Tag Archives: plaudits

Audley Harrison to fight Deontay Wilder on April 27 in Sheffield

Harrison confirms showdown with American Wilder on Khan undercard in Sheffield

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

18:51 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:01 GMT, 25 March 2013

Audley Harrison has agreed to fight American heavyweight hope Deontay Wilder on April 27 in Sheffield.

The 41-year-old bounced back from a brutal defeat to David Price by winning Prizefighter for a second time last month.

But Wilder will prove to be an altogether different proposition having stopped every one of his 27 opponents to date.

A-Force: Audley Harrison will be back in action for the first time since winning Prizefighter in February

A-Force: Audley Harrison will be back in action for the first time since winning Prizefighter in February

Big stage: Deontay Wilder (right) was on the undercard of Amir Khan's win against Carlos Molina in December

Big stage: Deontay Wilder (right) was on the undercard of Amir Khan's win against Carlos Molina in December

Harrison confirmed on Twitter that he has accepted the fight at five weeks notice and expects to be added to the undercard of Amir Khan’s homecoming against Julio Diaz.

Wilder has long been groomed as America’s next world heavyweight champion but has been largely untested since turning professional more than four years ago.

The 27-year-old fought outside of the United States for the first time in January when beating Matthew Greer in Mexico and has never been past the fourth round of a fight.

Hailing from Alabama, he won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing despite having had just 30 amateur fights.

Homecoming: Khan will top the bill in Sheffield when he takes on Julio Diaz

Homecoming: Khan will top the bill in Sheffield when he takes on Julio Diaz

Harrison, meanwhile, still harbours hopes of winning a world title despite his defeats to Price and David Haye.

He earned plaudits for his performances in beating Claus Bertino, Martin Rogan and Derric Rossy at York Hall but will have his work cut out against Wilder.

Indeed, the pair sparred in preparation for Harrison’s fight with Price with the veteran admitting: ‘Deontay Wilder punches like a mule, and he’s fast. I had four weeks of him, and some days he was catching me with clean shots.’

TALE OF THE TAPE

Audley Harrison

Born: London
Age: 41
Height: 6’ 5 1/2”
Weight 234lb
Record 31(23)-6
Nickname: A-Force

Deontay Wilder

Born: Alabama
Age: 27
Height: 6’ 7”
Weight 240lb
Record 27(27)-0
Nickname: The Bronze Bomber

Luis Suarez could leave Liverpool for Champions League club this summer

Suarez warns Liverpool he would 'welcome' talks with Champions League clubs this summer

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

20:04 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:28 GMT, 20 March 2013

Luis Suarez has warned Liverpool that he would consider any offers in the summer from clubs that can offer Champions League football.

German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and Italian giants Juventus head up the chase for Suarez, who has scored 29 goals in 40 appearances for Liverpool this season.

However, Brendan Rodgers' team have too often relied on Suarez's talents and lie in seventh place in the Barclays Premier League – in danger of missing out on European football altogether.

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

Table

Suarez is under contract at Anfield until 2017, but did not rule out the idea of a big-money move at the end of the season.

'I am very happy at Liverpool but you never know in football,' Suarez said ahead of his international side's World Cup qualifier with Paraguay, as reported in the Liverpool Echo.

'If another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games, which is willing to have me, they are welcome.

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

'We would talk to the club, we would see if I want to go, if I don’t want to go.'

However, Suarez also recognised Liverpool's strengths, including manager Brendan Rodgers' footballing philosophy, which he hopes to see propel the club further next year.

Rodgers won plaudits for his Swansea side's passing style last season, and has attempted to implement the same structure at Anfield.

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

'A player’s ambition is always there, the ambition of wanting to play in elite teams is always there,' said Suarez.

'I’m in a world-class team, an elite team like Liverpool.

'We have to realise we have a new manager who is imposing a philosophy and a way of playing that the players are adapting to as best we can.

'We hope that it will bear fruit next year.'

Cheltenham Festival 2013: Sprinter Sacre wins Champion Chase

Superstar Sprinter Sacre romps to victory in Champion Chase with sensational run

.

Geraghty said: 'He's a beautiful horse to ride. I've never ridden one as natural to jump. Things would have to go very wrong to go wrong.

'Once he's healthy and well, you get him relaxed and into a nice rhythm. He does the rest and he's a pleasure to ride.

Main man: Barry Geraghty steered Sprinter Sacre to victory over Sizing Europe who was 19 lengths behind

Main man: Barry Geraghty steered Sprinter Sacre to victory over Sizing Europe who was 19 lengths behind

Main man: Barry Geraghty steered Sprinter Sacre to victory over Sizing Europe who was 19 lengths behind

'I've ridden some brilliant horses over the years, but the ease and the grace that he does it with sets him apart.'

Henderson, greeting his 49th Festival winner, said: 'He's just very special. (I'm relieved) It's over.

'He just has that way of doing it.

'He finds it ridiculously easy – he just loves doing it.

'He loves to attack his fences. We are very lucky to have him.

'I hope people have enjoyed watching him.

'We've talked about Punchestown, and I'm sure Richie Galway (Punchestown manager) would like us to talk about it a bit more. He is a two-miler and I don't think Aintree really will be him.

'There's a nice Grade One in Ireland and maybe we go for that and then wrap him up.'

Crowd pleaser: Barry Geraghty takes the plaudits after his victory on board Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham

Crowd pleaser: Barry Geraghty takes the plaudits after his victory on board Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham

Caroline Mould's husband, Raymond, said: 'It's absolutely incredible.

'One lives in hope and expectation, but the reality is incredible.

'To see him do it like that is fantastic.

'What more can one say'

Sizing Europe's rider Andrew Lynch said: 'I tripped up on the path on the crossing, but I wouldn't use that as an excuse – the winner is some horse.

'I took it to him to see how good he was and my lad ran with great credit.'

Sizing Europe's trainer Henry de Bromhead said: 'We have been beaten by a phenomenon. We had a go, but came off second best.

