Tag Archives: scoreboard

Image article-2274222-175FC3E5000005DC-852_634x565.jpg

Cricket: England lose to New Zealand in final Twenty20 warm-up match

Dernbach the weak link as England sink in final Twenty20 warm-up match

By
Paul Newman

PUBLISHED:

06:40 GMT, 6 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 7 February 2013

SCOREBOARD

New Zealand 171-7 (Latham 64, Devcich 33)

England 170-5 (Morgan 51, Buttler 51)

New Zealand win by 1 run

Click here to see the full scoreboard

England received a second welcome fillip from their captain but have concerns about the man earmarked to bowl at the death in their Twenty20 series against New Zealand.

Another encouraging display from Stuart Broad in Whangarei was more important than defeat by a New Zealand XI in the second of England’s two warm-up games ahead of Saturday’s first Twenty20 international in Auckland.

Plenty to ponder: Stuart Broad looks on after his England side fall to defeat against New Zealand XI at the Cobham Oval

Plenty to ponder: Stuart Broad looks on after his England side fall to defeat against New Zealand XI at the Cobham Oval

Yet England must decide if they
retain faith in Jade Dernbach’s ability to exert control with his myriad
of variations when the tour’s serious business begins.

Broad followed his hat-trick in
England’s opening victory with another three wickets and conceded only
24 runs in his four overs as England slipped to a last-ball three-wicket
defeat against a young New Zealand side.

But Dernbach, who suffered a
miserable one-day tour of India and lost his place in the 50-over squad
for the three matches that follow the short-form series in New Zealand,
was again expensive, going at close to 10 an over.

Batter up: New Zealand XI's Tom Latham strikes on his way to the game's high score of 64 as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler looks on

Batter up: New Zealand XI's Tom Latham strikes on his way to the game's high score of 64 as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler looks on

Nifty fifty: Eoin Morgan impressed with a half century but his effort of 51 was not enough to save England from defeat

Nifty fifty: Eoin Morgan impressed with a half century but his effort of 51 was not enough to save England from defeat

At least Dernbach clawed back some
credit in a final over which almost clinched an unlikely win for
England, Andrew Ellis eventually hitting the winning run off the final
ball.

Broad arrived in New Zealand complete
with new cushioned bowling boots to help protect the damaged left heel
that forced him to return home early before Christmas from England’s
Test tour of India.

It is the latest in a long line of
injuries for one of England’s most important players and the Twenty20
captain will be pleased that he has been so effective and pain-free in
his first two outings of a crucial tour for him.

Fall guy: Alex Hales reacts with disappointment after being dismissed Matt Henry

Fall guy: Alex Hales reacts with disappointment after being dismissed Matt Henry

Up top: New Zealand XI captain Andrew Ellis celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Luke Wright

Up top: New Zealand XI captain Andrew Ellis celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of Luke Wright

England will be enthused by another
half-century from Jos Buttler who hit 51 from 31 balls in a partnership
of 87 in 8.2 overs with Eoin Morgan that took England to 170 for five
from their 20 overs.

But England’s bowling was
disappointing and Tom Latham looked to be leading New Zealand to a
comfortable victory when he struck 64 off 38 balls.

Broad and Samit Patel, who conceded
just 20 runs, brought England back into the game and they made the home
side work hard for a win that emphasised that the short-form series
should prove a close affair.

‘I think it will be tight against New
Zealand,’ said England’s Michael Lumb, who ran into form at the top of
the order with 45. ‘A lot of people have written them off but it would
be foolish to do that.’

Up in arms: Jade Dernbach unsuccessfully appeals for the wicket of Anton Devcich as England were denied a late fightback

Up in arms: Jade Dernbach unsuccessfully appeals for the wicket of Anton Devcich as England were denied a late fightback

Image article-0-1491BE7C000005DC-584_468x333.jpg

After Kevin Pietersen saga, Andrew Strauss gets the start he merits, Nasser Hussain

Centurion Strauss gets the start he merits

|

UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 16 August 2012

This was the sort of day Andrew Strauss needed and deserved. The build-up to this match should have been about him and his 100th Test, but he had the limelight taken away for obvious reasons, so he was due the luck he had when he lost the toss.

