Tag Archives: century

Capital One Cup final: Bradford City will turn down Europa League

Bradford could TURN DOWN Europa League if they win the Capital One Cup

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

09:15 GMT, 23 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:37 GMT, 23 February 2013

Bradford will refuse to play in the Europa League next season should they qualify by beating Swansea in the Capital One Cup final, according to Bantams co-chairman Mark Lawn.

Phil Parkinson's npower League Two side will on Sunday become the first fourth-tier team to contest a League Cup final in more than half a century when they take on Michael Laudrup's Swans at Wembley.

Snub: Bradford will turn down the chance to play in Europe if they win on Sunday

Snub: Bradford will turn down the chance to play in Europe if they win on Sunday

But Lawn has revealed the west Yorkshire outfit will turn down the opportunity to compete in Europe next term if doing so would cost the club money.

Quoted in The Sun, he said: 'I'm not going to pay to play in Europe.

'When we beat Villa (in the semi-final), I was told, “You don't really want to get into Europe – it costs you money in the early rounds”.

'I said, “Well, that'll be fun because if it costs us money, we won't be there”.

Money talks: Joint chairman Mark Lawn will not jeopardise the club's finances

Money talks: Joint chairman Mark Lawn will not jeopardise the club's finances

'Realistically, it's not going to be a problem because I don't think we're going to win against Swansea.'

He added: 'I won't put us in fiscal danger to play in Europe. That's not going to happen. I'm deadly serious.

'It's all very well saying there are financial rewards once you get to the group stage.

'But we're a fourth division club – realistically, we're not going to get there.'

Sir Alex Ferguson birthday: 71 best quotes from the Manchester United manager

On Fergie's birthday, 71 examples of his wit, wisdom and temper from over a quarter-century at Old Trafford

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UPDATED:

13:44 GMT, 31 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 71st birthday today and to mark the occasion, Sportsmail has picked out 71 of the Scot's best soundbites from his time as Manchester United manager.

There's pithy observations, musings on great United players, hurricane-force hairdryers, philosophical statements and withering put-downs.

So enjoy, and raise a glass to Sir Alex.

Happy Birthday! Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is 71 today

Happy Birthday! Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is 71 today

ON WINNING THE EUROPEAN CUP IN 1999

'It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field. Pounding over every blade of grass, competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt such an honour to be associated with such a player.'

Speaking after Roy Keane's inspired performance in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League against Juventus after receiving a booking which meant he would miss the final

'At the end of this game, the European Cup will be only six feet away from you, and you’ll not even able to touch it if we lose. And for many of you, that will be the closest you will ever get. Don’t you dare come back in here without giving your all.'

Ferguson's half-time team-talk during the 1999 European Cup final with Bayern Munich

Crowning glory: Ferguson holds the European Cup aloft after United unforgettable stoppage time win over Bayern Munich in 1999

Crowning glory: Ferguson holds the European Cup aloft after United unforgettable stoppage time win over Bayern Munich in 1999

Treble tops: Ferguson and United won the Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in 1999

Treble tops: Ferguson and United won the Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in 1999

'I was just starting to adjust to losing the game. I had reminded myself to keep my dignity and accept that it wasn't going to be our year. What then happened simply stunned me.'

As the game entered injury time with United losing 1-0

'Can you f***ing believe him!'

To his assistant Steve McClaren on seeing Peter Schmeichel going up for the first stoppage time corner

'I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell.'

After United won with two dramatic goals in stoppage time

ON LIVERPOOL

'My
greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest
challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you
can print that.'

Reacting to remarks by former Liverpool player Alan Hansen that he was past it in 2002

'You must be joking. Do I look as if I'm a masochist ready to cut myself How does relegation sound instead'

When asked if Liverpool were genuine title contenders in 2007

Auld enemy: There have been many defining games with Liverpool during Ferguson's time at United. here, he celebrates a last minute John O'Shea winner at Anfield in 2007

Auld enemy: There have been many defining games with Liverpool during Ferguson's time at United. here, he celebrates a last minute John O'Shea winner at Anfield in 2007

'I
think he was an angry man. He must have been disturbed for some reason.
I think you have got to cut through the venom of it and hopefully he'll
reflect and understand what he said was absolutely ridiculous.'

On Rafael Bentez, reacting to the Spaniard's infamous 'facts' press conference during the 2009 title race

ON NOISY NEIGHBOURS CITY

'There
has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and with the spending
they have done they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy
neighbor and have to live with it. You can't do anything about them…

After City are taken over by billionaire new owners

'It was our worst ever day!'

After the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford last season

New rivalry: Roberto Mancini and Manchester City have emerged as United's main enemies in the past few years

New rivalry: Roberto Mancini and Manchester City have emerged as United's main enemies in the past few years

ON ARSENE WENGER AND ARSENAL

'They say he's an intelligent man, right Speaks five languages. I've got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!'

On Arsene Wenger, shortly after his appointment as Arsenal manager in 1996

'He's a novice—he should keep his opinions to
Japanese football.'

More harsh words for the Frenchman in 1997

'Oh dearie me, the FA are going to be delighted with that!'

Speaking about United's 4-0 loss to Arsenal in the League Cup in 2001

Mellow: The once frosty relationship between Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thawed over the years

Mellow: The once frosty relationship between Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thawed over the years

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger shake hands before a Premier League match in January 2012

'It's getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.'

