Tag Archives: short

Lukas Podolski shares London day-trip with Twitter followers

Learning London with Podolski: Arsenal star shares day trip around capital with fans

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 12 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:25 GMT, 13 February 2013

After joining Arsenal from Cologne last summer, Gunners fans soon took to Lukas Podolski who has quickly adapted to life in the Premier League.

It isn’t just on the pitch where the striker is settling in fast though, the German international has been just as keen to soak up the London atmosphere around him.

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Stop seven: Lukas Podolski poses outside of Trafalgar Square

Stop nine: Podolski stops outside Buckingham Palace

Short trip: Podolski poses with a lion outside of Trafalgar Square before visiting Buckingham Palace, where after seeing the Royal Standard flag happily tweeted that 'the Queen is home!!!'

With Arsenal not due to play in the Champions League until next week, the 27-year-old used his spare time to go sight-seeing around the capital, including a trip to Trafalgar Square as well as nearby Buckingham Palace.

Podolski shared his day-trip around London with his Twitter followers under the hashtag #learninglondon showing his knowledge of where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married as well as recognising how the Queen was in residence.

Thumbs up: Lukas Podolski stops outside St Pauls

Stop five: Podolski tweets #weddingcakechurch

Thumbs up: Podolski gives his approval after visiting St Paul's Cathedral (left)

The German’s interest in learning about London comes just months after a video was released showing the striker taking rhyming slang lessons off former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour in a bid to help him to adapt to life in north London.

It seems to have worked so far as Podolski has been a regular feature at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 12 goals in 31 games.

Lukas Podolski's tour was the latest in a series of Learning London features the German international has filmed with Arsenal Media, available to watch on player.arsenal.com from the weekend.

John Terry is to play for Chelsea u21s on Thursday as he recovers from knee injury

Terry's back! Chelsea skipper to play in kids game in race to return from knee injury

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

14:00 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 8 January 2013

Chelsea captain John Terry is close to returning to full fitness and may play in the club’s Under 21s side on Thursday, according to manager Rafa Benitez.

Terry has been sidelined for nearly two months since injuring his knee when Chelsea drew with Liverpool.

Benitez revealed: ‘He has been training and we are considering giving him some minutes in the Under 21 game on Thursday.’

Rafael Benitez has reveled John Terry is close to a first team return

In full training: Rafael Benitez has reveled John Terry is close to a first team return

‘We will see how he feels on Thursday
and, hopefully, he can play more minutes in a short time. We will see.
But at least it's a positive thing. Before he was just doing the
warm-up, so we're obviously closer.

‘It depends on his reaction. Thursday
will be a different kind of game, but we will see how he feels. He will
train the day after and, at least then, we can start considering him an
option.’

The Chelsea manager, who is under pressure to deliver trophies for trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich after Pep Guardiola declared his readiness to return to management, also believes the competition for a starting place between strikers Demba Ba, signed at the start of the January transfer window from Newcastle, and 50million striker Fernando Torres will help get the best out of both of them.

Terry back in training in the new year

Rehabilitation: Terry back in training in the new year

The knee injury suffered by Terry has kept him out for two months

Ouch: The knee injury suffered by Terry has kept him out for two months

Benitez said: ‘They both know they have to compete, and that it’s positive for both of them to have the competition.

'It's always important for any side to have different attacking options, so it’s good to have Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, especially with so many games.’

Ahead of facing Swansea in the first leg of the Capital One cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday Benitez added: ‘We have been playing a lot of games, so it’s complicated for us to prepare at times, but in a top side it has to be like this.

Benitez will be desperate to get Terry back as soon as possible

Urgent call: Benitez will be desperate to get Terry back as soon as possible

‘Swansea are a top side, we have a lot of respect for them, it should be a good game for the fan.

‘I will try to do my best for my club and get Chelsea to the final, and win.

‘We are growing and maturing and this experience is allowing us to improve together.’

Benitez also discussed the Ballon D'or, saying: ‘We were talking about that earlier – who decides and how they vote. But maybe you're missing one or two players from this team.

‘When you talk about the Spanish league, you talk about Real Madrid and Barcelona, who are always in the CL and winning it.

‘You see those players in the list. The Premier League is a good league, very competitive, and you can lose against anyone.

