Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Collingwood exit gives England test dilemma

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CRICKET-ASHES/The retirement of Paul Collingwood from England’s test team was beautifully timed, leaving the selectors with the dilemma of who to replace the versatile batsman but with a long time to contemplate the decision and from a pretty lofty perch.

The 34-year-old brought options with the ball and was arguably the team’s best fielder, so although he has struggled with the bat of late whoever steps into the team has some big boots to fill.

The contenders? Batsman Eoin Morgan will fancy his chances, but all rounder Tim Bresnan must be in with a shout on the back of some fine performances in the last two Ashes tests.

Also in the frame are batsmen Ravi Bopara and youthful all-rounder Adil Rashid.

The addition of an all-rounder would bring balance to the side once batsman Ian Bell and wicketkeeper Matt Prior move up a place each in the order. That would leave a tail comprising Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and then the eventual Collingwood replacement.

England close to retaining Ashes but eyes should be on bigger prize

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CRICKET-ASHES/England moved closer to bringing the Ashes back from Australia for the first time in 24 years on Tuesday as they reduced the battered hosts to 169-6 at stumps on day three of the fourth test, needing just four more wickets to wrap up victory and still with a lead of 246.

In all likelihood England will require just three more wickets with Ryan Harris off the field with a stress fracture to his foot and unlikely to be forced to bat in such dire circumstances for the home side.

Oh, what to do about the Colly wobbles

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CRICKET-ASHES/With the fourth test steaming up on us like Santa’s sleigh with an inebriated Rudolf at the helm, time is running out for England to decide on what to do about a problem like Paul Collingwood.

Is it me or does “Brigadier Block” always seem more out of form than in form?

Doctor’s orders mean changes for Australia but belief is key

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CRICKET-ASHES/Did somebody call for a doctor? A psychiatrist more like! A serious amount of surgery is needed on the Australian cricket team to help them turn around their fortunes in the third Ashes test starting on Thursday.

Australia could make five changes for the Perth test as they shuffle their pack in an attempt to find the magic combination to take 20 English wickets and take advantage of the “Freemantle Doctor” (the term given to the breeze that blows across the WACA ground which can be a useful asset to any bowling attack).

Where have all the Australian Ashes fans gone?

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CRICKET-ASHES/The ticking sound that could be heard at the Adelaide Oval during the final day of the second Ashes test earlier this month was not the sound of time ebbing away for Australia’s war weary batsmen, but literally that of the clock at the back of the main stand.

Apart from the disintegration of one of sport’s truly great institutions – the Australian cricket team – the other eye-catching spectacle of the first two tests has been the near capitulation of support for the Aussies. Crowds will be under the microscope in this week’s third test in Perth as well as the team.

A test comeback for Warne? Australia are not that desperate

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CRICKET-ASHES/“Bowling, Shane” are not words English batsmen would want to hear ever again, but how would the Australians react to Shane Warne making an astonishing return to answer his nation’s plea for help in the wake of the second test defeat to the ‘Poms’?

To say Warne was England’s primary Ashes tormentor for years and years is an understatement. Every time the leg spinner had the ball in his hand he had the opposition quaking, and even off the pitch he was a handful.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA’s World Cup decision day — live

We'll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA's executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.

Downbeat but not out — an England fan at the Ashes

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CRICKET-ASHES/England have been in far worse positions at the end of a first Ashes test in Brisbane. Although being bowled out for 260 is far from ideal Andrew Strauss’s team should believe they are still in this contest.

Having been 197 for four half an hour into the final session of the day and with the Australian bowlers barely able to hit the cut strip, England will rue the batting collapse which saw the last 6 wickets fall for just 63 runs and included a stunning hat trick from Peter Siddle.

England are confident but will the Ashes dream go up in smoke again?

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CRICKET-ASHES/With Australia’s current cricket team seemingly keen on proving they can be just as hopeless as any cricket team England produced circa 1990-2000, what better time to go Down Under and watch England defend the Ashes?

I was meant to go four years ago after the epic 2005 series, only to pull out at the last minute and buy a house instead.

The Sachin Tendulkar jinx

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India's Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by Australia's Peter George for 214 runs during the fourth day of the second cricket test match in Bangalore October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

In getting out to debutant Peter George of Australia in the second cricket test at Bangalore, India’s Sachin Tendulkar has established another test record.

Of the 251 times he has gotten out in a test match, the little master has been the debut wicket of at least ten bowlers – Hansie Cronje, Mark Ealham, Neil Johnson, Ruwan Kalpage, Jacob Oram, Monty Panesar, Ujesh Ranchod, Peter Siddle, Cameron White and Peter George.

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