During
the climax to the 2002-2003 title race between Arsenal and United,
which ended with Ferguson winning a seventh Premier League crown

'In the tunnel, Wenger was criticising my players, calling them cheats, so I told him to leave them alone and behave himself. He ran at me with his hands raised saying 'What do you want to do about it'

'To not apologise for the behaviour of the players to another manager is unthinkable. It's a disgrace, but I don't expect Wenger to ever apologise…he's that type of person.'

Relations with Wenger hadn't got much better by 2005…

ON CHELSEA

'He could start a row in an empty house.'

On Dennis Wise, the highly-strung former Chelsea player

'He’ll be getting a hug and a kiss from me – maybe even two!'

Speaking about his good friend Sam Allardyce after Bolton stalled Chelsea's title challenge in 2006-2007

'If Chelsea drop points, the cat’s out in the open. And you know what cats are like – sometimes they don’t come home.'

ON JOSE MOURINHO

'He was certainly full of it, calling me “Boss” and “Big Man” when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.'

Ferguson's first impressions of Jose Mourinho, who got the better of him when Porto dumped United out of the Champions League in 2004

'I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach but then you've got to look at his personality. He's got a marvellous, strong personality and that bridges that gap.

'I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea, in 2004] and I thought: 'Christ, he's a cocky b******, him'. He was telling the players: 'Look, I'm the special one, we don't lose games.'

Remembering Mourinho's grand entrance into English football

Friends and rivals: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho enjoyed a great relationship despite United and Chelsea going toe-to-toe for the title

Friends and rivals: Ferguson and Jose Mourinho enjoyed a great relationship despite United and Chelsea going toe-to-toe for the title

'He can manage anywhere, absolutely. I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that.'

On the possibility of Mourinho succeeding him at Old Trafford

ON DAVID BECKHAM

'David Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practises with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn’t contemplate.'

Waxing lyrical about David Beckham's commitment and talent

'It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn't happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!'

Playing down the famous incident in which he allegedly kicked a boot which hit David Beckham in the forehead

Booted out! Beckham was allegedly hit by a boot kicked by Ferguson in the United dressing room in 2003

Booted out! Beckham was allegedly hit by a boot kicked by Ferguson in the United dressing room in 2003. He left Old Trafford that summer

Special talent: But Ferguson had a great deal of respect for Beckham's workrate and natural ability

Special talent: But Ferguson had a great deal of respect for Beckham's workrate and natural ability

'It is totally out of the question. There is no way we would sell him, or any of our best players.'

In April 2003, two months before selling David Beckham to Real Madrid

ON THE ITALIANS

'When an Italian tells me it's pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.'

Wise, if slightly ambiguous, advice before United played Inter Milan in the 1999 Champions League quarter-final

'Inzaghi was born in an offside position.'

A withering assessment of Italian striker Filippo

'They come out with the ‘English are so strong, we’re terrible in the air, we can’t do this, we can’t do that’. Then they beat you 3 – 0.'

On Italian teams in general

Finding their feet: Ferguson's United struggled against Italian teams like Marcello Lippi's Juventus when they returned to the Champions League - but finally cracked it in 1999 when beating Inter and Juve en route to winning the competition

Finding their feet: Ferguson's United struggled against Italian teams like Marcello Lippi's Juventus when they returned to the Champions League – but finally cracked it in 1999 when beating Inter and Juve en route to winning the competition

ON THE MEN IN THE MIDDLE

'You
can't applaud a referee.'

Very true…

'The pace of the
game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game.
You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. We have some
who are fit. He wasn't fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player.
He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous.'

Brutal comments on referee Alan Wiley and his lack of fitness

'There is no doubt about it. They were never getting through that tie; with 11 men we had no problem. The young boy showed a bit of inexperience but they got him sent off. Everyone sprinted towards the referee – typical Germans.'

Reflecting angrily on the dismissal of Rafael da Silva as United crashed out of the Champions League to Bayern Munich in 2010

Taking issue: Fergie bawls at Alan Wiley during the 2009 FA Cup semi-final with Everton

Taking issue: Fergie bawls at Alan Wiley during the 2009 FA Cup semi-final with Everton

'They gave us four minutes [injury time], that's an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match.

'There were six substitutions, the trainer came on, so that's four minutes right away and the goalkeeper must have wasted about two or three minutes and they took their time at every goal kick.

'That's obvious to everyone today and it's a flaw in the game that the referee is responsible for time keeping. It's ridiculous that it's 2012 and the referee still has control of that.'

Talking about Fergie time – or the lack of it – after United lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham earlier this season

ON PLAYERS PAST AND PRESENT

'I used
to have a saying that when a player is at his peak, he feels as though he can
climb Everest in his slippers. That's what he was like.'

On Paul Ince (When at United…)

'He's a bully, a f***ing big-time Charlie.'

On Paul Ince (…after he left United)

Happier times: Ferguson and Paul Ince in 1992

Happier times: Ferguson and Paul Ince in 1992

'If he was an inch taller he'd be the best centre-half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I'd check the milkman.'

On the now retired United right-back Gary Neville

'[Andy] Cole should be scoring from those distances, but I’m not going to single him out.'

