Tag Archives: sixth

Stoke fans refuse to back Tony Pulis

'Staying up' but Stoke fans still not potty about Pulis despite QPR win

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

22:00 GMT, 21 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 22 April 2013

The chants of ‘We are staying up’ rang out from Stoke City’s fans after the club was rescued from the drop at QPR’s expense.

But there were no songs of support for manager Tony Pulis, despite Stoke almost certainly assuring Barclays Premier League football for a sixth season.

Pulis’s relationship with Stoke fans is suffering because his side scores under a goal a game.

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

Taken for granted Tony Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League

So something has to give, whether that be a change of manager or a change in their manager’s approach if next season is not to be a carbon copy of this one.

Australian Open 2013: Venus Williams wins first round

Venus powers through to continue fine form after recovering from illness

and improved her
ranking to No 24 by year's end.

Easy does it: Venus Williams cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a comfortable win

Easy does it: Venus Williams cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a comfortable win

Williams could meet Maria Sharapova in the third round at Melbourne Park and was pleased to have negotiated the first hurdle with the minimum of fuss.

The American said: 'It's nice to spend less time on court and not be in long sets.

'A win is a win no matter what it is, but it's nice when it's more routine.'

Good game: Williams shakes hands with Galina Voskoboeva and was watched by sister Serena (below)

Good game: Williams shakes hands with Galina Voskoboeva and was watched by sister Serena (below)

Serena Williams

There were also wins for in-form fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, sixth seed Li Na and home favourite Sam Stosur.

Radwanska, the winner of the warm-up events in Auckland and Sydney, looked in danger of dropping her first set of 2013 when Australian wild card Bojana Bobusic served for the opener at 5-4 but the Pole upped her level and rattled off the next nine games to go through 7-5 6-0.

Nervy moments: Agnieszka Radwanska overcame a sluggish start to beat Bojana Bobusic in straight sets

Nervy moments: Agnieszka Radwanska overcame a sluggish start to beat Bojana Bobusic in straight sets

Li, the runner-up here in 2011, eased past Kazakhstan's Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1 6-3 but Stosur was made to work harder by Chang Kai-Chen of Chinese Taipei.

Ninth seed Stosur has only managed to reach the fourth round of her home grand slam and had her nervy moments once again before securing a 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 triumph.

2012 quiz of the year: Sportsmail"s review of a magical year

How much of a memorable 2012 can you really remember

PUBLISHED:

22:39 GMT, 23 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 23 December 2012

2012 truly was one of the most memorable in British sporting history. But how much can you really remember From the summer glory of the Olympic Games to Andy Murray's US Open triumph, and everything in between, now you can test yourself on our 2012 review quiz.

Answers at the bottom….

Who was the torchbearer to carry the Olympic flame into the stadium ahead of the opening ceremony of the London Games

How many gold medals did Team GB win in total at London 2012 to finish third in the table — 29, 30 or 31

Name the athletes who won Team GB’s first and last Olympic gold medals

Who finished second to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in the final of the 100metres and 200m

Sir Chris Hoy became Britain’s most successful Olympian when he claimed a sixth gold in which track event at the Velodrome

Which Arsenal Ladies player scored in all three of the Team GB women’s football group wins, including a 1-0 victory over Brazil

Who added an Olympic gold to his world No 1 ranking in the double trap shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks

After his success at London 2012, how many Olympic gold medals does sailor Ben Ainslie now hold — three, four or five

Which Team GB boxer won an historic gold medal in the women’s flyweight division

Who did Great Britain beat to record their only victory in the men’s basketball competition at the Nor th Greenwich Arena

Who won bronze for Team GB in the cycling time trial behind Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins

Name the scorer of Team GB’s first goal for the men’s football side against Senegal at Old Trafford.