Take a bow: Nicky Henderson was relieved after watching his charge justify favouritism

Take a bow: Nicky Henderson was relieved after watching his charge justify favouritism

'Andrew said he tripped on the path but that it made no difference to the result.

'He's still finished second in a Champion Chase and even at 11 he is still a very good horse, but we have been beaten by a special one.

'We made the decision to run in this (rather than Ryanair Chase or Gold Cup) and there is nothing we can do about that now.

'He was ridden to win the race. He jumped brilliant today and we know that he stays further so we will do whatever is best for the horse and I am sure Punchestown will come into it.

'He seems as good as ever, but the winner put us in our place.'

Rafael Benitez is happy Chelsea overcame Norwich 1-0 even if it lacked the style of their Norwich thrashing

Benitez satisfied with another clean sheet even though their 1-0 Norwich win lacked the style of Villa trouncing

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UPDATED:

11:37 GMT, 27 December 2012

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez acknowledged yesterday's 1-0 win at Norwich was just as important as their weekend thrashing of Aston Villa.

The Blues needed a special first-half strike from Juan Mata to beat a determined Canaries team, just three days after they had hammered Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Although the Boxing Day victory over Norwich will not have drawn as many plaudits as the demolition job on Sunday, Benitez was equally as delighted by Chelsea's display.

Benitez admits that a 1-0 win against in-form Norwich is no mean feat

Mightily relieved: Benitez admits that a 1-0 win against in-form Norwich is no mean feat

'I think it is important to see the team working hard and defending well,' he said.

'We have another clean sheet after Villa, where we were playing really offensive football.

'We could manage and we could control against a good team. They were well organised and pushed and were quite dangerous on the counter-attack, but we were doing our job in defence and that is something we have improved and can keep on improving.

'This kind of game – 1-0 – a
free-kick, corner or counter-attack can make a difference so until the
end they were pushing so we did well.'

Heading into the fixture, the Canaries had lost just once since going down 4-1 at Stamford Bridge on October 6.

This was their 2-1 loss away to West Brom last Saturday, which ended an unbeaten run stretching back 10 league matches.

A different approach was required at Carrow Road, and Benitez promised there was more to come from his players.

'We can manage different kinds of games and still get results,' he said.

'There
are not a lot of teams who can play football like we did the other day
and also show that we can defend and work hard in difficult conditions
(at Norwich) with the rain at the end.

'We are in a good position but can
still improve.'

Anxious wait: Benitez used Lampard to strengthen the midfield with speculation still rife over his future

Anxious wait: Benitez used Lampard to strengthen the midfield with speculation still rife over his future

Benitez finds a smile as he greets Hughton before the game

Mutual respect: Benitez finds a smile as he greets Hughton before the game

Norwich boss Chris Hughton was
pleased with the endeavour shown by his side to limit a talented Chelsea
team to only a few chances.

'I
thought we dealt with them for really big periods of the game,' he
said. 'The chances they had I thought were fairly minimal. We restricted
them.

'As the game opened
up in the second half I think we broke very well and showed good energy
and might have got a draw in the end.'

Hughton's Norwich have punched well above their weight since he took over

A picture of concentration: Hughton's Norwich have punched well above their weight since he took over

But Hughton was unhappy with the wastefulness of his players when they were in possession.

Mata's goal came after Norwich had gifted the ball to Chelsea, and he had missed another chance minutes earlier after David Luiz nicked the ball from Wes Hoolahan.

'The area I was disappointed in during the first half was that we have been good on the ball but we were a little bit loose and it allowed them to have three or four good counter-attacks,' Hughton said.

'We dealt with them eventually very well but it was a ball that was given away (that led to the goal). They broke very well and we got bodies around the ball, but I think you have to admire the strike.'

Cristiano Ronaldo will quit Real Madrid unless they treat him like Barcelona worship Lionel Messi

Ronaldo in Real threat as star will leave Madrid unless he's treated like Barca rival Messi

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UPDATED:

16:54 GMT, 20 December 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo still intends to leave the Bernabeu in the summer unless he gets the full Messi treatment.

Lionel Messi signed a new contract extension this week that will keep him at Barcelona until 2018, beyond his 31st birthday.

The deal is expected to be structured so that it increases yearly, rising to 12.5million (net) a year before bonuses.

Deal me in: Cristiano Ronaldo could be heading for the Bernabeu exit

Deal me in: Cristiano Ronaldo could be heading for the Bernabeu exit

The richest players

1 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 27.5m

2 David
Beckham (Free agent) 26.2m

3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 24.3m

4
Samuel Eto'o (Anzhi Makhachkala) 19.4m

5 Wayne Rooney (Manchester
United) 17.2m

6 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain) 16m

7 Sergio
Aguero (Manchester City) 15.7m

8 Yaya Toure (Manchester City) 14.7m

9
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) 13.9m

10 Kaka (Real Madrid) 12.9m

But according to Spanish newspaper Marca, Ronaldo still feels angry with the club and upset, believing he deserves the special treatment of superstars like Lionel Messi.

While Messi has renewed his contract six times during his spell at Barcelona, Ronaldo has not been offered an improved deal since his 80m move from Old Trafford in 2009.

The Portuguese winger was offered – and signed – multiple improved deals during his time under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Although Ronaldo has scored an amazing 170 goals in 169 games for Real, it is Messi who has stolen the plaudits this year.

The 25-year-old had already surpassed Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

The pair are both in contention for the FIFA Ballon d'Or crown, alongside Messi's team-mate at Barcelona Andres Iniesta.

Big bucks: Lionel Messi has signed a new bumper contract at Barcelona

Big bucks: Lionel Messi has signed a new bumper contract at Barcelona

Phil Jagielka says Darron Gibson can be key for Everton

Jagielka backs ever-improving Gibson to become key man for Everton

|

UPDATED:

00:31 GMT, 11 December 2012

Phil Jagielka has hailed the growing influence of Darron Gibson and tipped him to emerge as the driving force behind Everton’s assault on the top four.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder was outstanding in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham, his range of passing and probing kept Everton on the front foot from the start; it was Gibson late cross that led to Nikica Jelavic pilfering the stoppage time winner.

