 100 and a lead of 52 after an hour's play.

On the attack: England captain Andrew Strauss hits a delivery from Shane Shillingford towards the boundary

On the attack: England captain Andrew Strauss hits a delivery from Shane Shillingford towards the boundary

It took a drinks break to disrupt Sammy, Bresnan trapping him lbw on the back foot for 25 three balls after the interruption. It was Bresnan's fourth wicket of the innings, all leg before.

New man Kemar Roach had a lively start to his innings, taking three boundaries in four balls off Broad – two authentic attacking strokes either side of a mis-cued hook off the glove.

Samuels sprayed Anderson past point for four and then aimed a huge drive at the Lancastrian.
This time the ball went towards Strauss at first slip but his full-length dive left him just short and the ball disappeared for four more.

Butterfingers: Denesh Ramdin and Darren Sammy miss a catch off Cook as England chase their victory target

Butterfingers: Denesh Ramdin and Darren Sammy miss a catch off Cook as England chase their victory target

Near miss: Strauss (right) attempts to catch West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels in the slips

Near miss: Strauss (right) attempts to catch West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels in the slips

Samuels dropped a single to bring up his half-century, in 130 balls, but Roach departed when Anderson claimed England's sixth lbw – DRS reversing an initial not-out verdict.

At lunch the tourists were 83 in front and Samuels scored seven more after the break before losing Shane Shillingford to Graeme Swann – who did not bowl in the morning session.

Shillingford, held at slip by Anderson, lasted 22 balls without troubling the scorers.

Howzat James Anderson appeals for the wicket of Kemar Roach on Monday at Trent Bridge

Howzat James Anderson appeals for the wicket of Kemar Roach on Monday at Trent Bridge

Scalp: Tim Bresnan (right) celebrates taking the wicket of West indies captain Darren Sammy (left)

Scalp: Tim Bresnan (right) celebrates taking the wicket of West indies captain Darren Sammy (left)

With Ravi Rampaul in at No 11, Samuels was by now turning down all singles in an attempt to farm the strike. Realising time was running out Samuels smashed 16 runs off one Swann over, including two mighty sixes to take him to 76. He had no chance to make more, Anderson having Rampaul caught at third slip to end the innings on 165.

England began sedately, with just two runs in the first four overs before Strauss took on Roach's short ball and twice pulled in front of square for four. In doing so, he and Cook became only the fifth partnership in Test history to score 5,000 runs together.

Cook remained cautious, but Strauss ran his fourth boundary to third man as Sammy joined the attack. Shillingford, who went for 110 in the first innings, saw his opening delivery cut away by Cook for his first four of the day. His second was close behind, a flick down to fine-leg as Sammy's line drifted.

Lone resistance: Marlon Samuels hits out for six runs during day four of the second Test

Lone resistance: Marlon Samuels hits out for six runs during day four of the second Test

That took England past the halfway mark and Cook continued to pick up the pace when Rampaul misfielded the ball into the boundary rope at deep-backward point.

By now the tourists had accepted their fate, demonstrated when wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin allowed a Strauss edge to sail past him without attempting a catch.

Tea came at 74 for nought, leaving 34 more for victory. They scored 15 of them before Strauss unexpectedly chipped Samuels to Darren Bravo at cover, five short of his half-century.

Cook and Jonathan Trott (17no) completed the job, the latter winning it with four to fine-leg.

Andy Burnham calls for Super League changes

Former cabinet member Burnham calls for changes to Super League format

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 21 May 2012

Open letter: Andy Burnham MP has called for relegation and promotion to be brought back

Open letter: Andy Burnham MP has called for relegation and promotion to be brought back

Shadow minister Andy Burnham, a former culture secretary, is spearheading a bid to bring back promotion and relegation to Super League.

Burnham, whose constituency includes Championship club Leigh Centurions, wants the Rugby Football League to scrap the licensing system which was introduced in 2008 in place of automatic promotion, arguing it is damaging the game.

'Winning the right to go up a level is the lifeblood of any sport,' said Burnham.

'It provides the “dream factor” that keeps clubs alive and gives hope to fans coming through the turnstiles. Take it away and any sport will suffer at its lower levels.