Louis Smith and Max Whitlock claimed silver and bronze medals in the
pommel horse for Team GB, but can you name the other three members of
the gymnastics squad which secured an historic bronze in the all-round
event

Who won Britain’s first Olympic judo medals for 12 years in London

Samantha Murray won silver for Team GB in which event on the final day of London 2012

How many gold medals did Team GB win in total at London 2012 to finish third in the table — 29, 30 or 31

Name the athletes who won Team GB’s first and last Olympic gold medals

Who finished second to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in the final of the 100metres and 200m

Sir Chris Hoy became Britain’s most successful Olympian when he claimed a sixth gold in which track event at the Velodrome

Which Arsenal Ladies player scored in all three of the Team GB women’s football group wins, including a 1-0 victory over Brazil

Who added an Olympic gold to his world No 1 ranking in the double trap shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks

After his success at London 2012, how many Olympic gold medals does sailor Ben Ainslie now hold – three, four or five

Which Team GB boxer won an historic gold medal in the women’s flyweight division

Who did Great Britain beat to record their only victory in the men’s basketball competition at the Nor th Greenwich Arena

Who won bronze for Team GB in the cycling time trial behind Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins

Name the scorer of Team GB’s first goal for the men’s football side against Senegal at Old Trafford.

Louis Smith and Max Whitlock claimed silver and bronze medals in the
pommel horse for Team GB, but can you name the other three members of
the gymnastics squad which secured an historic bronze in the all-round
event

Who won Britain’s first Olympic judo medals for 12 years in London

Samantha Murray won silver for Team GB in which event on the final day of London 2012

American Michael Phelps took his Olympic gold medals tally to how many with four more golds at London 2012

With whom did Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray win a silver medal in the mixed doubles, held at Wimbledon

Double Beijing gold medallist Rebecca Adlington won two bronzes in the
pool, but which British swimmer was the only other to finish on the
podium at the Aquatics Centre

Name the brothers who won gold and bronze for Team GB in the triathlon.

How many Paralympic gold medals did swimmer Ellie Simmonds win — two, three or four

Who was the youngest gold medallist for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics

Wheelchair athlete Dave Weir won how many golds for Britain at the Paralympics — three, four or five

Can you name the mascots for London 2012

At Euro 2012, who missed penalties as England went out to Italy in Kiev

Who topped the four leagues in English domestic football for 2011-2012

Which two Spanish sides contested the 2011-2012 Europa League final in Bucharest.

Who claimed the Golden Boot at Euro 2012

Where was the 2012 Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich played

Who did Liverpool beat on penalties to win the 2012 Carling Cup final at Wembley

Who scored the Republic of Ireland’s only goal at Euro 2012

Why was England batsman Kevin Pietersen sanctioned by the ECB during the summer of 2012

Which Somerset batsman finished top run scorer in the County Championship

Which two Irish sides contested the 2012 Heineken European Cup final at Twickenham

Who was the torchbearer to carry the Olympic flame into the stadium ahead of the opening ceremony of the London Games

Who finished bottom of the 2011-2012 Aviva Premiership table

Which nation completed the Grand Slam to win the 2012 RBS 6 Nations title

Who succeeded Jamie Peacock as England rugby league captain in 2012

Who won the Man of Steel award for 2012

Who took the chequered flag at the British Formula One Grand Prix in July

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton announced in September that he would be leaving McLaren to join which team for 2013

Where was the ‘Circuit of the Americas’ which hosted Formula One’s return to the US in November

Whom did Andy Murray beat to win his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September

Can you name the three other men’s tennis major winners this year

Which three women won Grand Slam titles in the singles this year

Which German knocked in the winning putt to complete Europe’s ‘Miracle
at Medinah’ when they came from 10-6 down on the final day to retain the
Ryder Cup

Who were the four major winners in 2012

At which course was The Open held

Which two British boxers were involved in an ugly brawl at the postfight
press conference following a world heavyweight title bout in February

Which horse won the Grand National

British boxer Ricky Hatton came out of retirement to fight which Ukrainian in November

Which Aidan O’Brien-trained horse won the Epsom Derby

2012 Sports quiz of the year

In the image above, can you spot Greg Rutherford, Usain Bolt, Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis, Oscar Pistorius, Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins, David Weir, Nicola Adams, Sir Chris Hoy
ANSWERS

2012 sports quiz of the year, answers

Romelu Lukaku wants to stay at West Bromwich

Lukaku boost for Clarke as on-loan Chelsea striker declares intention to stay at West Brom

|

UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 23 December 2012

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has received a timely boost in his bid to keep on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku following his late winner in the 2-1 home success over Norwich.