Gibson has only just returned from three months out with a serious thigh problem but his presence in the team in the last three matches against Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal has been noticeable, as his repetoire of passing has given Everton's play a different dimension.

Important: Phil Jagielka says Darron Gibson (right) is key for the Toffees' Premier League hopes

Important: Phil Jagielka says Darron Gibson (right) is key for the Toffees' Premier League hopes

Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini may have received most plaudits during Everton’s encouraging start to the campaign but Jagielka believes Gibson, who was signed from Manchester United last January in a deal that could eventually cost 2million, will prove himself to be just as crucial in the long run.

‘Gibbo is massively important, said Jagielka. ‘For us to have someone who can keep the opposing defence on their toes purely knowing if he does get a bit of time, he can be like our quarterback and start putting in some fantastic passes.

‘It makes playing against us a lot harder when we have people like Darron in the team and Leon Osman by the side of him. They are two different footballers but equally as important. Ossie is good in tight spaces and finding the little passes, while Gibbo is such a good passer and has a great range.’

Gibson has been something of a lucky charm for Everton as in the 21 appearances he has made since leaving Old Trafford he has only featured on a losing side twice – in April’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool and at West Brom in September.

‘Maybe Gibbo hasn’t scored that many since he has been here; he’s not a dribbler and not what you’d describe as ‘Fancy Dan’ sort of player,’ said the England international.

Praise: The England defender (right) has kind words for his team-mate

Praise: The England defender (right) has kind words for his team-mate

‘But if you filmed his role in the team and watched it back there’d be some fantastic passes, great tackles and some clever football. He came from a great club in Manchester United. He proves that way with the time he finds on the ball and the confidence he has to play those long range passes.’

Keeping Gibson fit will be crucial to Everton’s ambitions but there is also a sense they have genuine momentum and, like his manager David Moyes, Jagielka feels the impetus from the late rally against Tottenham could have a huge impact on what they are aiming to achieve.

‘It was desperately important for us to pick up three points if we want to have as successful season as we are hoping for,’ said Jagielka, who has been captaining Everton in the absence of the injured Phil Neville.

Dynamic: Jagielka said Gibson makes fine passes and is a strong tackler too

Dynamic: Jagielka said Gibson makes fine passes and is a strong tackler too

‘It keeps us up there and maintains this decent start that everyone is talking about.

‘It wasn’t make or break but when we come back to looking at the points tally and the way the season has gone, this could be a game where we started turning draws into wins and gave ourselves a real boost.

‘We have a really tough game coming up against Stoke and to have lost against Spurs would have put a hell of a lot of pressure on that game to come out with three points. But now we can go there and anything positive will be a good result.’

LIVE: India v England – day two, third Test, Kolkata

India v England – the action on day two of the third Test in Kolkata as it happened

|

UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 6 December 2012


India v England – essentials

India: Sehwag, Gambhir, Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni (c/wk), Ashwin, Zaheer, Sharma, Ojha.

England: Cook (c), Compton, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Patel, Prior (wk), Swann, Anderson, Finn, Panesar.

Umpires: HDPK Dharmasena (SRI) and RJ Tucker (AUS)

Match referee: JJ Crowe (NZ)

India won the toss and elected to bat

First innings: India 316.

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3am: Morning one, morning all and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage on day two of the third Test between England and India from Kolkata.

The tourists efforts yesterday have rightly been described as heroic after being asked to bowl and taking seven wickets on the flattest of tracks.

Talk of pace and bounce were rendered nonsense early on and huge credit must go to James Anderson and Monty Panesar whose efforts have given England the advantage.

The plan from here is to wrap up the three final wickets with minimal fuss then begin the task of building big first-innings runs.

That's the ideal scenario, of course. But if the previous two Tests have taught us anything the first day has been a pretty accurate precursor of what's to come.

3.14: Right, we've got about 15 minutes before play resumes, enough time to have quick peruse of Bumble's Test diary. Day one left him dreaming of Monty and Bruno!

3.20: James Anderson drew huge plaudits for his efforts on day one. Nasser Hussain stood and admired as he got the better of Sachin Tendulkar.. again.

3.24: So, how do you see the action panning out today Can England wrap up the remnants of this India innings without too much fuss. Or are you worried this low, slow track will start turning big when England come in to bat Twitter and email details are above if you so wish to use them.

91st over: India 280-7 (Dhoni 27, Z Khan 1)

Credit to the hardy bunch of Barmy Army fans who serenade their heroes with a rendition of Jerusalem in the early stages of the over. James Anderson begins the attack for England and MS Dhoni is straight on the attack, taking a couple of steps down the track and firing Jimmy back to the rope at long-off.

92nd over: India 282-7 (Dhoni 28, Z Khan 2)

Are you prepared for another long day at the coal face, Monty He bowled 35 overs yesterday and is hoicked straight into the action this morning. Zaheer Khan is – unsurprisingly – in blocking mood, until the final ball of the over where he takes a quick single to retain the strike. Brave. I like it.

93rd over: India 291-7 (Dhoni 28, Z Khan 6)

Dropped! Anderson is absolutely fuming after Swann (now no longer his best mate) shells a dolly at second slip. What a chance that was. Swann was a close second slip, the ball hit him on the chest/ribs and looped up, but Cook couldn't catch the loose ball. Jimmy responds with a ludicrously short one which bounced over Prior for five runs (with the wide). And Khan slogs the final delivery of the over square for four more. It is all going on.

WICKET! Zaheer Khan lbw b Panesar 6

Khan wastes the extra life he was given in the previous over, lunging forward and playing around a straight one. The ball pitched on middle/leg and straightened enough.

94th over: India 292-8 (Dhoni 29)

Maybe that wicket has saved the Anderson/Swann friendship what with Khan adding not many after Swanny shelled him at Slip Well done, Monty. Your still the man. Although your celebrations remain bloody awful.

95th over: India 296-8 (Dhoni 33, Sharma 0)

Anderson dips one back of a length, Dhoni leans back and clubs the ball backward of square for four runs. Meat and drink that kind of length for the Insia captain. Final delivery is wide of off stump, Dhoni swings hard, but misses, which gives Monty a chance to have a dip at new boy Ishant Sharma.