Erm…

'He was towering over me and the other players were almost covering their eyes. I’m looking up and thinking ‘if he does hit me, I’m dead’'

Recalling a dressing room disagreement with Peter Schmeichel

Towering figure: Ferguson with Peter Schmeichel after winning the FA Cup, the second leg of the 1999 Treble

Towering figure: Ferguson with Peter Schmeichel after winning the FA Cup, the second leg of the 1999 Treble

'I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.'

First impressions of Ryan Giggs, his longest serving player at Old Trafford

'Whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood.'

On the enduring brilliance of the Welshman

'Wayne is truly blessed. He doesn’t just have ability, he has a fire inside him.'

After Rooney joined United in 2004

'Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in the field.'
Speaking about the amazing U-turn pulled by Wayne Rooney on signing a new contract in 2010

Larking around: Ferguson and Wayne Rooney before the 2011 Champions League semi-final with Schalke

Larking around: Ferguson and Wayne Rooney before the 2011 Champions League semi-final with Schalke

ON ERIC CANTONA

'If ever there was one player, anywhere in the world, that was made for Manchester United, it was Cantona. He swaggered in, stuck his chest out, raised his head and surveyed everything as though he were asking: 'I'm Cantona. How big are you Are you big enough for me''

On a very unique temperament

ON CRISTIANO RONALDO

'I bet him he wouldn’t get 15 league goals and I’m going to have to change my bet with him. If he gets to 15 I can change it and I am allowed to do that because I’m the manager. I’m going to make it 150 now!'

In reference to a rather foolhardy bet with Cristiano Ronaldo

'Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob. Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.'

On the chances of selling Ronaldo to Real Madrid (Ronaldo was sold for 80m in 2009… to Real Madrid)

Mentor: Ferguson nurtured Cristiano Ronaldo's abundant talent during his five years at Old Trafford

Mentor: Ferguson nurtured Cristiano Ronaldo's abundant talent during his five years at Old Trafford

ON OTHER MANAGERS

'It can be difficult to pinpoint who would make it as a manager. For instance, nobody here thought Mark Hughes would become a manager, never in a million years, and we all thought Bryan Robson was a certainty to be a top manager.'

On his former players turning to management

'Pardew
has come out and criticised me. He is the worst at haranguing referees.
He shoves them and makes a joke of it. How he can criticise me is
unbelievable.

'He
forgets the help I gave him, by the way. The press have had a field
day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he
is busy.

'It
is unfortunate but I am the manager of the most famous club in the
world. Not Newcastle, a wee club in the North-East. I was demonstrative.
I am always demonstrative. Everyone knows that. I am an emotional guy
but I was not abusive.'

The latest entry to the Fergie litany – a savaging of Alan Pardew and 'wee club' Newcastle last week

'Wee club': Ferguson attracted the ire of Alan Pardew (right) and Newcastle United with his comments last week

'Wee club': Ferguson attracted the ire of Alan Pardew (right) and Newcastle United with his comments last week

SWIPES AT THE MEDIA

'On you go. I'm no f***ing talking to you. He's a f**ing great player. Yous are f***ing idiots.'

Aimed at journalists who criticised Juan Sebastian Veron

'I don't give any of you credibility. You talk about wanting to have an association with people here and you wonder why I don't get on with you But you're a f***ing embarrassment. One of these days the door is going to be shut on you permanently.'

Aimed at the media in general

'There are members of the London press who seek to antagonise me, deliberately.'

A bit of finger pointing

Flop: 28m signing Juan Veron failed at Man United, despite all Fergie's attempts to defend him

Flop: 28m signing Juan Veron failed at Man United, despite all Fergie's attempts to defend him

'They [the BBC] did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense. It all [sic] made-up stuff and 'brown paper bags' and all that kind of carry-on. It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that.'

On the BBC documentary about his son, Jason

'Myths
grow all the time. If I was to listen to the number of times I've thrown
teacups then we've gone through some crockery in this place. It's completely
exaggerated, but I don't like people arguing back with me.'

On the notorious 'hairdryer' treatment

'Struggling. Are you serious We’re not struggling.'

Before walking out of a press conference following Manchester United’s clash with Benfica (Basle knocked them out of the group stages in the following game)

HAIRDRYERS

'You’re a f***ing bottler Incey! You cannae handle the stage, can you You are a f***ing bottler!'

To Paul Ince at half time during a Champions League match with Barcelona in 1994

'What the f*** are you lot playing at That is the biggest load of s**** I’ve ever seen. Not one of you can look me in the eye, because not one of you deserves to have a say. I can’t believe you’ve come here and decided to toss it off like that c*** you’re playing out there.'

Half-time at Sheffield Wednesday, 1998 and things aren't going to plan

ON UNITED'S HOME SUPPORT

'We have people coming here to admire the scenery and enjoy their crisps.'

Honour: The North Stand was renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in November 2011

Honour: The North Stand was renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand in November 2011

ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF WINNING

'I don't like losing but I've mellowed. I maybe have a short fuse but it goes away quicker now.'

'I've never played for a draw in my life.'

'If we can play like that every week we'll get some level of consistency.'

'Sometimes in football you have to hold your hand up and say, yeah, they're better than us.'

'As long as there are games to play it is not over.'

Medallion man: Ferguson with the Premier League trophy and the Carling Manager of the Year Award in 1999

Medallion man: Ferguson with the Premier League trophy and the Carling Manager of the Year Award in 1999

'I do believe in fate.'