The England captain didn’t know what to do for the best if he had won it. I reckon he must have looked at the wicket four times during the course of the morning: firstly when it looked a bit green and the weather was cloudy; but then at 10am with Jimmy Anderson when the sun was shining and the pitch suddenly looked white.

A good toss to lose: England reacted brilliantly after being asked to bowl

A good toss to lose: England reacted brilliantly after being asked to bowl

It reminded me of the 1999 Test here against New Zealand when I decided to bat in glorious conditions but then saw it cloud over by 11am. We had to face the music with three lights on the old scoreboard. We were bowled out for 186.

Strauss would probably have batted if he had won it, but it turned out to be a good toss to lose because, even though there was not extravagant movement, there was a bit in it for the England bowlers. The day went well for them, particularly in the morning session.

Anderson was brilliant and Steven Finn, a good and brave selection, took three wickets before lunch without looking at his best.

Dangerman: Steven Finn removed Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis

Dangerman: Steven Finn removed Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis

It was very important that England made a good start because, by lunchtime, all the talk had turned from the man who is not here to those 11 who are playing for England.

The players looked almost visibly relieved that they were playing again, pleased to be out there trying to win a Test. A weight did seem to have been lifted from their shoulders.

This England side have never been about one individual — it has always been about the team, which is why the events surrounding Kevin Pietersen have been so strange.

Centurion: England played for their captain on his landmark day

Centurion: England played for their captain on his landmark day

It could easily have been the other way round if South Africa had bowled first — and we might all still have been talking about Pietersen and asking whether he would have made a difference.

England might well still be in need of Pietersen’s runs by the end of the game but for now that can wait. They have made a good start and, for that, I am delighted for their captain.

Image article-2187940-14622ED4000005DC-532_634x432.jpg

Kevin Pietersen"s absence is great, Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn: Pietersen's absence is great for us, but England will miss him

|

UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 13 August 2012

I’m afraid I cannot say anything about the circumstances surrounding Kevin Pietersen’s absence from the England team this week, but what I can talk about was having to bowl at him when he made that fantastic century at Headingley.

It’s a great challenge bowling to batsmen when they are playing like that and it was clear Kevin wanted to get after me and take me on.

I always felt I had a chance of getting him but he rode his luck and then it was a case of looking up at the scoreboard after he had played 10 shots and seeing he was already on 40.

It was an exciting passage of play, a great innings and I’m sure it was brilliant to watch. KP is a top player and he will definitely be missed by England this week.

In fine fettle: Kevin Pietersen flayed the South Africa attack on his way to 149

In fine fettle: Kevin Pietersen flayed the South Africa attack on his way to 149

The right way

We’ve been talking about how we want to play the game in the right way for a long time, so I think the way we went about our cricket on the last day in Leeds says much about how we want to go about our business.

There had been a bit of weather around and both teams had traded a few punches but we looked at things on the last day and said, ‘Let’s go for it’.

Yes, perhaps we gave England a chance of winning with the timing of our declaration just after tea but I would rather us be remembered for being positive and doing what is best for Test cricket.

Setting the pace

We wanted to be positive and England responded in the same way by opening their innings with KP on that final afternoon.

We always thought we could take 10 wickets and win that game to put the series beyond England’s reach and Graeme Smith threw me the ball and asked me to make something happen during that stand between Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott.

I think I have bowled quite nicely in this series so far but there are times when you really have to crank it up and this was one of them. That, I think, was the fastest I’ve bowled in the series so far but for some reason the speed gun didn’t really reflect that.

I was thinking at times, ‘Geez, that was quick’, and I was looking round and it said 83 or 84 miles per hour. It was like, ‘Come on guys’.

Speed machine: Steyn celebrates the wicket of Andrew Strauss

Speed machine: Steyn celebrates taking the wicket of Andrew Strauss

Olympic spirit

After the second Test I realised I might never be so close to an Olympic Games again and fortunately I was given the chance of making the most of it by visiting the Athletes’ Village in London and watching some volleyball and basketball. It was really cool. The whole atmosphere was incredible.

Crunch time

Under examination: Jonny Bairstow

Under examination: Jonny Bairstow

I’m
really, really excited to be heading to Lord’s this week for the final
Test. It’s as our coach Gary Kirsten said to us — this time next week we
could be celebrating being the best Test team in the world. It hits
you hard when you hear something like that. It’s what we’ve been working
for and planning towards.