The Chelsea player headed home a deep cross from Baggies left-back Goran Popov with eight minutes remaining for his sixth goal of the campaign.

And the Belgium international has taken to Twitter to express his desire to stay at the Hawthorns for at least the remainder of the season.

Staying game Lukaku has pledged his desire to remain at the Baggies

Staying game Lukaku has pledged his desire to remain at the Baggies

He said on the micro blogging site: 'I'd like to stay here for the rest of the season and there’s no question about that !!!'

It was a rare start for Lukaku who has been kept out of the side for most of the season by leading scorer Shane Long.

But he justified his selection as his
goal ended Norwich's 10-game unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier
League and moved Albion back into the top six.

Clarke said: 'Romelu has done well, he is a big talent, he has got a big future ahead of him in the game.

'The fact he couldn't get in the team
for most of the season is down to the form of Shane Long who shouldn't
be forgotten today.

'Shane made a difference when he came
onto the pitch, he tied up the other centre-back, has given a bit more
space to Romelu, and maybe that's why he has got the space for the
winning goal.

'It's a team effort and we don't like to single out individuals.'

Lukaku had chosen the rap song 'The
Question (What Am I Doing Here)' as his musical choice which was
broadcast before the game.

Clarke quipped: 'At the moment he is doing okay so that's the answer to that one!'

But the West Brom manager was non-committal when asked whether Chelsea will recall Lukaku in January.

Clarke said: 'He is on a season-long
loan but there is an opportunity for the parent club to take him back in
January. I can't affect it so I don't like to talk about it.'

Winning ways: Clarke savoured victory after four games without a win

Winning ways: Clarke savoured victory after four games without a win

Clarke felt Albion were below their best in securing their first win in five games.

He said: 'It was another performance where we were a bit scratchy. We are not quite flowing as we were early in the season.

'When you are coming in after four games without a win, there comes a bit more pressure on it.'

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

Steve Clarke hopes Chelsea loan signing Lukaku will not be recalled

Clarke hopeful of keeping Chelsea loan signing Lukaku in January window

|

UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 22 December 2012

West Brom boss Steve Clarke is predicting a big future for on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku following his late winner in the 2-1 home success over Norwich.

The Chelsea player headed home a deep cross from Baggies left-back Goran Popov with eight minutes remaining for his sixth goal of the campaign.

Canaries singing: Robert Snodgrass receives congratulations after netting the opener for Norwich

Canaries singing: Robert Snodgrass receives congratulations after netting the opener for Norwich

Match facts

WEST BROM: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Brunt, Odemwingie, Gera (Long 61), Dorrans (Fortune 45), Lukaku (Tamas 83). Subs not used: Myhill, Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Jara.

Goals: Gera 45, Lukaku 82

NORWICH: Bunn, Whittaker (Martin 54), Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey (Jackson 83), Hoolahan (Howson 72), Johnson, Pilkington, Morison. Subs not used: Steer, Bennett, Barnett, Kane.

Goals: Snodgrass 23.

Booked: Turner

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Latest Premier League results, fixtures and table

It was a rare start for Lukaku who has been kept out of the side for most of the season by leading scorer Shane Long.

But he justified his selection as his
goal ended Norwich's 10-game unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier
League and moved Albion back into the top six.

Clarke said: 'Romelu has done well, he is a big talent, he has got a big future ahead of him in the game.

'The fact he couldn't get in the team
for most of the season is down to the form of Shane Long who shouldn't
be forgotten today.

'Shane made a difference when he came
onto the pitch, he tied up the other centre-back, has given a bit more
space to Romelu, and maybe that's why he has got the space for the
winning goal.

'It's a team effort and we don't like to single out individuals.'

Dead-ball king: Snodgrass (right) curls the ball home from a free-kick to give the visitors the lead

Dead-ball king: Snodgrass (right) curls the ball home from a free-kick to give the visitors the lead

A big gift: Norwich keeper Mark Bunn reacts after West Brom level

A big gift: Norwich keeper Mark Bunn reacts after West Brom level

Lukaku had chosen the rap song 'The
Question (What Am I Doing Here)' as his musical choice which was
broadcast before the game.

Clarke quipped: 'At the moment he is doing okay so that's the answer to that one!'