'I tell the players that the bus is moving. This club has to progress. And the bus wouldn't wait for them. I tell them to get on board.'

'Sometimes you're not sure about a player. Sometimes you doubt. Sometimes you have to guess. Sometimes… you just know.'

'The work of a team should always embrace a great player but the great player must always work.'

'Well, football is a hard game; there's no denying it. It's a game that can bring out the worst in you, at times.'

Old friend: Renewing acquaintances with the Premier League trophy in 2009

Old friend: Renewing acquaintances with the Premier League trophy in 2009

'Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that.'

'I'm going to tell you the story about the geese which fly 5,000 miles from Canada to France. They fly in V-formation but the second ones don't fly. They're the subs for the first ones. And then the second ones take over – so it's teamwork.'

A Cantona-esque observation on teamwork

ON RETIREMENT AND LEGACY

'I’m privileged to have followed Sir Matt because all you have to do is to try and maintain the standards that he set so many years ago.'

A proud moment when surpassing Sir Matt Busby's managerial record

'I think it’s important to work and I’m entitled to work. Some people do not want to work but I want to continue working. Retirement is for young people.'

Once again addressing a question about retirement

Masters: Ferguson with Sir Matt Busby after winning the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup

Masters: Ferguson with Sir Matt Busby after winning the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup

'If my parents were still alive, they would be very proud. They gave me a good start in life, the values that have driven me, and the confidence to believe in myself.'

On instilled values

'I am such a bloody talented guy. I might go into painting or something like that.'

Move over Da Vinci

'Football management is such a pressurised thing – horse racing is a release. I'm also learning to play the piano – I'm quite determined – it's another release from the pressure of my job.'

On passions outside of football

Pakistan beat India in Chennai thanks to Nasir Jamshed century

Dhoni heroics not enough as Jamshed ton gives Pakistan lead over India in one-day series

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 30 December 2012

Man-of-the-match: Jamshed

Man-of-the-match: Jamshed

Nasir Jamshed struck an unbeaten century as Pakistan claimed a six-wicket win over India in Chennai to take a 1-0 lead in the one-day series.

The 23-year-old opener hit 101 from 132 balls as Pakistan reached their target of 228 for the loss of four wickets and with 11 balls to spare.

Younis Khan made 58, putting on a third-wicket stand of 112 with Jamshed, while Shoaib Malik contributed an unbeaten 34, sealing victory with a four.

India, playing their first match since the one-day retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, made 228 for six and the 'Little Master' proved a predictably tough act to follow.

The top five scored a combined 18 and only a magnificent 113 not out from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made their total remotely competitive.
Junaid Khan did most of the damage to the top order and finished with four wickets for 43.

Pakistan's chase got off to the worst possible start though as they lost the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez first ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's delivery taking out the off stump as the batsman failed to offer a shot.

Azhar Ali became Kumar's second victim when he had him caught by Rohit Sharma at square leg for just nine as Pakistan reached 21 for two.

Jamshed stood firm throughout a tricky period, though, and, with Younis getting comfortable at the other end, brought up his half-century with a flicked single.

Younis reached his 50 in more spectacular style, hitting Suresh Raina for six.

India finally made a breakthrough when they removed Younis, the dismissal confirmed by the third umpire.

Defiant knock: Dhoni rescued India's innings

Defiant knock: Dhoni rescued India's innings

Ashok Dinda delivered a low full toss and Ashwin took a low catch, replays showing he had got his hands under the ball in the nick of time.

With Younis gone for 58 off 60, Pakistan were 133 for three, but Jamshed remained a consistent presence at the other end.

Misbah-ul-Haq was beaten by a slower delivery from Ishant Sharma for 16, but India were dealt a blow when Virat Kohli appeared to hurt his knee in a fall when his back foot slipped as he came into bowl and he had to limp from the field.

And, with the victory target in sight, Jamshed and Malik guided the visitors home.

Earlier, India had a captain's innings from Dhoni to thank for rescuing them from a desperate position.

Khan ripped through the top order to leave the hosts on 29 for five in the 10th over.

Virender Sehwag (four) misjudged an attempted a push to cover to become Junaid's first victim, bowled between bat and pads.

Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir fared little better as he went for eight in the next over, this time Mohammad Irfan taking out the batsman's middle stump.

Out of nick: Sehwag went for just four

Out of nick: Sehwag went for just four

Junaid took two more scalps in quick succession, deceiving Virat Kohli, bowled off an inside edge, with a fuller-length delivery for nought and then dismissing Yuvraj Singh for two.

The onslaught continued in the 10th over, Rohit Sharma (four) expertly snapped up by Hafeez at third slip, again off the bowling of Junaid.

That brought Dhoni to join Raina in the middle, and the pair steadied the ship with a stand of 73.

Dhoni survived a scare on 17 when he punched a Hafeez delivery straight to Misbah at mid-wicket, but the Pakistan skipper could only palm the straightforward chance over his head.

The pair dug in stubbornly, but with only the second ball of the batting powerplay Raina (43) was removed by Hafeez, bowled off the pads, as Pakistan made another breakthrough.

Dhoni then brought up the 200 with a boundary off Irfan and from the next delivery another four saw him pass 7000 runs in one-day internationals.