Absent friends

KP will not be easily replaced by England but we will respect any opponent we come up against. It is as I said before the series, every wicket means just as much from numbers one to 11 and everybody on the England side will be treated the same by us.

We don’t take anyone lightly and we will be doing our analysis on Jonny Bairstow as we did on James Taylor before him.

Our analyst has been telling me with a
smile that Bairstow had problems against the short ball against the
West Indies and fast bowling is one of the strengths of our side so he
will receive a testing examination. But that doesn’t mean to say he will
be getting any more bouncers than anybody else.

This is a big match. The stakes are high. We will be giving it our best shot.

Image article-0-147123D9000005DC-181_634x428.jpg

London 2012 Olympics: Nicola Adams into flyweight boxing final

Adams to fight for another British gold after beating Kom to reach flyweight boxing final

|

UPDATED:

13:19 GMT, 8 August 2012

Nicola Adams will fight old foe Ren Cancan of China for the women's flyweight gold medal on Thursday after getting the better of five-time world champion Mary Kom in their semi-final at ExCeL.

After both fighters were roared to the ring, Indian superstar Kom went straight on the offensive, but the early moments were messy as the Indian sought to muscle up close and was repelled by the much bigger Adams.

The Briton's major reach advantage helped her score with a pair of left jabs, but Kom made light of the size discrepancy by landing a right hand of her own as Adams took the opening round 3-1 on the scoreboard.

Adams continued to box smartly in the second, two big right uppercuts helping her stretch her lead by a further point to 5-2 at the halfway stage, and wobbled Kom with a left in the third as the Indian was forced to be less cautious.

Adams took an 8-4 lead into the last round, and Kom admirably kept searching for a way through until the dying moments, but Adams was too clever to let her big chance slip and saw the fight out for a comprehensive 11-6 win.

Packs a punch: Great Britain's Nicola Adams (right) competes against India's Mary Kom

Packs a punch: Great Britain's Nicola Adams (right) competes against India's Mary Kom

Moment to savour: Adams (left) is declared the winner over Kom at the ExCel Arena

Moment to savour: Adams (left) is declared the winner over Kom at the ExCel Arena

Close call: Indian superstar Kom (right) gets to grips with British fighter Adams

Close call: Indian superstar Kom (right) gets to grips with British fighter Adams

In the crowd: Prime Minister David Cameron (left) watched the fight alongside former world champion Amir Khan

In the crowd: Prime Minister David Cameron (left) watched the fight alongside former world champion Amir Khan

Image article-0-14664C53000005DC-597_964x605.jpg

Usain Bolt wins 100m final at London 2012 Olympics

Bolt proves he is the fastest man on earth again as Jamaican superstar beats rival Blake to 100m gold at London Olympics

|

UPDATED:

20:56 GMT, 5 August 2012

Usain Bolt has won the gold medal in the men's 100m at the London Olympic Games after winning the final in 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record.

Bolt's Jamaican training partner and biggest rival, Yohan Blake, claimed the silver medal and former Olymipc champion Justin Gatlin won the bronze.

Bolt's victory was the second-fastest 100m run in history, behind his world record time of 9.58 secs, set in at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009.

More to follow.

Cruise control: Usain Bolt (right) wins his 100m semi-final ahead of Britain's Dwain Chambers (left)

Cruise control: Usain Bolt (right) wins his 100m semi-final ahead of Britain's Dwain Chambers (left)

Plenty left in the tank: Bolt crosses the finishing line in a time of 9.87 secs in the second 100m semi-final

Plenty left in the tank: Bolt crosses the finishing line in a time of 9.87 secs in the second 100m semi-final

Not quite enough: British sprinter Dwain Chambers looks in vain at the scoreboard after his race

Not quite enough: British sprinter Dwain Chambers looks in vain at the scoreboard after his race

Rising star: Gemili (centre) proved he has a bright future after just missing out on the final

Rising star: Gemili (centre) proved he has a bright future after just missing out on the final

Fastest of all: American Justin Gatlin (right) qualified fastest for the final in 9.82secs

Fastest of all: American Justin Gatlin (right) qualified fastest for the final in 9.82secs

Ever the showman: Jamaican superstar Bolt plays up for the crowd in London ahead of his race

Ever the showman: Jamaican superstar Bolt plays up for the crowd in London ahead of his race

Image article-2165989-13D4C33D000005DC-280_468x330.jpg

Wimbledon 2012: Anne Keothavong knocked out by Sara Errani

British No 1 Keothavong turfed out by French Open finalist Errani

|

UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 28 June 2012

British No 1 Anne Keothavong failed to emulate Heather Watson as she crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round to French Open finalist Sara Errani.