Magic Monty: Panesar has picked up four vital wickets for England

Magic Monty: Panesar has picked up four vital wickets for England

WICKET! Ishant Sharma b Panesar 0

Lofted flight on the delivery does for Sharma who misreads it and plays all around a straight one. Proper No 10's shot and Monty has a four-fer.

96th over: India 296-9 (Dhoni 33, Ojha 0)

Wicket maiden for the boy Monty. But the face on MS Dhoni as he watched Sharma play all around a straight delivery was a peach. Fuming.

97th over: India 296-9 (Dhoni 33, Ojha 0)

'It's a stalemate', notes Nasser in the Sky comms boxs. And he's right. Dhoni's in blocking mode, until the final delivery which he heaves square for a single to retain strike.

98th over: India 309-9 (Dhoni 46, Ojha 0)

Now, here's a stat: No England bowler has taken three five wicket hauls in a row since 1970-71. Monty has five in his previous two and is on four here. One more, Monty, can you do it Well, no, Dhoni's having none of it as he rocks back on his heels and scores the second SIX of the innings over long-off. And then he scores the third SIX with the final delivery of the over – a massive boomer over midwicket.

99th over: India 311-9 (Dhoni 47, Ojha 0)

Well, if you want anyone marshalling the end of an innings, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better candidate than MS Dhoni. Ojha faces a couple, there's a big lbw shout which is turned down, and the India captain dabs a quick single to retain strike.

100th over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

A much brighter morning today than the misty fug which enveloped Eden Gardens yesterday, but that hasn't encouraged more spectators in this 63,000-capacity ground. A mere smattering: 4 or 5,000 at most. Monty continues to Dhoni, field set well back, the captain takes a single with the final delivery, chipping one to vacant mid-off.

101st over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Nick Knight reveals the news that Phil Hughes will replace Ricky Ponting in the Australia team. I'm no gambling man, but if I was (and I'm not) I would be down the bookies as soon as the door opened to wager every penny I can lay my greedy mitts on for England to win the Ashes. Hughes hasn't enjoyed the best of luck against England. Maiden for Monty.

102nd over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Bowling change: Graeme Swann is hoicked in in James Anderson's stead. Much to the paceman's chagrin, I presume – certainly when he has the No 11 to face. Slip, gully and short leg come in, Ojha does well to block out. Maiden.

103rd over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Do you think the denizens of Kolkata have any inkling knowledge of Only Fools and Horses Granted, why should those who live in this sprawling metropolis care for the antics of two zooms from Peckham Still, they'll be familiar with the theme tune now that Billy Cooper – the Barmy Army's trumpeter-in-chief has just belted it out.

104th over: India 312-9 (Dhoni 48, Ojha 0)

Proddy, proddy, touch, touch. Ojha's doing his best to hang around, but this seems all rather futile, India haven't added a run in five overs. It's that tedious, I've searched – and listened to – Fat Larry's Band classic Zoom on youtube. Maiden.

105th over: India 316 (Ojha 0)

Bowling change: Steven Finn comes into the action to try and frighten India out of this innings. Which he does!

WICKET! Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Swann b Finn 52

Great work from Swann who races from second slip to pouch Dhoni's attempted cut which booms up off his gloves. And that is that.

INDIA ALL OUT FOR 316

On the attack: Cook is hoping to score more big runs as England begin their first innings

On the attack: Cook is hoping to score more big runs as England begin their first innings

1st over: England 4-0 (Cook 4, Compton 0)

England will be very pleased with their work so far. Restricting India to 316 after losing the toss is a super effort, particularly on a pitch which is offering no assistance. But what of England's replay Zaheer Khan begins the attack with two slips and a gully in position. Cook moves off the mark with a well timed dash via point for four runs.

2nd over: England 6-0 (Cook 4, Compton 2)

Ishant Sharma joins Khan in the attack to Compton whose busy defensive strokes I admire so. Compton pushes a quick single to cover, but some shoddy work in the field – an overthrow – allows the England pair to take another.

3rd over: England 10-0 (Cook 8, Compton 2)

It is said that whenever the word 'cricket' is mentioned, a Frenchman or German, somewhere in the world, starts laughing, such is esteem in which they hold the game.

Bucking this trend, however, is former Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Dietmar Hamann. Didi Hamann, via Twitter: 'England on top if they get 400+ you got to fancy them to win …Anderson outstanding #onlyonemonty'. Thick edge from Cook sends the ball between slips and gully for four.

4th over: England 10-0 (Cook 8, Compton 2)

Six deliveries outside off, Compton doesn't look interested. That's a maiden.

5th over: England 16-0 (Cook 13, Compton 3)

A rather tepid start from the India pacemen. Cook and Compton looking unruffled, the captain helps himself to four via clip off his pads and, erm, that's about it.

6th over: England 17-0 (Cook 13, Compton 4)

The stats suggest Sharma has had the making of Cook more than many bowlers. But the seamer isn't going to trouble the left-hander with his current line, which is too straight into the England captain. He needs to look for the feather edge, wider of off stump if he is to prosper. Unless he can find some extra pace to leave Cook open to lbw. Just a single for Compton.

7th over: England 17-0 (Cook 13, Compton 4)

Pleased to say Eden Gardens is starting to fill up as the morning carries on. Still huge swathes of empty seats, but there's plenty of atmosphere pouring down from the stands as England go about their business diligently in the middle. Compton faces six from Khan and that's a maiden.

8th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

Cook hangs hit bat out to Sharma who finds an edge, but it is of the thickish variety and thusly runs wide of slips, but inside gully and brings up another boundary. Maybe some spin before lunch It's only 10 minutes away.

9th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

It's another maiden over for Khan, but it was almost so much worse for England after Compton called a kamikaze single, only to send Cook back before any damage could be done. Steady now boys, you're within a sniff of the lunch break. Now is not the time for rash decisions.