But the West Brom manager was non-committal when asked whether Chelsea will recall Lukaku in January.

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

On the slide: Peter Odemwingie evades Wesley Hoolahan's tackle

Clarke said: 'He is on a season-long loan but there is an opportunity for the parent club to take him back in January.

'I can't affect it so I don't like to talk about it.'

Clarke felt Albion were below their best in securing their first win in five games.

He said: 'It was another performance where we were a bit scratchy. We are not quite flowing as we were early in the season.

'When you are coming in after four games without a win, there comes a bit more pressure on it.

Knees up: Anthony Pilkington (left) vies for the ball with Shane Long

Knees up: Anthony Pilkington (left) vies for the ball with Shane Long

Helping hand: Goran Popov shoves Snodgrass out of the way

Helping hand: Goran Popov shoves Snodgrass out of the way

'We spoke about it before the game. It was a big game for us today and it was important we got the three points.'

Norwich manager Chris Hughton felt
his side deserved a share of the spoils and was unhappy with the award
of a corner for the first Albion goal from Zoltan Gera just before
half-time which cancelled out Robert Snodgrass's 23rd-minute opener.

He said: 'I think we should have got a
point on the balance of play. Albion are a good footballing team, at
home, so you know they are going to have a percentage of possession.

Smash and grab: Popov leaves Snodgrass standing, despite the Norwich player's attentions

Smash and grab: Popov leaves Snodgrass standing, despite the Norwich player's attentions

'But I thought we had good spells in the game where we had real good possession, certainly for an away team.

'There weren't many clearcut chances and it was even and we deserved to come away with something.

'The first goal was frustrating
because they are a threat from set-plays and disappointing as it
shouldn't have been a corner in the first place and was a goal-kick.

Head we win: Romelu Lukaku heads his side's winner against Norwich

Head we win: Romelu Lukaku heads his side's winner against Norwich

'The timing of the goal gave them the lift they needed.'

Hughton added: 'We've been on a
fabulous run and it's now how we react to losing. To be unbeaten for
that number of games is a fair feat and testament to the group of lads.

'At some stage we were going to lose and it has to be about the next game.'

On the chase: Odemwingie puts Steven Whittaker under pressure

On the chase: Odemwingie puts Steven Whittaker under pressure

East Stirling 2 Rangers 6 match report: Lee McCulloch double helps Gers go five points clear

East Stirling 2 Rangers 6: McCulloch hits two in rout to send Gers five points clear

PUBLISHED:

15:26 GMT, 17 November 2012

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UPDATED:

15:26 GMT, 17 November 2012

Rangers produced a clinical second-half display to defeat East Stirling 6-2 at Ochilview.

The Ibrox side netted four times after the break to extend their lead at the top of Irn-Bru Division Three to five points.

Lee McCulloch opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 12 minutes and East Stirling were dealt a further blow when Phillipp Zufle was ordered off for a poorly-timed challenge on Kevin Kyle.

Andrew Little doubled Rangers' lead after 39 minutes, however the hosts replied just one minute later as Kevin Turner headed home Nathan Shepherd's corner.

Goal machine: Lee McCulloch hit the first from the spot

Goal machine: Lee McCulloch hit the first from the spot

Match facts

East Stirling: Hay, Jackson, Miller, Sean Kelly, Shepherd, Greenhill (Hunter 67), Zufle, McKernon, Maxwell (Herd 65), Turner, Quinn (Begg 73). Subs not used: Gordon, Hume.
Sent Off: Zufle (33).

Goals: Turner 41, Quinn 58 pen.

Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou, McCulloch, Hegarty, Wallace, Little (Aird 78), Black, Macleod (Crawford 83), McKay, Shiels (Naismith 68), Kyle. Subs not used: Scott Gallagher, Hutton.

Booked: Hegarty, Little.

Goals: McCulloch 12 pen, Little 39, Wallace 49, Kyle 63, Naismith 71, McCulloch 82 (pen).

Referee: George Salmond.

Attendance: 2,854.

The latest Scottish Third Division table, fixtures and results

But Lee Wallace re-established a
two-goal advantage for Ally McCoist's side four minutes after the break
before their lead was cut for the second time when Paul Quinn slotted
home from the penalty spot.

