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Updated: 41 min 23 sec ago

Jonny Bairstow transformed from the butt of Ashes jokes into a series centurion | Ali Martin

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:21
In the city where his bizarre first contact with Cameron Bancroft occurred, the England keeper used his head to score a ton and earn the Waca’s acclaim

From being the butt of the jokes in Brisbane to slamming his head against his helmet three times in celebration, Jonny Bairstow’s hundred on the second day at the Waca was not just his finest Ashes moment to date but a touch of catharsis for England’s wicketkeeper.

Every century has meaning for Bairstow. The look to the sky – though not quite clear blue in this instance due to some morning haze – is a recurring and well understood feature of his celebrations. But after sending these thoughts upstairs here, the 28-year-old also allowed himself an extra little nod to the incident that had previously defined his current tour.

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Leicester City v Crystal Palace: match preview

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:18

Leicester City and Crystal Palace are on fine respective runs of form and the latter could escape the relegation zone with a draw. A problem Roy Hodgson has to solve though is Palace’s goal tally of zero from eight games away from Selhurst Park. Leicester, meanwhile, have only failed to score once at home this season against Manchester City. Hodgson should be very wary of baiting Claude Puel’s revitalised Foxes. Graham Searles

Kick-off Saturday 12.30pm

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Magnus Carlsen under the weather and out of form at London Classic

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 08:01
World champion struggles badly again yet emerges with four-event Grand Tour trophy and £245,000 prize after testing tournament in London

Magnus Carlsen won only twice in nine games, and survived several perilous moments, at this week’s London Classic. He even suffered an embarrassing defeat in the puzzle diagram, but Norway’s world champion still came away with the four-event Grand Tour trophy and £245,000 in prize money.

Carlsen dominates global chess in its faster forms, half-hour rapid and 10-minute blitz. Nowadays, though, something often goes wrong in his classical slow tournaments, the arena where historic champions like José Raúl Capablanca, Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov strutted their stuff with only a few setbacks.

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Sports quiz of the week: Ashes centuries, Ballon d'Or records and a quick finish

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:55

Who won three in a row? Who is ‘super proud’? And who gave no more?

Who has declared himself "the proudest man in Proudsville"?

Pep Guardiola

Steve Smith

Dawid Malan

Sean Dyche

Why will Aljaz Bedene, Britain’s No2 tennis player, not represent Team GB at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo?

He won’t travel to Tokyo as he says it is a “jumped-up dump”

He will be representing Slovenia from 1 January 2018

He says the "Olympics are for track and field not tennis"

He has joined the professional squash circuit and it is not an Olympic sport

Complete the sequence: Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Dawid Malan…

Jonny Bairstow

Alastair Cook

Stuart Broad

Nathan Lyon

How did Bairstow celebrate after hitting a century for England in the Ashes?

He poured a cup of water over James Anderson's head

He headbutted his helmet

He walked up to Cameron Bancroft and kissed him on the forehead

He mimicked someone downing a pint of beer

Manchester City have won 16 of their 17 games in the Premier League this season. Which team has taken points off them?





Pep Guardiola has become only the second manager to have won the Premier League's manager of the month award three times in a row. Who was the first?

Kevin Keegan

David O'Leary

Paul Jewell

Antonio Conte

What new nickname has Vasyl Lomachenko given himself?

" Vasyl Loma-Jedi"

"No más Chenko"

"Verily, verily Vasyl"

"Vasyl Jonah Lomu-chenko"

Anthony Joshua is the favourite to win the Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday night. Who was the last boxer to pick up the prize?

Tyson Fury

Henry Cooper

Carl Frampton

Joe Calzaghe

Lennox Lewis

What did Arsène Wenger say when asked about the differences between his Invincibles team at Arsenal and Manchester City’s unbeaten team this season?

"We face a Manchester United team that attacked"

"Referees didn’t favour us"

“We had no petrol”

"My team could defend"

Cristiano Ronaldo won the fifth Ballon d'Or this week, meaning he and Lionel Messi have on five each in the last decade. Who won the award in 2007?

Pavel Nedved

Fabio Cannavaro

Michael Owen


10 and above.


9 and above.


8 and above.


7 and above.


6 and above.

Pretty good

5 and above.


4 and above.

Not bad

3 and above.