Watson became the first British woman in 10 years to reach the third round when she beat Jamie Hampton, and she could yet overtake Keothavong in the rankings if she upsets third seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Errani is having by far the best season of her career but is much more at home on clay than grass, and there was some optimism Keothavong might be able to push her.

Beaten: Anne Keothavong was beaten by the French Open finalist

Beaten: Anne Keothavong was beaten by the French Open finalist

However, the 28-year-old began very nervously, with a second serve in the opening game that was closer to the baseline than the service line, and she did not get on the scoreboard until the fifth game.

Errani was playing well, keeping the ball close to the lines and troubling Keothavong with her use of the drop shot – one of the keys to her French Open success.

The second set was slightly less one-sided. Keothavong was broken in the fourth game but had two chances to break straight back, only for Errani to find the line both times.

When the Italian broke again to lead 5-1, it was all but over, and she confidently held serve to triumph 6-1 6-1 and move through to a third-round meeting with Yaroslava Shvedova or Kiki Bertens.

Winner: Sara Errani is through to round three

Winner: Sara Errani is through to round three

Keothavong at least has the consolation of knowing she will be back at the All England Club in a month's time after being given a wild card for the women's singles at the Olympics.

More to follow.

Image article-0-11AFBFE5000005DC-597_468x306.jpg

SIX NATIONS 2012: Stuart Lancaster hails England resolve after Rome win

Lancaster hails England resolve after narrow victory in Rome

England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster was proud of the resolve his side showed in bouncing back from a 'mad five minutes' to beat Italy 19-15 in freezing Rome.

The Azzurri scored two tries in as many minutes at the end of the first half after mistakes from England full-back Ben Foden first let in Giovanbattista Venditti and then Tomasso Benvenuti.

Italy edged further ahead with a Kristopher Burton penalty before England fly-half Charlie Hodgson scored his second charge-down try in as many weeks.

Reasons to be cheerful: Charlie Hodgson celebrates after scoring England's try in Rome

Reasons to be cheerful: Charlie Hodgson celebrates after scoring England's try in Rome

Owen Farrell kicked England to victory with a perfect display, landing four penalties and a tough conversion.

'We are delighted to get the win. We started well but then had a mad five minutes and came in down at half-time,' Lancaster said.

'The most pleasing thing from that point of view was there was no sense of panic.'

Addressing what changed after the break, Lancaster said: 'We felt there were one or two areas to work on, particularly trying to move the ball, get the ball to the 10 early and get more intensity and tempo in the game.

'We were pleased to do that in the second half and delighted by the contribution the bench made. I thought Lee Dickson and Ben Morgan made a great impact.

'Owen (Farrell) was fantastic in terms of his temperament and his ability to step up and take those kicks, which kept our scoreboard ticking on.

'We talked during the week about trying to increase the tempo and intensity in the game.

'I thought Italy played extremely well and put us under a lot of pressure. They were very difficult conditions to play in.

'Overall we are pleased to get the win and looking forward to getting to Twickenham to play Wales in two weeks' time.

'Our aim is to improve week on week. It was probably less than three weeks ago we met as a group and started training together.

'We are still building and learning as we go. There will be a lot to take out of this performance and review.'

Snow joke in Rome: Tommaso Benvenuti is tackled by Owen Farrell

Snow joke in Rome: Tommaso Benvenuti is tackled by Owen Farrell

The best part of England's performance was in the scrum, where the likes of Alex Corbisiero and Dan Cole enjoyed impressive games against Italy's much-vaunted pack.

'The contest was everything we expected. We got some key possession and key penalties in the scrum,' said England's forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

But Rowntree conceded England's first-half lineout wobbles and their breakdown work are areas that must be improved on before the Wales game.

'Overall I look at our breakdown and the lineout and we have lot to work on to give better ball to the backs,' Rowntree said.

Hodgson is developing a nickname of 'Chargedown Charlie' after he blocked kicks from Scotland fly-half Dan Parks last week and now Andrea Masi, to score crucial tries.

