19-02-2019 The Spin | Sheer pace is sheer bliss though fast bowlers often blow hot and cold

Mark Wood’s Sunday spell in St Lucia was a refreshing reminder of how pace bowling turns a slow game into a fast oneThere are certain words that are crying out to have “sheer” in front of them. Sheer bliss. Sheer lunacy. Sheer pace.In cricket, sheer pace is sheer bliss, as long as it’s on your side. In St Lucia on Sunday evening England, who had been blown away in the first two Tests by a resurgent West Indies attack, finally produced a riposte. Mark Wood came on after 20 overs, when the game is inclined to nod off, and suddenly every delivery carried an electric charge. Bowling to Shai Hope, Wood beat the bat outside off stump with his first ball, and his second, and his third. The fourth was a bouncer, which Hope wisely ducked. The little box on the screen that clocks the bowler’s speed showed 145kph, or 90mph. A stiff breeze was helping, but then Wood, so often kept off the field by a dodgy ankle, deserved a fair wind. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 The Spin | Questions facing England in West Indies 100 days out from World Cup

A new-ball partner for Woakes, whether Wood has a role and back-up batting at the top of the order are among the issuesEngland play 11 one-day internationals and two warm-up internationals before the World Cup starts on 30 May, but this five-match series is the last before they must announce their 15-man squad. A 16th space would allow them to cover all bases, but 15 means a corner needs to be cut. They are likely to want two spare seam bowlers, especially as those players are most susceptible to injury, which means they will have to sacrifice either a second back-up batsman (Alex Hales will be the first) or a back-up spinner. Or they could cheat. That’s what they’ve done with the current squad, in which Joe Denly nominally fills both roles. Denly’s last ODI appearance was in 2009, and England need to find out whether he, with support from Joe Root, is a realistic option should Adil Rashid or Moeen Ali suffer an injury. The alternatives are not irresistible, though Liam Dawson – not in the squad for West Indies – would be a more reliable, like-for-like substitute. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

19-02-2019 Manchester City would not sell Jadon Sancho to us, claims Jürgen Klopp

• Premier clubs do not sell to rivals, Liverpool manager adds• England forward joined Dortmund for £8m in 2017Jürgen Klopp has claimed Liverpool were beaten to the signing of Jadon Sancho by Borussia Dortmund because Manchester City refused to sell to a Premier League rival.The Liverpool manager confirmed his club’s interest in the teenage forward before Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, who attempted to add Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi to their squad last month. While greater first-team opportunity is viewed as the principal reason for leaving the Premier League for the Bundesliga, with Sancho, Keanan Bennetts and Reiss Nelson among those to depart in recent seasons, Klopp believes the transfer policies of English clubs is another factor. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 FA Cup: Neal Maupay misses a fantastic chance for Swansea against Brentford

Brentford's Neal Maupay misses a glorious opportunity, firing over from close range during Brentford's 4-1 defeat by Swansea in their fifth round FA Cup tie at the Liberty Stadium.

19-02-2019 Manchester United and Pogba extend Chelsea’s misery as fans turn on Sarri

Chelsea will not stand for much more of this. Maurizio Sarri, isolated and alone, shuffled around his technical area as his team were outmuscled, outmanoeuvred and outclassed by Manchester United to depart the FA Cup with the kind of whimper that has become far too commonplace over recent weeks. The Italian’s eyes never left the pitch but he could not have escaped the full repertoire of chants, whipped up by the fans in the Matthew Harding stand – where faith in the current regime appears wrecked beyond repair – and which damned their own head coach. The humiliation was brutal. Related: Maurizio Sarri clings on to job after furious Chelsea fans lose patience Continue reading...

19-02-2019 FA Cup: Chelsea v Man Utd - watch best goals

Watch the best goals from the last 20 years of Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup ties, including strikes from David Beckham and Eden Hazard.

19-02-2019 Kadeena Cox: Rio champion named in GB team for Para-cycling Track Worlds

Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox will return to top-class action at next month's UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships.

19-02-2019 Scotland tour of Oman: Tourists bowl hosts out for 24 in 10-wicket win

Scotland bowl out Oman for 24 - the fourth-lowest score in List A cricket - with six home batsmen making ducks in a 10-wicket defeat.

19-02-2019 The NFL's Kaepernick settlement should just be the start of making amends | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Hopefully the league can now support the values of the US constitution rather than pandering to those who mistake parochialism for patriotismIn one of my favorite sports movies, Vision Quest, the varsity wrestling coach tells his students they can challenge the best wrestler in any weight class if they want to take his place.“Fairest thing in the world,” he smugly tells them. As soon as one kid raises his hand to make that challenge, the coach quickly dismisses the team, pulls him aside, and says: “You’re out of your mind!” Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Mercedes enjoy constructive winter but Williams sleep through alarm | Richard Williams

Formula One has come out of hibernation with some teams looking in better shape than others and questions over marketing activitiesA few days ago a man called James Allison made Formula One feel like something other than a lost cause. In a short promotional film the technical director of the Mercedes team – the winner of the last five world championships – explained what it takes to create and build a new grand prix car. His enthusiasm dispelled a lot of the scepticism surrounding the sport’s future.Allison made a compelling argument that F1’s core activity has not really changed over the decades. What his colleagues were doing over the winter as they assembled the new W10, which made its debut in the first day of testing in Barcelona this week in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, was essentially the same as their earliest predecessors were doing more than 100 years ago. Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Paul Pogba drives Man Utd into FA Cup quarter-finals with 'magnificent' display

A "magnificent" performance from Paul Pogba, who made one and scored one, drives Man Utd to a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their FA Cup fifth round tie.

19-02-2019 Wales v England: John Terry gives pep talk to Eddie Jones' team

England's rugby players are given a pep talk by former footballer John Terry before the crunch Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff.

19-02-2019 'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

19-02-2019 David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

19-02-2019 France v Scotland: Finn Russell ruled out of Six Nations game by concussion

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell is ruled out of the Six Nations trip to face France after failing a concussion test.

19-02-2019 FA Cup: Vote for best goal of fifth round

Watch our selection of the best goals from the FA Cup fifth round and then choose your favourite.

19-02-2019 Jürgen Klopp ready for dangerous threat of Bayern Munich – video

Liverpool host five-time Champions League winners Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Speaking before the game, Jürgen Klopp discussed the 'outstanding' atmosphere he's anticipating at Anfield. Bayern travel to Merseyside with five key players missing, however Liverpool aren't without their own issues, with Virgil van Dijk suspended Continue reading...

19-02-2019 Bradford’s Lewis O’Brien: ‘I used Twitter critics as a drive to show who I am’

Loan from Huddersfield was greeted with some disdain but he has impressed with his dynamism – and his singingIt can be one of the most nerve-racking times of a young footballer’s career – the moment when he is asked to stand on a chair and sing to the whole senior squad. Lewis O’Brien, the 20-year-old Huddersfield midfielder who has been a smash hit on loan at Bradford this season, decided there was only one approach to take.“There’s no point being there and not going for it,” he says of his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, which so wowed his teammates that he has practically become the in-house entertainment. “I’ve probably sung about 30 times this season. Every time we’re down for a meal the lads start chanting, ‘Lewis, Lewis.’ I’ve got a few regulars I do, mainly Superstition, Valerie and Stand By Me. I wouldn’t even say I’m a good singer, I just put a lot of effort into it.” Continue reading...