Poor show

2 and above.

Poor show

1 and above.

Oh dear

0 and above.

Oh dear

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Antoine Griezmann can leave Atlético if right offer comes along, says Simeone

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:45
• ‘It’s not a problem, I know that he needs to grow,’ says Atlético manager
• Griezmann said exit last summer would have been a ‘dirty move’

Antoine Griezmann will be allowed to leave Atlético Madrid if the right opportunity comes along for the France forward, according to head coach Diego Simeone.

Simeone said he would not stand in the way of any of his players if they wanted to leave to develop their careers, and that could open the door for the 26-year-old – who has reportedly been on the radar of clubs including Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in recent seasons – to leave either in January or next summer.

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Talking Horses: Hayley Turner's case suggests jockeys get it tougher than trainers

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 06:52

Which recent ‘betting’ case worries you more, that of Hayley Turner or that of the trainer David Evans?

It was interesting to see a number of folk on my Twitter timeline responding to the Hayley Turner verdict yesterday by comparing her case with that of David Evans. In most cases, the feeling seemed to be one of puzzlement as to why her punishment, a three-month suspension from riding, was so much tougher than his, a £3,000 fine.

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BT customers get to binge on Game of Thrones after landmark Sky deal

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 06:39

Sky Atlantic blockbusters and BT premium sports will now be available to both sets of subscribers after content-sharing deal

BT TV customers are to get access to all of Sky’s sport and entertainment channels, including Game of Thrones for the first time, in a landmark deal that could have ramifications for Premier League rights auction.

The deal marks the end of nearly a decade-long dispute over carrying each other’s channels, as the two companies wrangled over commercial terms.

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Abdelhak ‘Appie’ Nouri: ‘We are with him 24-7, talking to him, praying for him’

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 06:00
Abdelhak Nouri was living his dream, playing for Ajax, when he collapsed on the pitch and suffered permanent brain damage. His family and friends talk eloquently about a warm and kind boy who had everything in front of him

On the first floor of a modern office block in Amsterdam, and in the shadows of the stadium where Abdelhak Nouri lived his dreams, the eldest of the Ajax midfielder’s six siblings delivers a brave and moving message. “Being angry doesn’t help,” Abderrahim Nouri says. “Being sad doesn’t help. Crying all day doesn’t help. Being positive helps. Praying for him helps. When I’m next to his bed, talking with him, saying good things to him, those things help.”

Speaking eloquently and emotively for more than an hour, Abderrahim has been reflecting on the tragic chain of events last summer that left his 20-year-old brother, who was one of the most talented young footballers in the Netherlands, with severe and permanent brain damage.

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Why Blake Bortles and the Jaguars are a real Super Bowl threat (yes, really)

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 05:30

While the eyes of the NFL are trained on Sunday’s Patriots-Steelers showdown, the once-toothless Jaguars are quietly emerging as a contender in the AFC

The NFL is focused this week on Sunday afternoon’s Steelers-Patriots matchup set for Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The 11-2 Steelers versus the 10-3 Patriots, the winner likely earning home-field advantage throughout the AFC play-offs, where many think the two sides will inevitably meet again in the conference championship game. But amid the hype over Pittsburgh and New England, there is one team being completely overlooked, a team that in fact went through both the Steelers and Patriots to reach the Super Bowl two years ago: the Denver Broncos.

No, not the woeful 2017 Denver Broncos, a team that has hopelessly lost its way and is tied for the fifth-worst record in all of football. The 2015 Denver Broncos. The Super Bowl championship team that had the best defense in all of football, a defense that was so good it was able to paper over its suspect play at the quarterback position. That Broncos team may have been reincarnated in the form of the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Steve Smith leads Australia fightback after England tail collapses

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 05:26
England 403; Australia 203-3
• Hosts regain initiative after Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan hundreds

England had their foot on the jugular after an hour’s play on Friday but they could not keep it there for long. When England were 368 for 4 with two centurions at the crease the Australians were in a bit of bother. Then Peter Handscomb, who is not playing in this game, made his bid for the man of the match award.