Rangers were rewarded for their
dominance throughout much of the second half when Kevin Kyle and Kai
Naismith both netted to put the game well out of the reach of their
opponents and McCulloch added a sixth goal eight minutes from time.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of
the early possession and Kyle passed up a good chance to open the
scoring after eight minutes when he failed to hit the target after a
neat passing exchange between Ian Black and Wallace.

The large Rangers support did not
have to wait much longer to see their side break the deadlock, though,
as referee George Salmond pointed to the spot after Sean Kelly hacked
down Dean Shiels.
McCulloch stepped up and calmly slotted the resulting penalty low beyond Hay.

Barrie McKay went close to doubling
the visitors' lead when he raced on to Lewis McLeod's through ball and
chipped the ball over the onrushing Hay, fortunately for East Stirling,
though, the ball rolled past the right-hand post.

The hosts responded in a positive fashion, forcing a number of corners that troubled the Rangers defence.

Scott Maxwell tried to catch out Neil Alexander with a shot from outside the box, however the keeper comfortably gathered.

The task facing East Stirling was made even greater when Zufle was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Kyle.

Hay produced a good low stop to deny
Black as Rangers tried to take advantage of their one-man advantage and
they extended their lead six minutes before half-time when Little's
volley looped over the keeper and into the net.

But Turner connected with Nathan
Shepherd's pinpoint cross one minute later to restore some hope for the
hosts going into the break.

Rangers began the second half
brightly and re-established a two goal lead four minutes after the
restart when Wallace burst forward and drove a low shot past the
helpless Hay.

The home side were presented with the
perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit after 58 minutes when
McCulloch bundled over Shepherd inside the box and Quinn made no mistake
in dispatching the penalty.

Black came agonisingly close to
scoring his first goal for Rangers on the hour mark as his shot cannoned
back off the inside of the post.

Kyle then opened his account for the Ibrox club when he swept the ball home from close range after Andy Little's mishit shot.

Naismith replaced Shiels after 68
minutes and the 20-year-old wasted little time in getting on the
scoresheet, slotting home McKay's cut-back from the edge of the box.

McCulloch converted from the spot for
the second time with eight minutes remaining after Steven Jackson
handled inside the box – his 19th goal of the season.

Substitute Fraser Aird flashed a shot
wide of the target in the closing minutes, but Rangers were unable to
extend their lead further.

Andy Murray loses to Novak Djokovic in London

Murray downed by Djokovic as world No 1 comes from behind to win in London

|

UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 7 November 2012

Andy Murray's bid for the ATP London Masters took a hit when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in three sets.

The Scot flew out of the blocks and did not look back, dropping only three points on serve in winning the opening set of their Group A clash 6-4.

This was their seventh meeting of the year after sharing the first six, with Djokovic winning an epic Australian Open semi-final but Murray turning the tables at the Olympics and then clinching his first grand slam title at the US Open.

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

Setback: Andy Murray was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the ATP world tour finals

That match was also a dramatic five-setter, and their contests have become ever more physically demanding.

The O2 crowd, packed almost to 17,000
capacity, were anticipating another classic, and they were certainly
not disappointed in the opening game.

Murray brought up a break point and
took it with a scampering cross-court forehand after the sort of rally
for which the pair have become famous.

The Scot looked extremely sharp, moving well and hitting his groundstrokes with a real zip, particularly on the forehand.

Djokovic did not win a point on
Murray's serve until a double fault in the sixth game, and in the ninth
game he found himself facing set point after some more incredible
defence from the third seed followed by a cute drop shot.

He could not convert that one,
hooking a forehand long, but on serve he was rock solid once more,
holding to love after 44 minutes.

Out of reach: Murray's serve was formidable early on, but dropped off in the later sets

Out of reach: Murray's serve was formidable early on, but dropped off in the later sets

It was a shorter set than normal in
encounters between the pair, mostly due to Murray's dominance on serve,
with Djokovic not so much as managing a deuce.

The Serb won their most recent match,
in Shanghai last month, in a more than three-hour epic in which Murray
held five match points, but he was struggling to make an impression
here.

Murray had another chance to break in
the third game of the second set but Djokovic landed a drive volley
right on the join of the lines, perhaps more by luck than judgment, and
three games later he had his first chance.