'I just try my best to get to the kicker and put pressure on him. It is not so much about practicing, you just have to go for it and hope for the best,' Hodgson said.

'To come back from 15-6 down and be successful shows what resolve we have.'

Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni suffered a fractured rib during the first half and is expected to miss the rest of the Six Nations championship.

'It will be difficult for him to recover in time,' said coach Jacques Brunel.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse was frustrated his side could not close out a first Test victory over 'a poor England side'.

Image article-0-117F4F8B000005DC-933_468x286.jpg

The best team in the world do not get bowled out for 72, mate. Ever! – Martin Samuel

The best team in the world do not get bowled out for 72, mate. Ever!

Abdur Rehman placed the magic number at 150. His captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, made it even less: 130, he said, maybe even 120. So the question remains: if England are the best Test team in the world, how come Pakistan thought it would only take an indoor cricket total to beat them

Cricket is a game of numbers. Test victories are usually measured in scores of 500 or more; around 300 is considered reasonable for a one-day game, 200 should get you through in Twenty20, but 145 That would be the target for a decent indoor team. That is school gym cricket.

There are tens of thousands playing indoor cricket in England these days — hundreds of thousands in Australia where the game originated — and probably a fair few tragics and kids were in action on Saturday morning, while England sweated coldly in the desert sun.

Disappointment: England were terrible

Disappointment: England were terrible

Given the state of play, they would have rushed home expecting to see England level this Test series with Pakistan. The indoor game only lasts 12 overs each side so doesn’t take much more than 90 minutes. Sadly, Pakistan didn’t need much longer in Abu Dhabi, either. Commencing batting after lunch and completing their innings after tea, England were as good as dismissed in a single session.

Indoor cricket teams bat for 12 overs, so 120 is regarded as a fair score, but a good team looks for more. The game helps teach young batsmen to keep the scoreboard ticking along, which is pretty much all England had to do: 145 to get, best part of five sessions remaining, just keep it moving, don’t freeze, no risks, no rush.

There has only been one occasion since 1902 when England were set such a paltry total to win and failed.

More from Martin Samuel…

Martin Samuel: Not the Tiger of old… but he is still the man
29/01/12

Martin Samuel: Crowd got in free but they paid in noise
27/01/12

Our anthem isn’t nearly posh enough
26/01/12

Martin Samuel: It's a bright start but Ajmal casts a shadow
25/01/12

Martin Samuel: Here comes the Tiger, kicking up a sand storm in Abu Dhabi
24/01/12

EXCLUSIVE: In the lair of Diego! Maradona speaks to Martin Samuel at his new home in Dubai
23/01/12

Martin Samuel: AVB can only plan long term if Roman sees sense
22/01/12

Martin Samuel: Tough at the top for England, but not this tough…
19/01/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Yet from the start, Misbah and his players smelled trouble. They stared down the alleged best Test team in the world and detected uncertainty, even panic. They became convinced England would have a problem with just 145. And they were right.

Technically, England remain the best right now, but nobody is fooled. That particular title contains greater complexity than mere numerical process.

There is a purely mathematical claim to supremacy, as devised by earnest types with notebooks and computers at the ICC. England lead that table with 125 points, South Africa next on 117. Then there is justification as exists in the real world, when cricket lovers gather to discuss the finer points of the game.

It is in this unquantifiable arena that England’s status has taken a hit.

It will be a long time before England’s cricketers are taken seriously as world champions again; a long time before they shrug off the charge of false representation since being so devastatingly humiliated by a Pakistan team still in recovery from the spot-fixing scandal.

It was Australia captain Steve Waugh who dubbed Asia the final frontier.

For any side with pretensions towards global dominance it must be conquered. England’s cricketers may have a piece of paper with their name in capitals at the top but its boast now rings hollow. Andrew Strauss, England’s captain, supported Waugh’s view of Asia before this tour departed.

He regards Saturday’s capitulation — England’s poorest score against Pakistan, 72 — as the low point of his career.

A debacle in the desert, a disaster amid the dunes, has unfolded.

The Zayed Cricket Stadium wicket turned, but not with spectacular ferocity. The precedent for England is a collapse to 64 all out when needing 137 to win against New Zealand in Wellington in 1978. Yet this was worse.