‘We had a good example, unfortunately, against QPR. In Spain it's more difficult to see the difference, say, between Barcelona and Espanyol.’

David Villa will cost Arsenal 16m

EXCLUSIVE: Yours for 16m! Arsenal handed price for Villa as race with Chelsea for Barca ace hots up

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UPDATED:

01:32 GMT, 28 December 2012

Arsenal have been quoted 16million for Barcelona striker David Villa.

Sportsmail revealed manager Arsene Wenger’s interest in the 31-year-old on Saturday.

And Gunners officials have been told it will take €20million to land Spain’s record goalscorer.

On the move Arsenal have been quoted 16m if they want to bring David Villa to the Emirates

On the move Arsenal have been quoted 16m if they want to bring David Villa to the Emirates

Arsene Wenger would prefer a short-term loan for the former Valencia star, who is also a target for Chelsea, but is willing to offer a permanent move if the price is right.

However, the fee quoted by Barca is likely to be deemed too much by Arsenal because of Villa’s age.

Despite the fact he is a peripheral figure for Barcelona, the Spanish giants are not desperate to sell Villa next month.

Reinforcements needed: Summer signing Olivier Giroud needs help in front of goal

Reinforcements needed: Summer signing Olivier Giroud needs help in front of goal

They are more open to offloading him in the summer, by which time Wenger is likely to have alternative targets.

Arsenal may face a fight for the striker, however, with Chelsea also believed to be in for Villa.

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu would be delighted if his fellow Spaniard did make the switch to Stamford Bridge.

'I
don't know that Villa's situation is, but if a great player like him
comes, the record goalscorer with the national team, he would be
welcomed and we would be happy,' said Romeu, quoted as telling Spanish
radio show Esports Cope.

But Barca
midfielder Andres Iniesta hopes Villa stays put, telling reporters
today: 'I don't know if there's a chance (he could leave), I don't think
so, although for me personally I wouldn't like it if he did, because
Villa is a vital player.'

Transfer talk: Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu would be delighted if Barca striker David Villa arrived at Stamford Bridge

Transfer talk: Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu would be delighted if Barca striker David Villa arrived at Stamford Bridge

Kaymer on his magic moment: "That Ryder Cup putt? My whole career rested on it"

Kaymer on his magic moment: 'That Ryder Cup putt My whole career rested on it'

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UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 20 December 2012

In the days following the holing of the five-foot putt of a lifetime and the jubilation expressed by his Ryder Cup team-mates and Europe’s disbelieving supporters, Martin Kaymer described it as one of those putts where you feel the hero if you make it and an idiot if you do not.

But, as the days have turned to weeks and the full impact of what he achieved during Europe’s 14-13 victory has sunk in, the thoughtful German has come to look upon that short putt that realised the Miracle at Medinah in even more stark terms.

‘Now I honestly feel like my whole career might have been on the line,’ he said.

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

‘I sometimes think about what would have happened if I had missed it. Would I have had the mental strength to recover from thinking I had let down a whole continent

‘I had a similar putt to win my first major, the US PGA Championship in 2010, but the feeling was completely different.

‘If I had missed that one it would have been my own fault and I would have moved on to the next major.

‘But letting down so many people That doesn’t bear thinking about.’

The other side of the coin, of course, is the confidence that has flowed from making it.

‘Up to that point it hadn’t been a good year for me, I would have given it about a three or four at best out of 10,’ he said. ‘Then, all of a sudden, you feel a lot happier about matters. On paper you’d probably still only give the year a three or four but mentally it had suddenly gone up a few marks.’

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th… before sparking wild celebrations (below)

Celebration time: Europe claimed a remarkable victory

That much was obvious in his final event in South Africa, where it looked like the Kaymer of a couple of years back as he held off the local favourite, Charl Schwartzel, to win his first tournament of the year.

Now he’s enjoying some downtime and the celebrity twirl that follows on from being the man who completed the comeback.

There was an appearance on one of the biggest television shows in Germany, for example. It is called I Bet That I Can, in which members of the general public bet they can do certain unlikely things and Hollywood and sporting stars have to decide whether they can or not.

Nothing put in front of Kaymer by Joe Public could have been as unlikely as the idea that he would end up on Sunday at Medinah as the man feted by all and sundry.