Irfan took some late punishment as Dhoni lofted him over cover for six to bring up his century, while at the other end Ashwin finished unbeaten on 31.

Australia beat Sri Lanka in second Test

Johnson shines as Australia fire Ashes warning with brutal demolition of Sri Lanka inside three days

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UPDATED:

07:37 GMT, 28 December 2012

Fierce bowling from a revitalised Mitchell Johnson powered Australia to victory by an innings and 201 runs against Sri Lanka in a Boxing Day Test that ended inside three days at the MCG.

Johnson – after being left stranded eight short of a second Test century earlier in the day when Australia were dismissed for 460 in reply to Sri Lanka's first-innings 156 – captured two for 16, injured two top-order batsmen and affected a run-out as the tourists were skittled for 103.

Sri Lanka had lost seven wickets midway through day three's second session but, with Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welagedara unable to bat, and Kumar Sangakkara unable to return having retired hurt on 27, the Australians were home and dry.

The trouncing meant Australia retained the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy, with the third fixture in Sydney to start next week.

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Flying high: Mitchell Johnson (left) and Matthew Wade celebrate the wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Party time: The Aussies celebrate as they grind down Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Johnson's brilliant second-innings effort capped a remarkable Test for the rejuvenated 31-year-old.
The left-armer claimed four for 63 – including his 200th victim – in Sri Lanka's first innings before boosting his reputation as a lower-order batsman with an unbeaten 92 in Australia's reply.

Light showers delayed the start of play by 15 minutes this morning before Australia added 20 runs for the loss of Nathan Lyon, caught at short mid-wicket for one, and Jackson Bird, comprehensively bowled by Shaminda Eranga for a duck.

Eranga (three for 109) and Dhammika Prasad (three for 106) were the leading bowlers for Sri Lanka.
The visitors could not have started the rearguard action any worse as Johnson and debutant Bird (two for 29) dismantled their flaky top order.

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

Unstoppable: Johnson was in stunning form in the Melbourne sunshine

They had dramatically slumped to 13 for four midway through the morning session. Johnson started the rot with the run-out of Dimuth Karunaratne (one) in the first over and removed Tillakaratne Dilshan (nought) the next ball when Ed Cowan pouched a catch at square leg.

Bird made matters worse for the besieged tourists when he bowled Mahela Jayawardene for a duck and trapped Thilan Samaraweera lbw for one just before lunch.

Only Sangakkara (27) and Angelo Mathews (35) provided any resistance and, when the former retired hurt after copping a blow to the index finger from a Johnson bouncer, the match was in its death throes.

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

Sliding in: Johnson runs out Dimuth Karunaratne as Australia dominate Down Under

After Johnson bowled Mathews, Peter Siddle wrapped up Australia's win by removing Eranga for a duck.

Johnson took man-of-the-match honours ahead of Australia captain Michael Clarke who scored 106 on day two.

Shane Watson was another contributor for the winners with a gutsy 83 yesterday, but the all-rounder was unable to bowl in the second innings and is in doubt for the third Test after aggravating a chronic calf injury.

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Cook and Panesar

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UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

England's last Test at Nagpur was at the city’s old venue, but it was the start of a new era with Alastair Cook flying in from an A tour in the Caribbean to score 60 and 104 not out on his debut.

It was also Monty Panesar’s first Test, which he marked by claiming Sachin Tendulkar lbw as his maiden wicket.

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

First Test

(Nagpur, March 1-5, 2006)

England 393 (Collingwood 134) and 297 for 3 (Cook 104no).

India 323 (Kaif 91, Hoggard 6-57) and 260 for 6 (Jaffer 100)

Match drawn

The Little Master later signed the ball, writing on it: ‘To Monty, once in a blue moon, never again mate.’

England’s third debutant in a game that ended in a draw was Somerset’s Ian Blackwell, who scored four runs, failed to take a wicket with his left-arm spin and was never picked again for his country.

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

The good news for England’s seamers was that Matthew Hoggard returned first-innings figures of 30.5-13-57-6.

Alastair Cook factfile: England"s record-breaking run machine in figures

Captain Cook by numbers: The lowdown on England's record-breaking run machine

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UPDATED:

02:00 GMT, 7 December 2012

Alastair Cook's 23rd Test century is an England record, breaking a figure that had stood for 73 years — since Wally Hammond scored his 22nd ton against West Indies in 1939.

Since then, it has been equalled four times — by Colin Cowdrey (v Pakistan in 1969), Geoff Boycott (v India in 1981), Cook himself — on the second day of the Mumbai Test — and Kevin Pietersen, who followed his captain two overs later.