In good Nick: Compton has started well as England begin their first innings

In good Nick: Compton has started well as England begin their first innings

10th over: England 21-0 (Cook 17, Compton 4)

Bowling change: Yep, it's time for some spin and Ravichandran Ashwin is hoicked in to turn his arm over for six before the break. Nothing extra going on for him over Panesar or Swann. Maiden.

11th over: England 22-0 (Cook 17, Compton 5)

Short leg comes in for Compton as Sharma changes ends at in the dregs of the session. Just a single for the Somerset man. And that is lunch. Muy bien.

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: So, England have done the first bit. /12/06/article-2243328-0D25177D00000578-345_306x459.jpg” width=”306″ height=”459″ alt=”Plenty to ponder: Dhoni's side have struggled to break England down” class=”blkBorder” />

Plenty to ponder: Dhoni's side have struggled to break England down

23rd over: England 61-0 (Cook 44, Compton 17)

Full credit to the England pair who are picking the right moments when to stick or twist. The tandem threat of Khan and Ishant had to be seen off, now with Ashwin's gentle spin on, they can vary the attack and take it to the hosts. Just a single from the over.

24th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

So, after an hour of the afternoon session, England continue to move forward serenely. They have added 40 runs without the loss of a wicket in the 12 overs thus far. A decent return. But there's plenty left to do. Another single from the over keeps the scorecard ticking over.

25th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden. And time for some drinks.

26th over: England 62-0 (Cook 45, Compton 17)

England moving along serenely here. They've enjoyed this session so far. They've added 40 runs without losing a wicket. Still plenty of work left to do, mind. Another maiden.

27th over: England 62-0 (Cook 50, Compton 17)

Shot! Zaheer's attempted inswinging yorker arrows in towards off stump, but Cook flat bats back down the ground for four. Stunning shot. Another single also brings up the captain's half-century.

28th over: England 74-0 (Cook 51, Compton 23)

Shot! Compton leaves his crease and punches Ojha high and mighty over the midwicket boundary for another maximum! SIX big runs for Nick, England sitting pretty here.

29th over: England 74-0 (Cook 51, Compton 23)

A series of dots. Six in total. That's a maiden.

30th over: England 77-0 (Cook 53, Compton 24)

Ojha's in now, so we have spin on at both ends. England have played it well thus far. But I can tell you, this over-by-over lark isn't half made difficult with two twirlers on, what with their minute long overs and all. There's steam coming off my keyboard. Cook taps a couple backward of square.

31st over: England 83-0 (Cook 58, Compton 25)

Howizaaaat! Ashwin asks the question, but he's clutching at straws – the ball hit Compton's boot on the flush, but miles outside the line of the stumps. There follows a howler in the field – of which there have already been a few – which allows England to nick a single and overthrows add another four. Ouch.

32nd over: England 86-0 (Cook 60, Compton 26)

Half an hour to go until the tea break, England will be mighty pleased if they reach the break without loss. And will certainly hope to reach three figures by that point, too. Three more singles from Ojha's bowling.

33rd over: England 90-0 (Cook 64, Compton 26)

Courtesy of Sky Sports' statto Bendict Bermange, on Twitter: 'If – or rather – when Cook gets to 88 he will be the youngest to reach 7000 Test runs. Another Sachin record will fall'. Cook finds the rope with a well timed club through covers.

34th over: England 94-0 (Cook 67, Compton 27)

So, after a promising opening 34 overs, England trail by 222 runs. An excellent base from which to work on and takes the pressure off those coming in behind the openers. But India are allowing them to find the singles, find the gaps to keep the score ticking over. A couple of singles and one brace come as England move forward.

35th over: England 95-0 (Cook 68, Compton 27)

An eerie silence around the ground at the moment, despite the fact there must be 15,000 spectators in attendance. The locals have had very little to cheer today. Ashwin zooms through his over, one from it as yet another misfield allows the England pair to cross without too much fuss.

36th over: England 100-0 (Cook 69, Compton 31)

Dhoni's not happy with the ball, he asks the umpires to run it through that piece of kt which measures the balls roundness. It doesn't come up to scratch and so a selection of new'uns is brought on. But even the new cherry cannot help India as Compton chops forward of point to take England past the century mark.

Solid start: The England openers have laid excellent foundations for England's first innings

Solid start: The England openers have laid excellent foundations for England's first innings

37th over: England 104-0 (Cook 73, Compton 31)

Of course Cook will receive plaudits for his excellent form again today, but mention must be made of some of the dross which is being served up. Ashwin dips down a rank wide one and the England captain dispatches it through cover point for four. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

38th over: England 110-0 (Cook 74, Compton 36)

Compton leans across his pads and clips the ball square for four more. I don't want to gush, but England are filling their boots here at the moment, India need to find a creative spark from somewhere. Maybe they're waiting on an England mistake Doesn't look forthcoming at the moment.

39th over: England 113-0 (Cook 77, Compton 36)

Final few overs before tea now. England must be eyeing the break. They will be delighted to reach it without losing a wicket. India keeping everything crossed that they can.

40th over: England 116-0 (Cook 79, Compton 37)

England nurdle three more singles from Ojha who has looked pretty toothless in his eight overs thus far. And he's going at a shy under four an over.

41st over: England 116-0 (Cook 79, Compton 37)

Ashwin continues, a series of dot balls. That's a maiden.

42nd over: England 116-0 (Cook 81, Compton 40)

Four more from that over as England reach the break without loss. Sterling effort in that afternoon session from the tourists.

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth in Kolkata writes: That was another sparkling session for England – and a miserable one for India. Cheteshwar Pujara dropped Alastair Cook at first slip on 17, their spinners lacked bite, and the fielding was lethargic. If England reach stumps without major damage, they will be in a decent position to take a scarcely believable 2-1 lead in this four-match series.

Quietly, Cook and Nick Compton have gone about establishing an opening partnership that, despite a few rough edges (mainly Compton’s), seems to work.

Against the odds, Cook has become the aggressor, with Compton content to defend the good balls, chance the occasional quick single to mid-off, and take toll of the free gifts. The six he launched down the ground off Pragyan Ojha was a glorious aberration.