Who would possibly have bet on that on Saturday, when Kaymer sat out both sessions and, on the advice of assistant captain Darren Clarke, sought out his hero, Bernhard Langer, for some serious counselling.

‘I hadn’t played well on Friday and was desperate to show what I could do on Saturday, so you can imagine how I felt when I was told I wasn’t playing,’ he said.

‘Bernhard was a huge help. He reminded me in no uncertain terms what team play is all about.’

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

As Sunday afternoon unfolded dramatically, it began to dawn on Kaymer that he might end up in the spot occupied by Graeme McDowell last time. From the forgotten man the previous day, he had become the one all his team-mates were relying on.

‘I think for the last 90 minutes I knew that it would probably come down to my match,’ he recalled.

‘On the 14th I was looking at the board and I was all square, Francesco (Molinari) in the last match against Tiger Woods was all square and I was counting the points we had got.

‘I could see that something huge was potentially unfolding. One, two, three, four points, on I went but I knew we needed at least a point from me, or two half-points from Francesco and me.

‘The last three holes were great, the excitement was beautiful. On the 17th I had a four-footer that I had to hole and, when that went in, it gave me a lot of belief.’

It is entirely typical of Kaymer that he admits feeling uncomfortable at the amount of praise that has flowed his way.

‘I was a little surprised afterwards at how many people came up and congratulated me,’ he said.

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

‘Obviously I made the last putt but at the end of the day I got only one point and I played in only two matches. There were other guys, they inspired the team a lot more than me. I mean, what Ian Poulter did on Saturday afternoon is very difficult to put into words. He deserves a lot more credit than anyone else.'

So to the 18th hole and that cauldron of noise. Kaymer must still be able to hear the cries of ‘Miss it! Miss it!’ even now.

‘I
could hear people trying to put me off but it wasn’t distracting me,’
he said. ‘You are so much in the moment. I thought of what Jose Maria
(Olazabal) had told me in very straightforward, very strict sentences.
This is why I want you on the team. We need your win, so please
deliver.’

And deliver he did, with two perfect blows to strike fear into the heart of his opponent, Steve Stricker.

Then, after the putt Kaymer couldn’t believe travelled fully five feet past the hole, came the one that will define him.

In the weeks that have followed,
Kaymer has watched it countless times. ‘I’m a great believer in watching
things that make you happy,’ he said.

‘It was a great party on the green there, wasn’t it’

Sir Alex Ferguson compares Manchester United defence to Cartoon Cavalcade

Fergie: 'God knows how my defence will cope with City… it’s been like Cartoon Cavalcade' (that’s a kids TV show in Scotland, folks…)

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 4 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson is famous for getting straight to the point but the Manchester United manager's latest blast at his leaky defence caused some confusion.

A concerned Ferguson has compared his rearguard to a kids' television programme ahead of Sunday's big derby at the Etihad Stadium.

United sit three points clear of City at the top of the Premier League but make the short trip to face their neighbours having conceded 21 goals in 15 games.

Scroll down for video

Work to do: Sir Alex Ferguson is not happy with the amount of goals Manchester United are conceding

Work to do: Sir Alex Ferguson is not happy with the amount of goals Manchester United are conceding

Putting in a shift: The Manchester United players trained at Carrington on Tuesday

Putting in a shift: The Manchester United players trained at Carrington on Tuesday

Cartoon Cavalcade… explained

Aah, memories. To kids in Scotland, Sundays meant one thing – Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade.

Michael was the man who introduced the likes of Bugs Bunny and Asterix to television screens north of the border.

And he was helped out by Paladin – a talking lamp – while dogs Rudi and Rusti played their part in making the show a huge hit.

Cartoon Cavalcade ran for 26 years from 1966.

Of the teams in the top half of the table, only Tottenham (23) have conceded more than United, who leaked three to Reading in Saturday's victory at the Madejski Stadium.

In contrast, City boast the meanest defence in the top flight, having let in 11 goals.

Ferguson still has the scars of last season's 6-1 defeat to City and is worried that a repeat could be on the cards.

When asked about his defence, he said: 'It is a worry. If we perform like that on Sunday then God knows what's going to happen to us.

'We've lost 32 goals already – I can't remember us losing so many goals before Christmas.