Top man: Alastair Cook

23 tons: Alastair Cook

Portrait of a master: The legendary Paul Trevillion captures Alastair Cook (left) alongside his 23 Test centuries

Cook was already the first player to make a hundred in each of his first four Tests as captain. At Nagpur, he will have the chance to stretch the record to six.Cook passed Ted Dexter’s mark for the most runs by an England captain in a Test series in India. Dexter made 409 runs in 1961-62.How Cook compares at 27 with the top Test run scorers

Cook……………………………………………….. 7,048
Tendulkar…………………………………………..6,720
Ponting……………………………………………..4,195
Dravid……………………………………………….3,322

When Cook moved to 88, he took Sachin Tendulkar’s place as the youngest player to score 7,000 Test runs. Tendulkar was 28 years and 193 days when he reached the landmark, Cook 27 years and 347 days. But Tendulkar needed only 136 innings to Cook’s 151. At the age of 27, Cook already has more runs than the top three all-time Test run scorers did at the same age.During the course of his unbeaten 136 on the second day, Cook’s Test average moved the right side of 50 for the first time in six years. Of the 10 English batsmen to have scored more than 7,000 Test runs, only Cook and Hammond have averaged over 50.Cook became the first England batsman to score 100 in three successive Tests since Andrew Strauss — who made 169 in Antigua in 2009, followed by 142 in both Barbados and Trinidad.Among non-Asian batsmen, only South Africa’s Jacques Kallis has scored more Test tons (eight) on this continent than Cook (seven).

India v England: Alastair Cook and Nick Compton are perfect blend – David Lloyd

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)… but Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding

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UPDATED:

13:39 GMT, 6 December 2012

Captain Cook leaves me lost for words

A perfect day. Alastair Cook just goes on and on and I am running out of superlatives. England will be looking at a massive lead because this pitch is doing nothing. The theory is that they bat all day today, then look for some wear and tear in the pitch and tell the bowlers to get to work again on India.

Day to remember: Alastair Cook is now England's record Test century-maker with 23 hundreds

Day to remember: Alastair Cook is now England's record Test century-maker with 23 hundreds

Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding

India’s fielding was abysmal. The young lad Che Pujara was standing at first slip with his shin pads on and a chest guard. This restricted his movement, he looked like a ridiculous Michelin man and, surprise, surprise, he crucially dropped Cook.

First slip is a specialist position and Virender Sehwag normally fields there but for some reason was stood at extra cover. Fielding is hard work, and India look reluctant to do it. This is Test cricket, it tests you physically and mentally.

Even India’s running between the wickets was farcical, summed up by Sehwag’s run-out. The ironic things is their specialist fielding coach is Trevor Penney, who was electric. He will be tearing his hair out.

Che Guevara

Che Pujara

One's a Marxist revolutionary, the other's a rubbish fielder: Che Guevara (left) and Che Pujara (right)

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures
from the third Test in Kolkata 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.

Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)

Nick Compton definitely has a Test-match temperament. Nothing fazes him. He will continue to find his feet in a careful manner at this level and should find things more natural against Australia in English conditions next summer.

Compton contributed to an opening century partnership and has found a nice blend with Cook. It’s noticeable that Cook has increased his scoring repertoire and is the more aggressive of the two, developing his sweep shot, hitting over the top and generally extending his game.

Perfect foil: England captain Alastair Cook (right) and fellow opener Nick Compton (left)

Perfect foil: England captain Alastair Cook (right) and fellow opener Nick Compton (left)

Fill yer boots, lads

Jonathan Trott also looks very determined. The massive plus for England is that this pitch will be excellent for batting again on Friday and part of the talk from Cook and coach Andy Flower will be to keep India out in the field for as long as possible, especially if their fielding continues to be shambolic.

And remember that this pitch has been played on previously so something should be happening for the England bowlers – whether it’s turn for the spinners or movement for the seamers – on days four and five.

My verdict on the four greats who Cook has overtaken

Kevin Pietersen

Geoff Boycott

Kevin Pietersen

He will now be chasing Cook, he’ll see
this as a nice challenge.

KP is simply box office, the best English
player I have ever seen, just because of his sheer ability.

Geoffrey Boycott

The type of player you would want to
play for your life. Bowlers had to prise him out. And even when he was
out, he was reluctant to go! He was never out when he got back to the
dressing room. A typical Yorkshireman, he was careful in every aspect of
his life!

Colin Cowdrey

Wally Hammond

Colin Cowdrey

An elegant batsman and a gentleman, on
and off the pitch.

He would celebrate a century by doffing his cap,
maybe a warm handshake.

For some reason I can’t quite imagine him
kissing the pitch, kissing the badge or setting off on a dance!

Wally Hammond

Wally Hammond: I never saw him play but I
can only quote my great hero Fred Trueman, who once describe Hammond as
‘the great Wally’ and who could disagree with Fred Mind you, on Test
Match Special, Fred was once reminiscing about bowling at Hammond and
Bill Frindall looked up the stats and quietly mentioned that Wally had
retired before Fred had started playing!

India v England: Monty Panesar and James Anderson turn the screw in third Test at Eden Gardens

Anderson and Panesar turn the screw on India as only Sachin knock stands between England and paradise at Eden Gardens

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 5 December 2012

Even India's back-to-form greatest batsman Sachin Tendulkar was unable to stop England grinding out an advantageous position on day one of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

Veteran Tendulkar (76) remains without a Test century in his last 29 innings dating back to early 2011 – but he and opener Gautam Gambhir (60) did manage to salvage a stumps total of 273 for seven.

On a pitch already offering some uneven bounce to the spinners, and some carry and swing for the seamers with the new and old ball, England could easily have been more significantly-rewarded for their disciplined and determined efforts.

James Anderson (three for 68) thought he had Yuvraj Singh lbw for nought, but could not convince umpire Rod Tucker ball had hit pad in line, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was within inches of holing out at midwicket off Graeme Swann first ball.