Cook simply looks immovable, and it needed a beauty from Zaheer Khan to induce the error that was spurned by Pujara: the ball shaped to swing in, then held its line before kissing the outside edge. It was the kind of delivery only in-form batsmen tend to nick.

This pair have put on 123, 66, 58* and now 121* since they were parted early on the second evening in Ahmedabad. And if Cook has stolen the headlines, scoring more runs in a series in India than any England captain in history (Ted Dexter, who has been at this game, was the previous record-holder, with 409 runs in 1961-62), Compton has been a more than faithful sidekick.

As for India, some shoddy work in the field betrayed their state of mind. But it's far too early for heads to drop: a couple of quick wickets, and a reversing ball after tea, can bring them back into the game.

TEA: ENGLAND ARE 121-0

43rd over: England 127-0 (Cook 80, Compton 46)

No pressure, but Alastair Cook needs just 20 more runs to become England's most successful batsman ever. Those runs will take him to his 23rd centrury, taking him past the tally of 22 held by Kevin Pietersen, Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Sir Geoffrey Boycott. Compton gets England underway with a rather ugly chop backward of square for four.

44th over: England 131-0 (Cook 81, Compton 49)

India really have been poor in the field today. Two rather shoddy pieces of work turn dicey singles into comfortable strolls. Surely cricket -even in India where the hosts are usually so dominant – has moved on from this part-time-looking attitude.

45th over: England 138-0 (Cook 88, Compton 49)

I'll be honest, we've had a bit of a chat about the impending milestone Alastair Cook could pass if he reaches 100 runs here, and I was worried I could jinx his chances. But with bowling like that, he'll have no trouble becoming the first Englishman to score 23 Test centuries. Man at extra cover could have stopped the ball, I reckon, before it passed him to the boundary. But I think I've covered the quality of India's fielding already.

46th over: England 138-0 (Cook 88, Compton 49)

Ashwin continues – with very little reward. That's a series of six dots – a maiden in old money.

47th over: England 144-0 (Cook 92, Compton 50)

Are they signs of frustration creeping in there from Ishant Sharma The paceman dips one in well short, Compton has to take evasive action and there follows some staring action from the pair. There follows two singles which bring up Compton's half-century. You can't see me, but I'm clapping in admiration. A huge milestone in any player's career. Cook chips in with a dashing drive which finds a the edge and races to vacant third man.

48th over: England 146-0 (Cook 93, Compton 51)

England into the 48th over, still without loss and trail India by 170 runs with all their wickets intact. They won't find parity today, but could be within 50 runs of the hosts' total by the close of play. Two singles dabbed either side of the wicket.

49th over: England 146-0 (Cook 93, Compton 51)

There's a Mexico Wave wending its way round the stadium at the moment. It seem the locals are entertaining themselves seeing as their players are declining to offer any support. I'd ban the bloody things if I could. Mexican Waves, that is. Not locals. Maiden over.

50th over: England 148-0 (Cook 94, Compton 52)

I am getting ahead of myself here, but, for the record, England's highest first wicket stand against India was the 225 scored by Messrs Gooch and Atherton at Headingley in 1990.

51st over: England 152-0 (Cook 98, Compton 52)

Shot! Cook goes on the sweep, finds the rope in front of square to take him to two runs shy of that tantalising 23rd Test century for England.

Man of the moment: Cook has become England's most successful batsman ever

Man of the moment: Cook has become England's most successful batsman ever

52nd over: England 156-0 (Cook 101, Compton 53)

There it is, he's done it! Alastair Cook dabs the two runs he needs to become England's most successful Test batsman, with his 23rd century. Plaudits will rightly rain down on Ice Man. He's on some run at the moment.

WICKET! Nick Compton lbw b Ojha 57

The attempted paddle/sweep, but misses the ball which hits his back leg. That looks plumb.

53rd over: England 165-1 (Cook 106)

Big moment for India , they've been desperate for the breakthrough. The crowd have really come alive now, too.

54th over: England 176-1 (Cook 117, Trott 0)

Zaheer Khan returns to the fray… can he shake up the England pair with a new man in Nope. Cook pulls one just behind square for four and another boundary come via backward point.

55th over: England 181-1 (Cook 118, Trott 4)

So, the ever dependable Trott is in. But he's in dire need of some runs. His scores thus far in this series are 0, 17, 0. Not good enough. But he makes a decent start here, with a flick round the corner for four runs.

56th over: England 187-1 (Cook 124, Trott 4)

The wicket has really endowed the Indian players and crowd with renewed energies. Ishant Sharma has just performed an athletic slid e to save a certain four and the crowd scream their agreement as Ojha asks for an lbw decision against Cook. No dice, well outside the line. There follows a stunning cover drive from the England captain. A real beauty. And that takes us up to drinks.

57th over: England 187-1 (Cook 124, Trott 4)

Here we go then, final hour of the day – or 17 overs. Should squeeze them all in with the spinners in play. If England end the day with just the one in the wickets column they will be mighty pleased. The trick will be to bat all day tomorrow, build a lead of 200-odd and go from there. Granted, that is a best-case scenario, India are formidable on home soil, surely they can't remain as docile as this for much longer. Ojha continues with a maiden.

58th over: England 191-1 (Cook 128, Trott 4)

Cook eyes the ball as it races to the fence via mid-on. He holds his pose, just long enough to let Ashwin know who's in charge. The local producers also show us Trott's three dismissals in this tour. All have come on turning pitches. This is not one of those.

59th over: England 191-1 (Cook 128, Trott 4)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden.

60th over: England 194-1 (Cook 130, Trott 5)

With spinners on at both ends we might actually end up bowling more than the allotted 90 today. A rare scenario and one which will please Bumble immensely. Trott dabs one and Cook dabs a couple of singles.

61st over: England 194-1 (Cook 131, Trott 9)

Zoooom! Ojha rips through his over at lightning speed, Trott scores what now seems like the obligatory boundary – through midwicket – for England.