Poor: Alastair Cook could not settle

Poor: Alastair Cook could not settle

Conqueror: Pakistan's Abdur Rehman helped put supposedly the world's best Test team out

Conqueror: Pakistan's Abdur Rehman helped put supposedly the world's best Test team out

This was The Best Team In The World falling in a dishevelled heap at the first hint of pressure; this was The Best Team In The World turning back the clock to the days when English cricket was synonymous with ineffectuality and crippling self-doubt; this was The Best Team In The World undoing years of improvement before increasingly disbelieving eyes.

There never was an open-top bus tour to celebrate English cricket’s ascent to the pinnacle of the sport, and it was probably just as well. Any England follower seeing a bus in Abu Dhabi would probably have wished to dive under it.

The Barmy Army are so called because there was a time when you had to be mad to stay devoted to England. Not recently.

As the footballers faltered and the rugby players went a-rollicking, English cricket reigned supreme, our shining, sublime star. Yet trooping away from this stadium oasis, a day earlier than anticipated, it must have felt as if the last three years, those Ashes wins home and away, the demolition of India last summer, were a mirage. English cricket had never left the wilderness, really. We were merely sand blind, half insane and hallucinating as we imagined our team at the apex of their sport.

It could not have been the same group that surrendered so meekly here. It could not.

The ICC introduced official Test rankings in June 2003 but, using the same method of calculation, Australia were the No 1 team in the world unofficially from September 2001, and held the title until July 2009.

It was in that period that Waugh cited Asia as the true measure of resilience and greatness, and between those dates Australia lost a single Test series on the sub-continent, in India in 2008.

They won three straight Tests in Sri Lanka, they won in Bangladesh, they won 2-1 in a four-Test series in India in 2004. Nobody questioned Australia.

Red hot: Saeed Ajmal is hard to handle

Red hot: Saeed Ajmal is hard to handle

/01/29/article-0-117F6073000005DC-814_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Vulnerable: Kevin Pieterson is susceptible to left-arm spin ” class=”blkBorder” />

Vulnerable: Kevin Pieterson is susceptible to left-arm spin

The captain, Strauss, is no less vulnerable and in need of a substantial score. Matt Prior is the best player of spin in the world, according to Pietersen. Not here he hasn’t been. Australia were lightly raced in Asia during their time at the top, and England have three visits to the continent in this calendar year.

Nobody said it would not be tough.

Indeed, the bowlers have acquitted themselves well and put England into a strong winning position on day four.

It is not as if the challenge should have been beyond a group of batsmen with such magnificent pre-tour billing.

Pakistan’s spinners are good, but cannot summon such terrifying ability overnight. Rehman is a 31-year-old left-armer with 14 Tests’ experience, whose previous best figures were 4-51 against Bangladesh. He took 6-25 in the second innings.

Ajmal has now become the quickest bowler to 100 wickets in Pakistan history, having collected 17 victims in four innings against England. The same number of bowling opportunities yielded nine against Bangladesh recently.

Hopeless: England's batsmen could not cope with Rehman and Ajmal

Hopeless: England's batsmen could not cope with Rehman and Ajmal

England’s batsmen looked as hopelessly lost as when crumbling to 51 all out in Jamaica in 2009. That side, however, was crawling from the wreckage of the fall-out between former captain Pietersen and coach Peter Moores. Andy Flower was no more than a caretaker coach and there were fears for team strength and spirit after such a fractious episode. When the collapse came, it seemed an accident waiting to happen.

Nothing of such gloomy significance was expected here.

Yes, Pakistan’s mercurial nature suggests they should be afforded respect, but not to this extent.

When Australia finally lost in Asia it was to a fine Indian side, soon to be No 1 themselves, and they drew two of those four Tests. There was no equivalent capitulation: Australia’s lowest score was a fourth-innings 195 to lose in Mohali.

The Best Team In The World do not get bowled out for 72, mate. Ever.

The presumption will be that England have become too cocky, that they have arrived in Asia expecting just to check in and win. If anything, it is the opposite. England played on Saturday with a crippling sense of caution.

They scored so slowly it was as if the batsmen were waiting to be picked off.

They played like a team who could not possibly believe they were the world’s No 1: a view now shared by many, including, most worryingly, the Pakistan team they face for a third time in Dubai next week.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT

Rio Ferdinand – Lord Twitter of Peckham

Last summer, Rio Ferdinand sent a friend of mine a direct message, via Twitter. It wasn’t very nice. ‘U fat p****,’ it began. My friend, being a journalist, made its contents public. Ferdinand got even angrier.