'Saturday was like Cartoon Cavalcade and when you see City have Balotelli, Dzeko – really tall players – it's going to be a big challenge.

'It's a concern. But that's on Sunday. It's five days away but at this moment in time it feels like five months.'

There was better news concerning midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

The Japanese star has an outside chance of featuring after returning to training following a knee injury of his own.

'He's showing good promise now,' said Ferguson. 'It is much better and I don't think he is far away.'

Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade

Meanwhile, United striker Danny Welbeck is determined to soak up as much information as he can from Robin van Persie, even though the Dutchman is blocking his path to the first team.

Although Welbeck is hoping to make his 19th appearance of the season in Wednesday's Champions League encounter with CFR Cluj at Old Trafford, only 10 of the previous 18 have been as a starter.

And most of those have been as a wide-man, rather than through the middle where Welbeck enjoyed so much success at Euro 2012.

It is not a statistic that sits easily with the knowledge Welbeck finished 2012 as England's top scorer, with five goals on the international stage.

Yet that figure contrasts sharply with the single goal he has managed for United this term, which is presumably one of the aspects of Van Persie's game the 21-year-old is keen to brush up on.

Forward thinking: Danny Welbeck (right) is eyeing a run in the United team

Forward thinking: Danny Welbeck (right) is eyeing a run in the United team

'Striker is my favourite position but once I get on the pitch, whether it's out on the wing or in the middle, I just want to enjoy my football and try and produce as good a performance as possible,' he said.

'Robin is a different type of striker to the ones we have previously had.

'It's great motivation to see somebody with so much class come into the side and score goals.

'But it's not just his goals that have been pleasing – it's the way he's played all-round and the assists he's got.

'He's a world-class striker and to watch him week in, week out is something that is of great benefit to me. He is definitely someone I can look up to.'

Bradley Davies slams Andrew Hore"s punishment as lenient

I lose four days of my life… he gets a five-match ban: Concussed Davies slams Hore's lenient punishment for assault

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 November 2012

All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore escaped with a 'lenient' five-match ban for a dangerous assault on Bradley Davies that caused the Wales lock to 'lose four days of my life' from concussion.

Hore will miss Saturday's showdown against England but the suspension, reduced from a recommended eight to five weeks because of the 34-year-old's remorse and excellent disciplinary record, means he will miss only two competitive matches.

Davies, who does not know when he will play again, compared the ban to his own case from last season when he was suspended for seven weeks for a tip tackle against Ireland.

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Davies said: 'It is a bit lenient when you think I got a 14-week entry point reduced to seven for my tackle.

'I couldn't tell you how it happened until I saw it on TV, but my jaw is still hurting.

'It's rugby, it's done now and I
don't bear any grudges. I know exactly what he feels like. He will feel
terrible. You just can't explain why you did what you did.'

A statement from judicial officer
Lorne Crear described the incident at the start of last Saturday's game
against Wales as 'inherently dangerous, being a deliberate swinging of
the arm, delivered with significant force, causing serious injury'.

Davies is unlikely to play for two or
three weeks after Hore lashed out at him from behind, prompting Wales
coach Rob Howley to call it 'disgraceful'.

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

'It's three or four days of my life
gone,' Davies said. 'I lost short-term memory so the only thing I could
remember on Sunday was my dog and doing a plumbing course on the
Wednesday.

'Every day I do a concussion test and at the moment I just can't pass it.' Hore has expressed his regret.

He said: 'I want to say how bad I feel and how embarrassed I am to be in this situation.

'It is not the All Black way and I have let myself down and the team.

'I hope Bradley recovers and gets backup and running as soon as he can.

'I have been on the phone and talked
to him on Sunday about the incident. 'I have to go back and start
building a reputation as a good, clean, hard footy player.'

Concussed: Davies receives treatment on the pitch after the injury

Concussed: Davies receives treatment on the pitch after the injury

Lee Westwood to play Greg Norman for short-game returns – Derek Lawrenson

Long-haul Lee swims with the Shark for short-game returns

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 26 November 2012

Where next for Lee Westwood in his search for salvation on and around the greens Here’s an eye-catching name – Greg Norman.