62nd over: England 201-1 (Cook 132, Trott 10)

Cook dabs a single to mid-on which brings the England supporters to their feet as England reach the 200 mark. In all honesty, it has been something of a cake walk.

63rd over: England 205-1 (Cook 132, Trott 14)

England
are still behind by 111 runs, but India already look deflated. It is
like they are being forced to watch and swallow England's lesson in how
to play the conditions in their own back yard. They're probably keen to
get back into the dressing room to regroup and think about the plan of
attack for tomorrow. Trott bangs one through midwicket which zip to the
fence in a flash. Four!

64th over: England 207-1 (Cook 133, Trott 15)

Another
couple of singles and we have nine overs left today. India desperate to
make a breakthrough before the close of play. They need it to give them
some impetus for tomorrow.

Able assistant: Trott is hoping to improve on his poor record in the series

Able assistant: Trott is hoping to improve on his poor record in the series

65th over: England 208-1 (Cook 133, Trott 16)

Trott dabs a single via midwicket. Shot playing is being reined in now as the England pair have their sights firmly set on the close of play.

66th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

The life's gone out of this one. Is it worth shaking hands on the day now England aren't playing any shots, India's body language suggests they've had enough for the day.

67th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. That's a maiden.

68th over: England 209-1 (Cook 133, Trott 17)

You can read more on Alastair Cook's batting heroics today right here. As for the action out in the middle Well, erm, there isn't any, really. Maiden.

69th over: England 210-1 (Cook 133, Trott 18)

Trott pushes to midwicket and England snaffle a single. Sends my heart a-flutter, been a while since England scored four overs left in the day.

70th over: England 212-1 (Cook 134, Trott 19)

Another couple of singles added to the tally in the fag end of what has been a thoroughly successful day for England. The defeat in Ahmedabad seems like a lifetime ago just now.

71st over: England 214-1 (Cook 135, Trott 20)

Final throw of the dice today for MS Dhoni who asks Zaheer Khan to come back in and tried to 'do a Jimmy'. And by that, I mean take a late wicket in the dregs of the day, not the rhyming slang Jimmy Riddle (you can work it out for yourself). Nowt doing, though, three singles from the over.

72nd over: England 214-1 (Cook 135, Trott 20)

The penultimate over of the day starts after a lengthy break for the England pair to take on some fluids. Trott blocks/shoulder arms the life out of the over from Ishant Sharma. Maiden.

73rd over: England 216-1 (Cook 136, Trott 22)

Cook dabs a single to mid-off, Trott angles one to third man and that – my good friends – is stumps.

STUMPS: England are 216-1

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.

Will Maroaune Fellaini stay at Everton?

Everton face fight to keep Fellaini from clutches of Chelsea and PSG

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UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 11 November 2012

The momentum keeps building and a reputation keeps burgeoning. Everton’s Champions League pursuit continues apace but their talisman’s form could lead to another chase entirely.

Plaudits have been flowing for Maroaune Fellaini all season and they were many singing his praises again following his inspirational second half performance against Sunderland that helped turn a 1-0 deficit into a significant 2-1 win. Vanquished manager Martin O’Neill called him a 'proper player'.

Yet for all that David Moyes was thrilled Fellaini, whom he feels will mature into a marauding presence similar to Patrick Vieira, Everton's manager is aware the Belgian’s form will not have gone unnoticed to a wider audience.

Main man: Marouane Fellaini (centre) has attracted the attention of bigger clubs

Main man: Marouane Fellaini (centre) has attracted the attention of bigger clubs

England watch

PHIL JAGIELKA – Set the tone for Everton with a series of crucial interceptions and blocks; enters Sweden game in excellent form.

LEIGHTON BAINES – Some excellent passing and great energy but appeared to be carrying an injury in the second half.

LEON OSMAN – Involved in both Everton’s goals and his passing at times was outstanding. Deserves to play at some point in Sweden.

Fellaini has suitors around Europe – Chelsea and Paris St Germain showed an interest in the summer – and his talents would clearly fit neatly in many teams. Moyes, however, believes the prospect of leading Everton into the top four will render interest in him futile.

‘Everybody knows where he is and if they want to come and watch him that's up to them,’ said Moyes, whose side retained fourth place after goals from Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic cancelled out Adam Johnson’s strike.

‘It would be a big price on his head but we've got no problem in people coming and watching him. I'm not in the mood now to keep the fight going all the time because we've had to do it with a lot of players. We’ve sold some big ones but the club will always be bigger than any player, any manager.

‘But Felli knows what I think and I know what he thinks and I think more than anything he'd love to take Everton into the Champions League and that's what we'll try and achieve.’

In fine form: Fellaini helped Everton beat Sunderland on Saturday

In fine form: Fellaini helped Everton beat Sunderland on Saturday

So can they finish fourth come May They will certainly be thereabouts. Everton’s football is vibrant but the win over a Sunderland side that O’Neill felt were desperately unfortunate showed their appetite to scrap remains insatiable.

‘We are an expansive team and I suppose we have conceded more chances than we have done in previous years,’ said Leighton Baines. ‘But we kept going when it was difficult and we got what we deserved in the end with perseverance.

‘The style might be changing but one thing you are never going to lose from an Everton is that spirit. That was a massive win. We had four draws coming into this and following it with a defeat would have changed the whole complexion. It was pleasing to grind it out.’

Top man: David Moyes continues to impress as Everton's boss

Top man: David Moyes continues to impress as Everton's boss

That Everton were able to grind it out owed as much to Sunderland’s profligacy as it did their tenacity. Had Stephan Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher showed greater poise in the opening exchanges the deficit they faced after Johnson’s goal would have been insurmountable.

‘Those were clear cut chances and I don't think Everton could have complained if we had been 3-0 up at half-time,’ said O’Neill. ‘But we will turn it around and the players ironically will have taken a lot of confidence from that. Some players have come back to form and that is important.

‘We lost a game against what I consider a very, very strong outfit. But we will come back. We should have won this game and we didn't. I don't think it is to do with balance. I think rather than drawing a statistic from, my own view is that we were unlucky.’