Instead, Nos 6 and 7 each went on to frustrate England – the former in a stand of 79 with Tendulkar – in this pivotal match of a four-Test series level at 1-1.

The signs were ominous for England after Alastair Cook lost his third successive toss of the series at a ground where India have declared with more than 600 on the board in the first innings of their last three Tests.

Cook's opposite number Dhoni had predicted a modicum of help for the pace bowlers in the first hour, and so it proved for Anderson and Steven Finn.

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

It came to nothing, though, as Gambhir and Virender Sehwag approached a 50 stand – until their running between the wickets failed them.

Sehwag clipped the first ball of the 11th over to midwicket. But Samit Patel saved the boundary with a diving stop, and Finn's race from mid-on in support paid off handsomely when he threw in over the stumps to comfortably run out Sehwag after he was sent back for a third.

It was hardly the way England might have envisaged taking the first wicket, but proved the value of all their attention to detail and painstaking training.

Monty Panesar's first success came in more conventional, indeed classical, fashion.

He had worked hard to draw Cheteshwar Pujara forward several times, and then surprised him on the back foot with an arm ball which snaked through the defence to hit middle-stump.

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Gambhir, joined by Tendulkar to the obligatory raucous crowd reception at this cavernous stadium, appeared unperturbed by a failure from India's prolific new No 3.

The left-handed opener had hit 10 fours and duly completed his 81-ball half-century with a scampered single before lunch.

But he was first to go in the afternoon, laying back to cut after losing the strike against Panesar and edging a sharp chance to slip which Jonathan Trott just about clung on to.

Tendulkar scratched his way to his first 20, regularly playing and missing at Finn and then Anderson as Cook operated the two seamers in tandem with Panesar.

Finn's fine spell was in vain, but Anderson got a deserved breakthrough when Virat Kohli edged low to Swann at second slip.

Swann had bowled only three overs at that stage, but was called into the attack to give Panesar a rest after 21 unchanged.

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Yuvraj began tentatively, but two driven fours off Swann gave him confidence – and after tea, he immediately went up the wicket to Panesar and struck him for a straight six.

England were toiling by the time Yuvraj lost concentration and poked a catch to cover off Swann, and it might have been two in two next ball when Dhoni's attempt to dominate from the outset brought only a thick inside-edge just short of Patel at midwicket.

Tendulkar began to live up to his billing, increasingly fluent in a 155-ball innings which contained 13 fours but ended in anti-climax – and no 101st international hundred – when he followed some Anderson outswing and was well-caught behind by Matt Prior, diving low to his right.

England then had an obvious chance to run out Ravichandran Ashwin for just a single, he and Dhoni contriving another India mix-up only for Finn to fumble at mid-on when another accurate return to the striker's end would have done the trick.

Anderson, however, ensured it was unarguably England's day when he broke another handy stand by getting through Ashwin's defences with the new ball in the penultimate over.

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata 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.

Amla and De Villiers put South Africa in commanding position in final Aussie Test

Amla and De Villiers put South Africa in commanding position in final Aussie Test

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 2 December 2012

Australia need a daunting 592 runs to win the third Test against South Africa after the tourists dominated the third day at Perth.

Hashim Amla and and AB De Villiers both made big hundreds as the Proteas looked well set to win the three-match series 1-0.

Amla fell just short a double-century and De Villiers made 169 as Graeme Smith`s men closed their second innings on 569 to set the home side a victory target of 632. They closed on 40 without loss.

In form: South Africa's Hashim Amla helped his side to a commanding lead

In form: South Africa's Hashim Amla helped his side to a commanding lead

South Africa had taken control of the series decider on day two and closed at 230 for two, 292 runs in front.

with another boundary.

Helping hand: AB de Villiers was also in impressive form for South Africa

Helping hand: AB de Villiers was also in impressive form for South Africa

Kallis eventually departed for 37 in 65 balls, top-edging a Mitchell Starc bouncer to Johnson at fine leg.

Amla's innings was unaffected and De Villiers offered solid support to accompany him to lunch, grinding out 18 runs in the process. /12/02/article-2241766-165040DB000005DC-808_468x307.jpg” width=”468″ height=”307″ alt=”Fighting back: Australia's David Warner made a steady start” class=”blkBorder” />

Fighting back: Australia's David Warner made a steady start

Robin Peterson had failed to trouble the scorers when he was caught by Johnson off Starc with the total on 539 for seven.

Starc went on to claim his fourth wicket when De Villiers fell for 169, caught behind by Matthew Wade after an innings that included 21 fours and three sixes and coming off just 184 balls, with the total on 557 and the lead at over 600.

Starc made it a five-wicket haul when Dale Steyn clipped a rising ball behind to Wade and departed for eight.

Starc finished with six for 154 as he bowled Morne Morkel for a duck to end the South Africa innings 569 on and a lead of 631.

Australia's reply had reached 40 without loss, with David Warner on 29 and Ed Cowan nine not out from 13 overs when the third day's play came to a close.

That left the home side still needing 592 runs to win or two days to bat out and save the Test and deny the Proteas what would be a series-winning victory in a match which carries the extra bounty of the world No 1 spot.

India v England, second Test, Day Three: Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar put tourists on top

Classy KP and magic Monty punish India in Mumbai as England close in on victory in Second Test

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UPDATED:

14:42 GMT, 25 November 2012

This was as good as it gets, an extraordinary day’s Test cricket which must rank among the finest England have ever had on the sub-continent.