Before anyone adds the Aussie great to the long list of hired help Westwood has acquired over the years in the short-game department, it should be said that seeing Norman will be more along the lines of two friends getting together for some social golf and bouncing ideas off one another.

‘Lee has always been an admirer of Greg’s short-game technique,’ said Westwood’s manager Chubby Chandler. So it is that when the Englishman begins his brave new adventure in Florida in January he will seek out a long-time pal and neighbour for some brain-storming.

Old pals: Lee Westwood (right) with Australian legend Greg Norman

Old pals: Lee Westwood (right) with Australian legend Greg Norman

Not just Norman, either. Nick Price, another legend with a gossamer touch, also lives in the vicinity. Then there are contemporaries Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, who are both moving to the same gated community as Westwood at Old Palm, near Fort Lauderdale. There’s also Ernie Els and Luke Donald.

This will be the first time in his career that Westwood will play some serious social golf against players of his own calibre. Up to now, he has always lived miles from anyone, in Worksop. Imagine what difference it might make to his short game mixing with the likes of Norman and Els, and playing regular $100 money games with a competitive edge.

It can only help in terms of sharpness, can’t it The Norman connection is particularly intriguing. One of the finest victories of Westwood’s career came as a young man playing against the Shark in his ferocious prime at the Australian Open. It gave Westwood the belief to go on an astonishing run that would see him claim 17 more victories over the next three seasons.

Fifteen years on, could the wily Norman prove the catalyst once more We can but hope.

More from Derek Lawrenson…

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World of Golf: Rose blooming, so let’s not rake over the coals
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Derek Lawrenson: It's a Turkish delight as eight greats battle it out for big bucks
08/10/12

Derek Lawrenson: Why we should be saying Yanks for the memories to gracious losers
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Derek Lawrenson: McIlroy a victim of trash talk in American press ahead of Ryder Cup
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

About time too

Given the chronic lack of tournament golf in England at a time of vast riches in the playing department, the idea of three events taking place in the country in 2014 is a pleasant one indeed.

Traditionalists too will be cheered immensely by the prospect of the Volvo World Match Play returning home, if only for one year. This event has been held in Spain for the last two years and will break new ground in Bulgaria next season. The idea after that is for it to rotate between three nations, with England next up.

If the plan comes to fruition, it would mean two events in England in May — the other being the flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth — alongside The Open at Royal Liverpool in July.

Quote of the week

‘Every goal I set myself at the start of 2012 I’ve achieved this year. It really doesn’t get any better than that and I’m already excited about 2013.’

How typical that while patting himself on the back with one hand, Rory McIlroy should be driving himself forward with the other. Rory’s era has begun in truly thrilling fashion.

Simply the best: Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a quite brilliant year on the course

Simply the best: Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a quite brilliant year on the course

Long putter: Open champion Ernie Els

Long putter: Open champion Ernie Els

Belly rumbles

Is tomorrow the big day in terms of a decision from the governing bodies regarding the vexed subject of the belly putter

Such were the whispers in Dubai last week. ‘We’re about to have some fun and games,’ said Luke Donald, smiling.

Rather than a straight ban, most of the money is on a form of wording that effectively prevents any player from anchoring a putter to his body. Which would be a smart way of effectively bringing in a ban while reducing the chances of this ending up in a messy court battle — the fun and games to which Donald refers.

No changes to the Rules of Golf can be introduced until the next review in 2016, but there is some talk it will be introduced in the professional game before then. Among the players who would be affected are three of the last five major winners — Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els.

Bold course for new ideas

Any talk of changes to the Old Course at St Andrews is always a move into ‘painting a moustache on the face of the Mona Lisa’ territory.

So it was that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club got another shellacking last week following the announcement, in conjunction with the St Andrews Links Trust who manage the course, of a number of changes before The Open is held there in 2015. It has to be said, some of the planned amendments sound positively radical.

Widening the Road Hole bunker and recontouring the area around it, for example; the first alterations to the 11th green for about 250 years.

Let’s go easy on the outrage, however, and have a little faith in the two bodies in question. After all, they have more to lose than anyone.

James Anderson fails as nightwatchman again

Top Spin at the Test: It's good night from Jimmy for second time in a row

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 16 November 2012

Jimmy Anderson has generally done his job as nightwatchman since he was first handed the task against India at The Oval in 2007.