'This is what is now happening to rugby league. The “closed shop” at the top is beginning to cause real damage to the sport.'

Burnham, who attended Leigh's recent 60-12 Challenge Cup defeat by Leeds, has written an open letter to the RFL calling for the successor to chairman Richard Lewis to make the issue a priority when he is appointed and is inviting fans to add their support.

In the letter, Burnham says: 'We believe the return of a proper annual system of promotion and relegation is urgent and essential to the long-term health of our sport at every level and we cite the following specific reasons to support its re-introduction.

'It's the British way of doing things. Do we really think that the same old sides year in, year out playing in the top flight is good for the game

Stranded: Leigh (in red) were relegated from the Super League in 2005

Stranded: Leigh (in red) were relegated from the Super League in 2005

'If you take away the dream of top-flight rugby league from the Championship clubs, you take away their lifeblood. Where is the incentive to invest in the squad if there is no prospect of promotion

'Likewise, without the threat of relegation where is the incentive for Super League clubs to improve, knowing they can and will remain in the top flight year on year.

'Promotion and relegation adds excitement and drama to the season at both ends of the tables. Currently bottom-of-the-table fixtures are played out as meaningless games.'

Super League is now in its second period of three-year licensing, which was introduced in an effort to introduce stability after clubs experienced extreme difficulties due to the previous 'yo-yo' system.

Clubs from the Championship are invited to apply for licences every three years as long as they meet minimum standards on and off the field, with potential to replace existing Super League clubs which consistently under-perform.

'Closed shop': Burnham criticised the structure of Super League

'Closed shop': Burnham criticised the structure of Super League

Widnes were elevated to Super League last year, taking the place of Crusaders after the Wrexham-based club opted to withdraw from the top flight.

An RFL spokesman said: 'We are aware of the comments made by Andy Burnham, the MP for Leigh, and welcome his contribution to the ongoing debate about licensing and promotion and relegation.

'Far from acting as a closed shop, licensing enables clubs to make a managed step up to Super League level from the part-time environment of the Championship, as Widnes Vikings have done since the end of last season.

'Super League licensing is an evolutionary mechanism which is currently undergoing the detailed review process we always undertake after each round of licensing.

'All clubs will have the opportunity to help shape the future of licensing and the RFL is, and always has been ready and willing to listen to feedback from all sections of the rugby league community.'

Leigh 12 Leeds 60

Leigh 12 Leeds 60: Sinfield stars as Rhinos charge into Challenge Cup semi-finals

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UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 11 May 2012

Kevin Sinfield claimed a 28-point haul as Leeds cruised into the Challenge Cup semi-finals for the 17th time in 20 years.

The Rhinos captain has won five Super League Grand Finals during his career but has yet to taste success in rugby league’s oldest competition.

But two tries and 10 goals from as many attempts highlighted his determination to finally get their hands on the sport’s most famous trophy after back-to-back Wembley defeats.

Main man: Kevin Sinfield helped Leeds into the last four of the Challenge Cup

Main man: Kevin Sinfield helped Leeds into the last four of the Challenge Cup

Rhinos assistant coach James Lowes said: ‘Kevin was fantastic, but he’s been really good all season. After last year it means everything to us to still have a chance of Wembley.

‘We asked the boys to try to play some stuff in the first half that didn’t quite work, but we were bang on in the second half. We were pretty ruthless.’

Centurions battled during an industrious first half-hour, trailing only 12-6 after a mixture of stern defence and frequent off-loads had seen the part-timers land plenty of their own blows during the early exchanges.

But tries for Ben Jones-Bishop and Ryan Hall just before the break gave Leeds an 18-point buffer and ended the hosts’ hopes of a repeat of their shock 1971 Wembley triumph over Leeds.

Danny McGuire and Brent Webb had both scored from early Sinfield kicks in the opening quarter, before Sinfield turned finisher with a second-half double.

Rob Burrow, Shaun Lunt, Lee Smith and Hall’s 90-metre interception completed the rout, with Leigh touching down through Tommy Goulden and Gregg McNally.

Centurions coach Paul Rowley said: ‘It’s a cruel sport. I don’t think we deserved that scoreline.’