A sliced drive from Dawid Malan against a Nathan Lyon off-break went up in the air and Handscomb, briefly on the field for David Warner, sprinted to his left, dived and grabbed the ball inches above the ground. The dismissal of Malan triggered the subsidence, the first of six wickets England lost for a paltry 35 runs. That much-feted lower order, which has extricated the side from some deep holes in the past, does not function so well in Australia. There were more echoes of the Ashes tour of four years ago as the tail was swept away by the hostility and aggression of the Australian pacemen. It is not so surprising since these are fine bowlers and the pitch here has some life but they don’t like it up ’em in the lower order.

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Clouds over Chris Froome and Sky will linger despite contrite response | Sean Ingle

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 04:00

The British rider’s world has not fallen in following revelations of his failed drugs test but he will start next season embroiled in controversy

It is almost unprecedented for a cycling story to go global outside the Tour de France. However, the stunning revelation that Chris Froome failed a drugs test at the Vuelta a España in September, which was made public only due to an investigation by the Guardian and Le Monde, sent shockwaves across the world.

When it came to the most provocative headline, there was a clear winner. As the French sports daily L’Equipe put it on the first of its six pages on the issue du jour on Thursday: “The Sky falls in on Froome”.

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Football transfer rumours: Virgil van Dijk or Iñigo Martínez to Manchester City?

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 03:48

Today’s fluff is high up where the stallion meets the sun

One day he will actually move clubs, and the name of Virgil van Dijk will not be repeated in the Mill for months or even years. Until that time, however, he is hanging around like the proverbial punchy pong, appearing once more on Friday morning on the back page of a national newspaper. This time it’s the Times, which reports that Pep Guardiola is currently stroking his chin and pondering which central defender Manchester City will launch an audacious megabucks bid for come January – Van Dijk or Real Sociedad’s Iñigo Martínez. The Spaniard, whose contract contains a release clause set at €32m (or about £28m), would be something of a comparative bargain, with Southampton continuing to value their Dutch defender at £70m (and with the two players being born within two months of each other in 1991 there’s little difference in age).

But there might be a familiar-sounding scrap for his services, with Arsenal “weighing up” a move, says the Times, while Liverpool are wondering whether to also try to sign him, or to move instead for the player whose surname is closer than any other’s to being an anagram of his in the shape of Stefan de Vrij, though they might have a fight on their hands there as well, with Corriere dello Sport saying Internazionale also want the Lazio man.

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Trabzonspor challenge puts Gianni Infantino’s stint at Uefa under scrutiny

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 01:00
• Fifa president accused of permitting lax approach towards match-fixing
• Turkish Football Federation’s ruling on Fenerbahce for 2010-11 disputed

The Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, has been accused of permitting a lax approach towards match-fixing when he was Uefa general secretary during the 2010‑11 scandals within Turkish football, which still reverberate years later.

Fenerbahce won the 2011 Turkish Super League on goal difference from Trabzonspor but 36 officials and players were later convicted of match-fixing in criminal proceedings in Turkey, including the president, Aziz Yildirim, who was sentenced to six years and three months in prison. In 2015, after Turkey under its president Recep Erdogan abolished the special courts that heard the Fenerbahce cases, Yildirim and the other defendants were acquitted of the charges in retrials.

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Manchester City’s plan for global domination

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 01:00
Football has already been transformed by big money – but the businessmen behind Man City are trying to build a global corporation that will change the game for ever. By Giles Tremlett

On 19 December 2009, Pep Guardiola stood and wept in the middle of Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The 38-year-old Barcelona manager clasped a hand across his face as his body gave way to huge, shoulder-heaving sobs. Zlatan Ibrahimović, the club’s towering Swedish striker, wrapped a tattooed arm around Guardiola’s neck and then gave him a vigorous push in order to jolt him out of it. But Guardiola could not stop. It was a strange place for the world’s most celebrated football coach to break down: Barcelona had just won a game that few people watched on television to secure one of football’s most obscure titles, the Fifa Club World Cup. But the victory secured an unbreakable record: Barcelona had won all six titles available to any club in a single year. That is why Pep was sobbing.

Back at home in Barcelona, it was a bittersweet moment for Ferran Soriano. A hairdresser’s son from the city’s working-class district of Poblenou, Soriano had become one of FC Barcelona’s top executives – and had helped build what could now claim to be the greatest football team the world had ever seen. “I was happy, but it was also painful not to be there when the team reached its pinnacle,” he told me. Instead, he picked up the phone and called Guardiola.