Surprisingly Murray chose to serve
and volley on break point and it did not pay off, the Scot forced to
play off his toes and missing the baseline by a fraction.

And this time it was Djokovic who did not waver serving it out, taking the set 6-3 to level up.

The momentum had well and truly
shifted, with Djokovic now the aggressor and Murray throwing in a few
too many errors, and four of them cost him in the third game of the
decider as the top seed broke through again.

Taking a tumble: Murray was eventually beaten 7-5 in the final set, despite breaking back

Taking a tumble: Murray was eventually beaten 7-5 in the final set, despite breaking back

The crowd tried to raise their man
but the contrast from the first set was total and Murray, whose serves
were now coming back with interest, was beginning to look a little
forlorn.

Instead of putting pressure on
Djokovic, Murray was just trying to hang on, and he saved break points
in the fifth and seventh games before at last rediscovering his spark.

He forced himself to flatten his
forehand back out and it paid dividends, HawkEye showing Djokovic to
have missed by a whisker to give Murray the break back, and suddenly the
British player was one game away.

Djokovic did not waver, though, and it was Murray who cracked again to leave his opponent serving for the match.

Still it was not straightforward as
Murray forced two more break points but this time Djokovic saved them
and clinched victory after two hours and 34 minutes when the Scot missed
a backhand.

Kevin Pietersen scores 23 England return as Alastair Cook reaches hundred

Captain Cook reaches ton in warm-up as KP falls to left-arm spin on England return

|

UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 31 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen made a skittish 23 in his first innings for England in nearly three months before falling, not for the first time, to Yuvraj Singh’s innocuous left-arm spin.

But it was the less glittering qualities of Alastair Cook that held the tourists together on the second day of their three-day game against India A in Mumbai.

Cook marked his first game as England’s full-time captain with a typically grafting hundred to help his side to 286 for 4 in reply to 369. And with Samit Patel underlining his claim to the Test No 6 slot with an unbeaten 82, this was a job well done. Only a third-ball duck for Nick Compton left a slight headache.

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

Return: Pietersen produced a swashbuckling 23 before being caught and bowled by Yuvraj Singh

England forthcoming matches in India

Tour match in Mumbai (November 3)

Tour match in Ahmedabad (November 8)

First Test – India v England, Ahmedabad (November 15)

Second Test – India v England, Mumbai (November 23)

Third Test – India v England, Kolkata (December 5)

Fourth Test – India v England, Nagpur (December 13)

There follows three Twenty20 and and five ODI matches.

Inevitably, though, it was Pietersen’s 23-minute stay that focussed the attention.

Walking out calmly for his first knock as an England batsman since
August 6 – when he made 12 in the second innings of the Headingley Test
only two days after his barnstorming 149 – Pietersen traded a
glove-punch with Cook, and went about trying to make up for lost time.

He scampered a single to mid-on from his first ball, edged seamer
Parvinder Awana for four soon after, then launched his sixth delivery –
from the off-spin of Suresh Raina – down the ground for six.

When the next ball was clattered off the back foot through the covers
for four, a Pietersen special looked on the cards. But he was dropped at
forward short leg moments later on 16, and managed only one more
boundary – a pull off Vinay Kumar – before chipping a tame return catch
back to Yuvraj.

The identity of the bowler will irk him as much as the tameness of the
dismissal. Pietersen famously branded Yuvraj a ‘pie-chucker’ during the
tour of India in 2008-09 – but this was the sixth time his part-time
slow left-armers have accounted for England’s alpha male.

Just as embarrassingly, it came only three balls after India A captain Raina had brought Yuvraj on to bowl.

Slow start: Compton went for a third-ball duck

Slow start: Compton went for a third-ball duck

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard from Mumbai

Pietersen’s demise made it 125 for 3, and an all-too-familiar English
meltdown against Asian spinners was brewing when Ian Bell was caught at
slip off Yuvraj for five.

But Cook was in resolute mood, getting well forward on a slow Brabourne
Stadium surface, and Patel immediately began driving sweetly through the
covers.