Lukas Podolski wants to win Premier League title

EXCLUSIVE: Podolski eyes title charge (but Gunners could be 10 points behind by the weekend if they lose at Old Trafford)

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UPDATED:

15:40 GMT, 1 November 2012

Lukas Podolski has set his sights on landing the Premier League title, despite the fact Arsenal could be 10 points behind leaders Chelsea after this weekend's fixtures.

Podolski has made an impressive start to life in north London. His performances have rightly earned him plaudits after scoring four goals in 12 performances this season.

Having a ball: Podolski is setting his sights high in his first season at Arsenal

Having a ball: Podolski is setting his sights high in his first season at Arsenal

But the Gunners face Manchester
United at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, before the Blues head to
South Wales to face Swansea.

And if results don't go Arsenal's way, they will have fallen well behind the pace-setters at the top of the table.

He said: 'First of all, to be in the top four with Arsenal so that we qualify directly for the Champions League. That is our most important goal.

'The other goal is of course to fight for the Premier League title. You won’t have any idea of the front runners until after 15, 20 games, and obviously if you play for Arsenal, in the Premier League, there is only one goal, to be among the frontrunners for the title and that is what we are fighting for.

The Germany international also supports boss Arsene Wenger's belief that qualifying for the Champions League is a top priority for the club.

At the recent AGM, Wenger told shareholders that domestic silverware is less important than finishing in the top four.

And the former Cologne and Bayern Munich forward hopes the club can make a big impression on the competition this season.

He said: 'The goal is always to get as far as possible when you play for a top club. We have only played a couple of games, and there is still room for improvement. It’s important to get off to a good start and get out of the group.

'Then when the knock out phase starts, you have two games where it will be about all or nothing, you have to be fitter, faster, and maybe have a bit of luck to progress further.

Hit the ground running: Podolski has scored four goals in his 12 appearances for the Gunners this seasonground r

Hit the ground running: Podolski has scored four goals in his 12 appearances for the Gunners this season

Hit the ground running: Podolski has scored four goals in his 11 appearances for the Gunners this season

Podolski the goal machine…

2002-2006 Cologne
Appearances: 87 Goals: 51

2006-2009 B Munich
Appearances: 108 Goals: 26

2009-2012 Cologne
Appearances: 96 Goals: 35

2012- Arsenal
Appearances: 12 Goals: 4

And for Germany…
Caps: 105 Goals: 44

'I hope that we will get very far this season.'

Podolski already looks comfortable with life in the Premier League and has conceded the English top flight is of a better quality than the one in Germany.

He said: 'I think the Bundesliga can hold its own, but you realised in my first game that the level is a different one.

'Like Germany, the stadiums are always full in England and there are many new stadiums.

'I would say that overall the level appears to be a bit better and I am delighted that I took this step and that I can play at this level.'

Testing times: The former Cologne striker feels the English top flight is better than the Bundesliga

Testing times: The former Cologne striker feels the English top flight is better than the Bundesliga

VIDEO: Podolski predicts bright future at Arsenal

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Indian Grand Prix 2012: Fernando Alonso earns praise

Vettel wins in India but Alonso takes plaudits to keep title challenge alive

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

Hands up, we British journalists did our share of turning Fernando Alonso into a pantomime villain when he and Lewis Hamilton spent a vicious year together at McLaren.

Team-mates Hardly. Alonso, rattled by his upstart rival, was full of tantrums and truculence. So he deserved most of this approbation he got. But today we can lavish him with praise.

No, Ferrari’s honoured son did not win Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel, in serene command of his superior Red Bull, did that, opening up his lead at the top of the championship to 13 points with three races remaining. But Alonso, the runner-up, is surely still the man who deserves the world title.

Main man: Fernando Alonso celebrates finishing second in the Indian Grand Prix

Main man: Fernando Alonso celebrates finishing second in the Indian Grand Prix

Some in the sport argue that whoever wins the championship is inevitably the best driver. Not always. Vettel’s car, designed by the master, Adrian Newey, is clearly the fastest. A measure of that is that Red Bull have locked out the front row of the grid in the last three qualifying sessions.

So once Vettel had navigated the first corner in the lead on Sunday, he had a clear road to victory. The German accomplished the feat faultlessly, making him the first driver since Ayrton Senna in 1989 to lead every lap for three consecutive races.

No 1: Sebastian Vettel won again

No 1: Sebastian Vettel won again

Vettel is a brilliant driver but the
argument for Alonso is simply that he is surpassing the equipment he is
sitting in with a skill and tenacity currently unmatched. Those
qualities took him up the field from sixth on the grid — a reflection of
Ferrari’s true one-lap pace.

He wrestled his way past both British drivers and zipped by Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, who was suffering from an intermittent KERS system that finally stopped working altogether and meant he finished third.

What is at stake is important. Both Vettel and Alonso are double world champions in search of the third title that confers legendary status.

Another rightful rival for the laurels of their era, Lewis Hamilton, the British driver Alonso recently credited with being able to win races in a sub-standard car, made his views clear.

‘It’s not for me to say but if I was watching TV I think this year Fernando has driven so well; more so than anyone else here,’ said the McLaren man, whose fourth, a place ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, means he must win the last three races to stand even a theoretical chance of the title.

‘Sebastian has stepped up a lot at the end of the year with the improvements on his car. But Fernando is still pushing. Today he just drove phenomenally well and he’s holding on, still. For me, he really is a three or four-time world champion.’

So what are we to make of stories that Vettel has agreed to join Ferrari for 2014 ‘Bull**** on the BBC website,’ said Vettel’s team principal, Christian Horner. Vettel also used the bovine and manure terminology.

Fighting back: Alonso overtook both McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in India

Fighting back: Alonso overtook both McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in India

One theory says that Vettel is going nowhere: Ferrari favour an outright No 1 driver and Alonso is that man.

Yet the source in this instance is Italian and so far impeccable in such matters. Sportsmail sources suggest Vettel has signed some sort of agreement, with ifs and buts.

For now Alonso, though trailing in the table, is Ferrari’s jewel in the smog.

Indian Grand Prix