That was the first of 18 successive innings in which he was sent in towards the close and survived until stumps. But his last two efforts have not worked out.

He was dismissed by Kemar Roach on the fourth evening at Lord’s in May, and on Friday could only bat-pad Pragyan Ojha to forward short leg.

Back to the hutch: Anderson failed for the second time in a row

Back to the hutch: Anderson failed for the second time in a row

India v England – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad 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.

Little menace for Denis

Poor Nick Compton may be doomed to a lifetime of comparisons with his grandfather Denis, so there’s probably no harm in adding one more to the list.

While Nick’s maiden Test innings of nine took place in the toughest circumstances, on a turning wicket with men round the bat and 18 overs left in the day, Denis helped himself to 65 against a mediocre New Zealand at The Oval in 1937.

A bad Trott

He started with a century against Australia in his debut Test and Jonathan Trott has hardly looked back.

But for the first time since the Oval Test against Pakistan in August 2010, Trott’s batting average has slipped below 50 after he fell without scoring to Indian offie Ravi Ashwin.

It was only the second duck of Trott’s Test career, following the nought he made during the 2010-11 Ashes at Sydney.

Swann enjoys feasting in Asia

Graeme Swann had a poor English summer, when he managed to take only 10 Test wickets against West Indies and South Africa at an average of 59.

But his haul of 5 for 144 in this game maintains an impressive record in Asia, where his 58 wickets have cost 26 apiece – three points below his overall figure – and his last four innings have brought him 21 scalps and three five-wicket hauls. But England’s off-spinner could desperately do with a helping hand over here.

Pujara the run machine

The India No 3 Cheteshwar Pujara learned to build huge innings on the flat pitches of Gujarat, so the locals will not have been surprised that he took only six games to register his first Test double century.

It was his 11th score of 200-plus in matches stretching back to his days with Saurashtra Under 14s, when he was 306 not out in a total of 460 for five against Baroda.

India v England: Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha open up fresh spin wounds

There's no hiding England's spin scars but ruthless India open up fresh wounds

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UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 16 November 2012

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures
from the First Test in Ahmedabad 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.

And here we go again. If England are to save this game, they will have to do it the hard way: first avoid the follow-on, which means reaching 322, then survive whatever last-day ordeal is laid before them.

On the evidence of their catastrophic start to their innings this evening, they will do well to get as far as that. Spin bowling in Asia Only the opposition changes. The outcome remains resolutely the same.

As so often when a side is inserted late on the second day after spending far too many overs in the field, they made an inauspicious start when Nick Compton failed to glue bat and pad together as he played forward to Ravi Ashwin.

Tailspin: Jonathan Trott was one of three England batsmen to fall on day two

Tailspin: Jonathan Trott was one of three England batsmen to fall on day two

England then provided an insight into their negative mindset when they sent in Jimmy Anderson as a nightwatchman with as many as 20 minutes of the day to go. He lasted six of them before propping forward fatally to the left-arm spin of Pragyan Ojha.

Enter Jonathan Trott, who had been hoping to put his feet up until the morning. He poked his fourth ball to forward short leg: 30 for 3, and the scars of England’s three trips to Asia this year had been opened in an instant.

India v England – day two:

Click here to read the report on the day's play

And there are still three days to go, which means at least 270 overs in which their faulty selection for this game will continue to come back and haunt them.

Prior to Compton’s dismissal, one ball from Ojha went through the top, spun back wickedly past his forward grope, and apparently summed up the size of their task. They can hardly say they haven’t been warned.

While Cheteshwar Pujara was compiling an unbeaten 206 of enviable unfussiness and composure, England’s preference for Tim Bresnan ahead of Monty Panesar assumed the proportions of an outright gaffe.

Masterclass: Cheteshwar Pujara showed great composure during his double ton

Masterclass: Cheteshwar Pujara showed great composure during his double ton

But it is no good picking on Bresnan, who – remember – would have had Pujara out for just eight had Jimmy Anderson not misjudged the flight of the ball at mid-on shortly after lunch yesterday. He was chosen, did his best, and formed part of a seam-bowling triumvirate which returned collective figures of 70-10-245-1.