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Ashes 2017-18: Australia v England third Test, day two – live!

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 21:07

2.07am GMT

Good, Charlie.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Malan After Midnight) #Ashes

1.52am GMT

Opening to the batting on the email. Is a cynical Simon Powell. “Excited for today, but (sadly) we all know what happens in the first hour, don’t we…” Wash your mouth out. Malan proved the tough stuff is he made of yesterday. He was in lovely form at the press conference too, talking about the emotions of getting to a ton and all the sacrifices his parents made for him to live the dream. Well played. I’m backing him for a Daddy Ton.

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Socceroos field widens with Tony Popovic facing the sack in Turkey

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:56
  • Reports in Turkey claim coach will lose job after string of poor results
  • Popovic recently said he dreams of one day coaching national side

Tony Popovic’s first foray in European management may be nearing a premature end with reports in Turkey the Australian coach will be sacked by Karabükspor after a string of poor results in the 10 weeks since he took over the Süper Lig club.

Popovic, who stunned Western Sydney Wanderers on the eve of the new A-League season by leaving to take up the opportunity to coach a top-flight European side, has overseen just one league win since arriving in Turkey.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:01

Will there be goals galore again at the Etihad, could West Ham finish off Hughes and is Jack Wilshere the man to bring some beauty back into Arsenal’s play?

Since 2010-11, when the two games between these sides featured one goal between them, this has not been a fixture for goalkeepers. In 12 meetings there have been precisely 50 goals, scored at the rate of 4.2 per match. There is a recent history of mayhem, which coupled with the recent improvement in Tottenham’s form makes this probably the most likely moment for a while for the leaders’ successive-win juggernaut to come to a halt. Between this game and the visit to Arsenal at the end of February, City play Leicester twice, Newcastle twice, and five times against sides they have already beaten this season by an aggregate score of 24-3 (though that includes a visit to Liverpool). Should Pep Guardiola’s side emerge victorious on Saturday it becomes troublingly difficult to see where in the near future they might falter. Last season’s 2-2 draw in this fixture was memorable for some particularly poor goalkeeping: both City goals were down to Hugo Lloris clangers, and Claudio Bravo only faced two shots on target and let them both in. Ederson will present a more formidable obstacle for Spurs on Saturday. SB

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NRL finally announce sale of Gold Coast Titans to Kelly and Frizelle

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 18:43
  • Darryl Kelly and Rebecca Frizelle pip Stuart McAuliffe to take on Titans
  • Club fell into NRL hands after running into financial difficulties in 2014

Former co-owner Darryl Kelly and ex-chair Rebecca Frizelle have been unveiled as the new owners of the Gold Coast Titans after winning a two-way race with Stuart McAuliffe for the keys to the NRL-owned club in a sale that has been a drawn-out process.

Related: Gold Coast 'blindsided' by reports of Jarryd Hayne exit request

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Sam Allardyce admits being powerless on Ross Barkley’s Everton future

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:47
• New manager yet to discuss contract situation with Barkley
• Calvert-Lewin, Holgate and Kenny sign new long-term deals

Sam Allardyce has said he will be powerless to prevent Ross Barkley leaving Everton next month should the club’s board decide to cash in on the midfielder.

Barkley, yet to feature this season because of a serious hamstring injury, is out of contract at the end of the campaign having rejected a new deal with his boyhood club. He turned down a move to Chelsea on deadline day in August as he wanted more time to consider a transfer that could have earned Everton up to £35m. Chelsea are expected to renew their interest in January while Tottenham Hotspur are also keen on the England international.

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Jamaal Lascelles: Newcastle given home truths in dressing room after latest loss

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:38
• ‘Reality is we’re not in a great position and sometimes things need to be said’
• Captain says side, who lost to Everton, are not distracted by takeover talk

Jamaal Lascelles has revealed that harsh words were exchanged in Newcastle United’s dressing room after Rafael Benítez’s side endured their seventh defeat in eight games when beaten by Everton at home on Wednesday night.

“I wouldn’t say it was calm, no,” said Newcastle’s captain, who returned from injury for the 1-0 defeat. “There were a few home truths said but the reality is we’re not in a great position and sometimes things need to be said that players don’t want to hear. Hopefully, it’ll get a reaction. We don’t want to leave it too late.”

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