Dropped down the leg-side on 29 off Awana, Patel built on the good
impression he made during the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. And although
the quality of India A’s spinners was distinctly ordinary, Patel has
made an early bid for the No 6 position for the first Test, ahead of
both Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow.

Top knock: Cook

Top knock: Cook

Top knock: Cook celebrates reaching his ton

Cook, put down by the hapless keeper Wriddhiman Saha on 87 off Yuvraj,
reached three figures with yet another leg-side single, and the pair had
extended their stand to 153 by stumps.

Earlier, after Jimmy Anderson had wrapped up the India A innings with
the first ball of the day, trapping Vinay Kumar lbw, Compton edged his
third delivery to the keeper to depart for a duck.

Not for the first time, comparisons were odious. Back in 1945, his
grandfather Denis made 249 not out here in the Ranji Trophy final for
Holkar. And he followed that a year later with innings of 91 and 124,
playing for Europeans against Hindus.

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Ton-derful: Cook was in fine form with the bat as he passed 100

Top knock: Cook

But Compton, having been perilously close to being bowled second ball by
Ashok Dinda, duly nibbled at the next, with fatal consequences. He may
not get another chance in this game to lay down an early marker for a
Test debut in Ahmedabad.

Jonathan Trott’s 56 steadied England in time-honoured fashion, before
Pietersen – briefly – and Cook – assiduously – pinched the headlines.

Steven Finn will play no further part in this match after picking up a
thigh injury on Tuesday. Scans revealed no tear, but England will now
monitor his rehabilitation over the next fortnight in a bid to get him
fit in time for the first Test, starting on November 15.

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Rebuilding: Cook and Patel put on a fine fifth-wicket partnership to dig England out of a hole

Everton 2 Liverpool 2 – match report

Everton 2 Liverpool 2: Osman and Naismith rescue point for Moyes after Suarez double

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UPDATED:

15:52 GMT, 28 October 2012

Everton displayed all the qualities which have kept them in the top four this season as Liverpool blew a two-goal lead in the 219th Merseyside derby.

When Luis Suarez headed in his sixth goal in eight league matches in the 20th minute, after Leighton Baines had earlier turned the Uruguay international's cross-shot into his own net, the Reds appeared in control at Goodison Park.

However, in a pulsating first half Leon Osman pulled one back almost immediately before Steven Naismith equalised 10 minutes before half-time.

Point earned: Steven Naismith turns away after scoring Everton's equaliser against Liverpool

Point earned: Steven Naismith turns away after scoring Everton's equaliser against Liverpool

Match facts

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Naismith (Oviedo 85), Neville, Osman, Mirallas (Gueye 46); Fellaini, Jelavic.

Subs not used: Mucha, Hibbert, Heitinga, Hitzlsperger, Vellios.

Booked: Osman, Neville, Jagielka.

Goals: Osman 22, Naismith 35.

Liverpool: Jones; Wisdom (Henderson 70), Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Gerrard, Allen, Sahin (Coates 46); Suso (Shelvey 46), Suarez, Sterling.

Subs not used: Reina, Assaidi, Downing, Carragher.

Booked: Sterling, Agger, Suarez.

Goals: Suarez 14, 20.

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The remaining 55 minutes subsequently failed to match what had gone before, and although both sides could have won it after the break, the point was enough to keep Everton in fourth, six points ahead of their near-neighbours.

Liverpool fielded five derby debutants – Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, Nuri Sahin, Suso and Joe Allen – with Everton having just two in Kevin Mirallas and Naismith.

That may have contributed to what was a first 45 minutes so open it belied its history of being the oldest and longest-running cross-city rivalry in English football.

Suarez opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Steven Gerrard's pass sent Jose Enrique, on his first start since October 2, racing down the left and although his cross flashed through the six-yard area it was collected by the Uruguay international, whose drilled cross-shot return was deflected in by Baines.

His reaction was to race to the dug-out and dive full-length – in a celebration reminiscent of Jurgen Klinsmann's for his debut goal in English football in 1994 – in front of Toffees boss David Moyes after his pre-match comments about players going to ground easily.

Opener: Luis Suarez scores the first goal for Liverpool as they take the lead against Everton

Opener: Luis Suarez scores the first goal for Liverpool as they take the lead against Everton

Liverpool's Luis Suarez scores his and Liverpool's first goal with Everton player Baines deflection.