Revealing the contents of a private message is an affront to Twitter etiquette, apparently. Ferdinand came across like an 140-character Debrett’s. Lord Twitter of Peckham. You’d think he had invented the medium, really you would.

This is interesting again only because Ferdinand is one of the celebrity names under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading for using his Twitter account to place advertisements, without warning. Ferdinand sent a succession of cryptic tweets about a new-found interest in knitting, culminating in a picture of a Snickers bar and the tagline: ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry.’

Got a lot to say: Rio Ferdinand is a heavy user of Twitter

Got a lot to say: Rio Ferdinand is a heavy user of Twitter

‘Online advertising and marketing practices that do not disclose paid-for promotions are deceptive under trading laws,’ said an OFT spokesman. Sir Ian Botham is another embroiled in the row. The word is he was paid 15,000 for his tweets about learning to play the cello.

We do not know whether Ferdinand was similarly rewarded but, either way, it is confusing that he is willing to treat his precious tweets like a giant corporate cash cow. Obviously, though, he will reserve the right to continue judging any of his flock that eat too much chocolate and become fat. He’s very principled that way.

Tevez wrong to blame Mancini

Recalling the reasons for the conflict between Carlos Tevez and Manchester City has the same effect as one of those brain training exercises designed to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Was it his wife, was it Roberto Mancini, was it Garry Cook Maybe it was Roberto Mancini’s wife, or maybe Roberto Mancini’s cook. Maybe Mancini’s wife wouldn’t cook and that was why Tevez had to leave Manchester and move to Milan to be nearer Argentina; or something like that.

Getting all the mitigations in the right order is such a fantastic mental workout that even if you’ve got the body of Tutankhamun in later life, you’ll have the IQ of a Cambridge honours graduate.

Not missed: Carlos Tevez will not be missed in the Premier League

Not missed: Carlos Tevez will not be missed in the Premier League

Presenting an increasingly risible figure, Tevez’s adviser Kia Joorabchian now insists the whole affair is the fault of City manager Mancini, as if there would have been any question of this impasse if Tevez had not behaved like an insolent child during the match with Bayern Munich and at just about all times subsequently.

Throughout, the Tevez camp has underestimated City’s resolve, their support for the manager and the utter revulsion of the public at this extreme demonstration of player power.

Flouncing off to Buenos Aires and the ensuing brinkmanship over the AC Milan loan deal was acutely misjudged and merely hardened City’s stance, while cementing the support of all neutrals.

Sole: Roberto Mancini is the only person genuinely sad about what has happened

Sole: Roberto Mancini is the only person genuinely sad about what has happened

Everyone who cares for football recognises City are making an important stand. There have been too many excuses advanced for Tevez, too many indulgences and too many contradictions. He has exhausted the patience of his employers, and the understanding of fans, even those with no allegiance to City.

There is a total absence of desire to see Tevez in action in the Premier League again. Most neutrals have even stronger feelings about this than Mancini.

When Tevez’s manager speaks of the rift, he seems genuinely sad; the rest couldn’t care if the player trains alone until the day his contract expires. /01/29/article-2093505-118038CA000005DC-550_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Everywhere: You could even bet on incidents between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand” class=”blkBorder” />

Everywhere: You could even bet on incidents between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand

Meanwhile, the pre-match expression of mutual respect was abandoned because the Queens Park Rangers players were planning to turn it into another media circus. Anyone else feel like stuffing their face into a cushion and screaming

More pain for Murray

No doubt after his narrow defeat by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray heard many kind words. It was only a matter of time, he was getting closer, in any other era he would be great, he was still young, this could be his year.

And, no doubt, Murray smiled wanly, while inside felt like screaming and smashing the place to bits. And after that, I would not blame him if he did.

Frustration: Andy Murray could be forgiven for getting angry

Frustration: Andy Murray could be forgiven for getting angry

Image article-2089896-1165611A000005DC-797_468x303.jpg

Leicester 33 Aironi 6: Tigers tame Italians but bow out of Europe

Leicester 33 Aironi 6: Tigers tame Italians but bow out of Europe

Leicester's disappointing European
campaign came to an end with a comfortable but far from convincing 33-6
win over a battling Aironi at Welford Road.