Since England’s three spinners – Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Kevin Pietersen – combined for 90-12-265-7, the numbers told their own story. How India are loving this.

As if to highlight England’s selectorial folly, MS Dhoni threw the new ball to Ashwin, his off-spinner. So what if Umesh Yadav barely gets a bowl in this innings. Cricket is about adapting to different situations as it is about executing your blessed skill-set and playing to your strengths.

India are doing that expertly so far. Beyond Swann’s diligence, it’s not entirely clear what – in these conditions – England’s strengths are.

Charlie Austin: Profile of Europe"s leading goalscorer

Austin heaven! Former bricklayer leading Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao in Europe's goalscoring charts

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UPDATED:

13:35 GMT, 7 November 2012

EUROPE'S LEADING SCORERS

Charlie Austin (Burnley) 20

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 18

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 17

Tom Pope (Port Vale) 17

Picture the scene, you’re taking part at your local pub quiz and the following question gets asked: Who is the top scorer in Europe this season

Cristiano Ronaldo, right No, no, it’s Lionel Messi. Hang on, what about Radamel Falcao All wrong, it’s a Berkshire-born boy called Charlie Austin, who scored yet again for Burnley on Tuesday night to take his tally to 20 for the season.

So who is he

A strapping 6ft 2ins centre-forward, equally adept on the deck or in the air, and now looking a snip at the 1million Burnley shelled out for him in January 2011.

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season

Austin heaven: Charlie Austin has scored a remarkable 20 goals already this season
Why the long road to prominence

The short answer is he was deemed too short as a boy. Like Steven Gerrard before him, he underwent a significant growth spurt in his late teens, after he was released from Reading’s academy as a 15-year-old in 2004.

What's so special about this season

Good question. His partnership with Jay Rodriguez was one of the obvious plus points of Burnley’s mid-table return last season, but he's reveled as the main man since the England Under 21 international’s 7million switch to Southampton.

Austin has shown great adaptability, looking equally at ease in a 4-4-2 formation or leading the line alone this campaign. Quite simply, he has the gift of getting into the right place at the right time.

IN HIS OWN WORDS….

'In my first season, I got 20, but only 19 were league goals, the other I scored one in the play-off semi-final against Charlton. That’s the only time I’ve done it before.

'It has been as good as it gets and hopefully it continues for me personally, and for the football club.

'It is nice to break records, and if they keep coming then great, but it is all about winning and getting the three points.'

'To score 20 goals in any season is brilliant. I am happy to have got there but I am a team player and my goals help the team. Against Leeds it did for a 1-0 win.

'I don’t have a target. I’ll just keep working hard in training and bring it out on the pitch.'

Burnley manager Sean Dyche: 'The thing that I like is his team mentality. He is staying nice and steady with himself. He keeps going in there.

'That’s what I love about real goalscorers: they don’t give it up, they always think they’re going to nick one, and in tight games they’re the sort of people that you need to win'

Who discovered him

Intriguingly, former Swindon Town chairman Andrew Fitton can take some credit for giving Austin his break in the Football League. Fitton was previously chairman of Hungerford Town, one of the 23-year-old’s former clubs, and recommended him to then Robins manager Danny Wilson in September 2009.

Had his record caused a stir amongst other clubs

Yes. In fact, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe knew he had plucked a rough diamond from the rubble of the town’s building sites in the summer of 2009.

As a semi-professional, Austin bumped up his 80 weekly pay packet by working as a bricklayer for his dad’s business, but Howe offered him the chance to go full-time only to be scuppered by a Football League-imposed transfer embargo, allowing Swindon to step in.

How many more can he score this season

Sean Dyche, the new manager at Turf Moor, refused to cap his potential following his latest strike – a powerful header – downing Leeds, and pointed to the 49 goals Clive Allen netted for Tottenham in 1986-87 as a target to aim for.

That is one more than Austin managed during 2008-09 for Poole Town in the Wessex League, seven tiers below his current level.

Can he go all the way to the top

Don’t rule it out. Austin is something of a throwback to the 1980s when Stuart Pearce, Ian Wright and Vinnie Jones – electrician, plasterer and hod-carrier respectively – emerged as part-timers and rose to the international stage.

Dyche, and Howe before him, waxed lyrical about his team ethic, suggesting he has the attitude to match his talent.