It left them, barely believably, within touching distance of one of their greatest ever victories.

At the centre of it, almost inevitably, was the man who was not even in the squad originally chosen for this tour because he had been banished into international exile by the biggest crisis to hit the England team in years.

Graham Gooch once asked Ian Botham who wrote his scripts and England’s record Test runscorer must have been tempted to pose the same question to Kevin Pietersen after his breathtaking 186 in the most demanding of conditions.

Instead the man who is now England’s batting coach and not always the greatest ally of Pietersen settled for shaking his hand in the dressing room.

There was, in truth, no real need for words anyway. Pietersen’s record-equalling 22nd Test century, which followed hot on the heels of that of Alastair Cook, did everything needed to finally draw a line under the whole sorry text message saga that blighted England’s summer.

You have to tread carefully when using the word genius in relation to Pietersen because it was the ‘KP genius’ parody Twitter account that did so much to lead him to the astonishing conclusion that ‘it is not easy being me’ in the England dressing room.

High hopes: Monty Panesar was in the wickets again on day three

High hopes: Monty Panesar was in the wickets again on day three

But genius is the only word for what he did here.

Let’s put it into some sort of
context. Pietersen had been added to the tour party on a four-month
central-contract only after a ‘reintegration’ process that made him
sound like a criminal being eased back into civilised society.

Then he batted in such a distracted,
barely competent way against his old nemesis left-arm spin in the first
Test that it seemed he might not be worth a place anyway.

And then he goes and bats as well as
any Englishman could have possibly done in this vast, cricket-mad
country with his side seemingly heading for the eighth and most damaging
Test defeat of their annus horribilis.

It looked like Pietersen was going to
fall short of being regarded as a truly great batsman because of his
erratic form and behaviour since losing the England captaincy nearly
four years ago but that rarified status may yet be within his reach.

His average is now a tad under 50 and not too many boast that.

He has certainly made three great
Test centuries this year, in Colombo, at Headingley when he imploded and
now here at the vibrant hub of Indian cricket.

This, surely, was the best innings Pietersen has ever played.

Few expected England to come anywhere
near India’s 327 on an extreme example of the sort of alien, turning
Asian pitches that have proved their undoing both this winter and last
after they had lost what seemed like a decisive toss.

Yet they passed it for the loss of
only four wickets because of a stand of 206 between Pietersen and Cook
that could well be remembered as the partnership which reignited a
stuttering England team that had lost their way after rapidly rising to
the top of the Test world.

In normal circumstances Cook’s fourth
century in each of his first four Tests as captain, bringing him level
on the England record with Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff
Boycott, would have demanded all the attention.

Ton-derful: Pietersen reached three figures on Sunday morning

Ton-derful: Pietersen reached three figures on Sunday morning

This morning it was merely the hors d’oeuvres for the sumptuous main course.

Pietersen looked in the mood when he
stroked his first ball for four on Saturday and now he took batting to a
higher level, nullifying any demons in the pitch and rendering India’s
spinners ordinary, even his first Test tormentor Pragyan Ojha.

He told his friend Shane Warne that
he had ‘unscrambled’ his brain and that he clearly had in a five-hour
long batting masterclass.

Pietersen’s century came with a
reverse-swept four devoid of any risk and his 150, which brought him
level with Hammond and Len Hutton in hitting 10 scores in excess of that
figure for England, was reached with an effortless straight six off the
now hapless Ojha.

/11/25/article-2238138-14214923000005DC-531_468x330.jpg” width=”468″ height=”330″ alt=”Captain marvel: Cook led from the front with his 22nd Test hundred” class=”blkBorder” />

Captain marvel: Cook led from the front with his 22nd Test hundred

Only when Pietersen was out, Ojha
roaring his approval at finally getting his man, did the match revert to
type, England losing their last five wickets for 31 to give them a lead
of 87 when at one stage many more seemed probable.

The mini-collapse was not without
controversy either. Andy Flower, the England team director, approached
the umpires and match referee during lunch when it became clear that the
catch which dismissed Jonny Bairstow had struck Gautam Gambhir on his
helmet grille before he pouched the chance.

Umpires Aleem Dar and Tony Hill, who
seem to have lost much of their judgment with the absence of the
decision review system, left the matter in the hands of India who, in
contrast to their recall of Ian Bell in the Trent Bridge run-out
incident, decided not to withdraw their appeal. No matter. This was not
the day to worry about such trifles.

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar (left)

Spin kings: Swann (right) and Panesar (left)

It looked as though England had let
India back into the Test by not cracking on to a lead in excess of a
hundred but what happened next was delicious in its irony.

MS Dhoni had
demanded a pitch at the Wankhede Stadium that turned from the first ball
but little did he realise that his ploy would play so spectacularly
into the large hands of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

Seven Indian wickets tumbled to spin
for 117, giving India a lead of just 31 overnight, with Panesar taking
five of them to become the first English spinner to take 10 wickets in a
Test in India since Hedley Verity in 1934.

Who would have thought that it was in fact India’s batsmen who cannot play left-arm spin in sub-continental conditions

More importantly, it meant that
England should have levelled the series tomorrow morning unless there
was one last twist to this compelling tale.

Test cricket Bloody hell….