Clermont's narrow home win over Ulster ensured the Tigers finished in 3rd place in Pool 4.

Forwards Thomas Waldrom and Ed Slater
were the star performers to ensure the Tigers had plentiful possession
but without half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs and centre Manu
Tuilagi, the hosts had considerable difficulty in breaking down a
stubborn Italian defence.

Geordan crossing: Murphy breaks away to score a try

Geordan crossing: Murphy breaks away to score a try

They led only 9-6 at the end of a desperately poor first half but with wind advantage in the second half the Tigers upped their game, scoring four tries to ensure Aironi finished pointless in the group, having conceded a massive 274 points in their six pool games.

The Tigers dominated the opening 10 minutes, choosing not to take two kickable penalties in favour of more attacking options, but careless handling prevented them from collecting any points.

Young and the restless: Micky Young surveys the scrum

Young and the restless: Micky Young surveys the scrum

Against the run of play, Aironi had the first chance for points and Naas Olivier made no mistake with his 50-metre penalty to give the Italians a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Geordan Murphy, Tom Croft and Waldrom then constructed Leicester's best movement of the first half to send Alesana Tuilagi over the try line, but the score was ruled out as Croft was adjudged to have put a foot in touch.

Eventually, after 21 minutes, the Tigers got on the scoreboard when they elected to kick at goal and Billy Twelvetrees made no mistake with his 25-metre kick.

Ford focus: Tigers' George Ford scores

Ford focus: Tigers' George Ford scores

Olivier was given a chance to restore Aironi's advantage and again he was successful, this time with a wind assisted kick from 60 metres, but this was soon nullified by a second penalty from Twelvetrees.

Leicester continued to dominate the scrum, pushing Aironi back at every set piece, but still the Tigers couldn't pick up a first-half try and it was left to another penalty from Twelvetrees to give his side a 9-6 half-time lead.

Missed conversion: Billy Twelvetrees

Missed conversion: Billy Twelvetrees

Within three minutes of the restart, the Tigers finally crossed the line. From a ruck 20 metres out, a pass from Mickey Young sent Waldrom through a huge gap in the visitors' defence for the number eight to score unopposed.

Twelvetrees missed the conversion, sending his simple kick wide.

Four minutes later and Leicester were over again as the Aironi defence was now being stretched to the limit.

Two strong driving runs from Slater put the Italians on the back foot and Ben Woods was on hand for the try which Twelvetrees converted.

After 57 minutes Leicester scored their third try when Murphy dummied his way over to give his side a 26-6 lead going into the final quarter, but still poor handling in the difficult conditions continued to blight the Tigers' performance.

It took Leicester until the 71st minute to collect their bonus point when replacement George Ford displayed some neat footwork to fox the Aironi defence for a try which he also converted.

Italians mastered: Geordan Murphy celebrates his try

Italians mastered: Geordan Murphy celebrates his try

Image article-0-1163A99D000005DC-47_468x330.jpg

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012: Novak Djokovic cruises through to fourth round

Djokovic on fire as defending champion crushes Mahut to reach fourth round

Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat as he overcame Nicolas Mahut for the loss of just two games at the Australian Open.

Mahut's heavily bandaged left leg was clearly a hindrance and world number one Djokovic was in no mood to show any mercy, cantering home 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 in just an hour and 14 minutes.

Heading through: Djokovic waves to fans after his easy win

Heading through: Djokovic waves to fans after his easy win

Djokovic, the defending champion in Melbourne and also the title holder at Wimbledon and the US Open following a remarkable 2011, has not dropped a set in his three matches so far.

Indeed, he has conceded just 10 games in advancing to a fourth-round meeting with either Milos Raonic or Lleyton Hewitt.

It took Mahut, who famously lost 70-68 in the fifth set to John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, until the eighth game to get on the scoreboard.

Looking good: Djokovic in third round action in Melbourne

Looking good: Djokovic in third round action in Melbourne

The Frenchman smiled in acknowledging the cheers of the crowd, but it did not spark an improvement in his fortunes as Djokovic continued to move him around, exposing his condition.

Mahut, 30 today, kept plugging away but Djokovic eased over the line to keep his challenge firmly on track.

'Credit to him, we saw some taping around his knee and I felt sorry for him,' Djokovic said.

'Evidently he was not playing his best or moving too well but he did not want to retire from the match.'