Ironically, later in the half, it was
one of Moyes' own players Phil Neville who was booked for diving on the
edge of Liverpool's penalty area.

That prompted a swift retort from injured Reds defender Glen Johnson on Twitter.

'Haha classic P Neville battering Luis for diving, then what does he get booked for….! Haha,' he wrote.

'Worst dive ever…. Looked like someone tied his laces together while he weren't looking haha.'

Cheeky: Suarez celebrated in front of David Moyes and the Everton dugout after opening the scoring

Cheeky: Suarez celebrated in front of David Moyes and the Everton dugout after opening the scoring

Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal

Six minutes later Osman's slight trip on Sterling presented Gerrard with the chance to curl in a free-kick and Suarez's deft header helped the ball past Tim Howard and into the far corner of the net.

For a team whose problems in scoring were well documented, things seemed to be going better than expected for Brendan Rodgers' side.

But Everton have not forced their way into the top four this season on a wing and a prayer, and they produced an instant response.

When goalkeeper Brad Jones, still deputising for the recovering Jose Reina who was on the bench, could only punch a corner to the edge of the area, Osman controlled and volleyed home.

Doubling up: Suarez heads home Liverpool's second goal as they extend their lead at Goodison Park

Doubling up: Suarez heads home Liverpool's second goal as they extend their lead at Goodison Park

The game, surprisingly, became even more open with Suarez shooting just wide before Marouane Fellaini, back from injury after two matches out, ran the ball out of play as he bore down on goal when teed up by Nikica Jelavic.

Derbies can do strange things to people – highlighted by Neville's diving aberration – and the sight of Tim Howard, one of football's genuine nice guys, hurtling out of his goal in an attempt to get 17-year-old Sterling sent off for what he thought was a second bookable offence was ungentlemanly and unnecessary.

But the hosts soon put the focus back on football when Fellaini's cross was left by Martin Skrtel and Naismith nipped in front of Enrique to equalise from close range.

Steady now: Suarez opts not to celebrate his second goal in front of the Everton manager

Steady now: Suarez opts not to celebrate his second goal in front of the Everton manager

Everton poured forward with the excellent Mirallas marauding down the left against the inexperience of Wisdom and Sterling.

The Belgian had one shot turned away by Jones and another blocked by Skrtel after a brilliant turn took him past Wisdom, reluctant to make a challenge in the penalty area, while Seamus Coleman also blazed over.

After such a rousing 45 minutes, the second half failed to live up to those standards.

Back in it: Leon Osman fires home from the edge of the box to halve Everton's deficit

Back in it: Leon Osman fires home from the edge of the box to halve Everton's deficit

Everton's Leon Osman scores his side's first goal of the game

Everton suffered a blow when Mirallas failed to appear after the break and was replaced by Magaye Gueye while Rodgers made a tactical switch by bringing on Sebastian Coates, another derby debutant, and Jonjo Shelvey to go 3-4-1-2.

Chances continued to be created with Sterling clipping an excellent chance wide having been put through by Enrique while Jelavic, surprisingly quiet in such an open game, just failed to connect in the six-yard box before heading wide Leighton Baines' free-kick wide.

Level pegging: Steven Naismith scores Everton's equaliser from close range

Level pegging: Steven Naismith scores Everton's equaliser from close range

Denied: Suarez thought he had scored a third but his effort was wrongly ruled out for offside

Denied: Suarez thought he had scored a third but his effort was wrongly ruled out for offside

Suarez, never far from the action, was fortunate to escape with a yellow card after standing on Sylvain Distin's Achilles after the ball had gone.

Gerrard had a shot blocked by Phil Jagielka before Suarez was incorrectly denied an injury-time winner by a linesman's flag.

Not you as well: Phil Neville was booked for diving and was told off by Steven Gerrard (below)

Not you as well: Phil Neville was booked for diving and was told off by Steven Gerrard (below)

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard has words with Everton's Phil Neville after he gets booked for simulation

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 6 October 2012

Rhinos talisman Kevin Sinfield saw stars after a sickening collision but regained his composure to lift the Super League trophy for the sixth time as underdogs Leeds denied Warrington the double.

More to follow

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds