23-01-2019 Sri Lanka v England: Pick your England team for first Test

Who do you think should be in the England side for the first Test against Sri Lanka? Choose your XI and share it with your friends.

23-01-2019 Fearless esports racers blur lines between games and the real thing | Andy Bull

McLaren are investing in sim racing which, they think, could lead to an F1 champion in the next decadeLast Saturday afternoon a 23-year-old Italian called Enzo Bonito won a car race at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, and when he did it, motorsport shifted, just a little bit, towards a strange new future. Bonito was competing in the Race of Champions (RoC), racing head-to-head in a heat against Lucas di Grassi, a 34-year-old who won the Formula E championship just a couple of seasons back. And then, just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Bonito did it again the next day. This time he beat the 2012 Indycar champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The thing is, Bonito is a sim racer. He learned everything he knows from playing computer games.“It wasn’t much of a surprise for me at all, if I’m honest,” says Ben Payne, who is the director of esports at McLaren. “But I know it raises eyebrows for a lot of other people.” McLaren are investing a lot of time, effort and money in esports. Bonito is part of their team, along with Rudy van Buren, who won three races at last year’s RoC, in Riyadh. Van Buren was working as a kitchen salesman when he won McLaren’s World’s Fastest Gamer competition, which earned him a year-long job as their simulator driver. Later this year, Payne says, Van Buren will probably make the switch from being a virtual racing driver to a real racing driver. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Ronaldo agrees to pay €19m fine to settle tax fraud case

Juventus footballer pleads guilty after agreeing to fine and suspended sentence in Madrid courtThe Portugal and Juventus footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted committing tax fraud while playing for Real Madrid and agreed to pay an €18.8m (£16.5m) fine after striking a deal with prosecutors and tax authorities in return for a 23-month suspended prison sentence.Ronaldo, 33, had been accused of defrauding the authorities of €14.8m (£12.9m) in unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2014. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Australian Open: Serena Williams loses to Karolina Pliskova in thriller

Pliskova beats Williams 6-4, 4-6, 7-5Naomi Osaka beats Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1Serena Williams, her movement cramped late in the match by a rolled ankle, blew a third-set 5-1 lead, four match points, a rematch with Naomi Osaka and a chance to equal the 24 slam titles of Margaret Court in a dramatic quarter-final on Wednesday.Karolina Pliskova remained calm as Williams disintegrated physically after her left ankle collapsed under her during a foot-fault when in sight of victory, and went on to win 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. On Thursday, she plays Osaka – Williams’s conqueror in the US Open final – after the exciting young Japanese player had accounted for the Ukrainian sixth seed Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1 in just an hour and 12 minutes in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Jermaine McGillvary: Huddersfield and England winger tears hamstring

Huddersfield and England winger Jermaine McGillvary is set to miss at least two months with a hamstring tear.

23-01-2019 Rugby still has room for unorthodox magic to prevail in Six Nations | Robert Kitson

Stuart Barnes’ latest book is a timely reminder before the 2019 Six Nations of how the unexpected can be decisiveThe language of rugby has changed hugely in the past quarter of a century. What used to be a tackle is now a big hit and wingers have wheels or gas as opposed to pace. The term dummy scissors belongs in a museum, along with garryowens and argy-bargy. Naughty feet, game-changers, taking the learnings and going upstairs are rather more commonplace now than sidesteps, replacements, mud-baths or players drinking bottles of red to help them sleep better on the eve of major internationals.It partly explains why Stuart Barnes’s new book, Sketches from Memory, is such a thought-provoking read. As a commentator and pundit, few wrestle with rugby’s modern lexicon on a more regular basis than Barnesy, never one to employ a cliché where a smart literary reference might do instead. The former Bath and England fly-half writes as he once played: dull orthodoxy remains his sworn enemy. His latest tome, typically, is not just any old rugby book. From Bob Dylan to Bath and Shakespeare to Sky, there is something for everyone in its honest, trenchant revealing and, occasionally, poetic pages. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 Usain Bolt gives up on football dream, saying his 'sports life is over'

Bolt trialled with Australian side Central Coast Mariners32-year-old says he ‘really enjoyed just being in a team’Usain Bolt has given up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer, saying “the sports life is over” for him.The eight-time Olympic gold medallist was unable to agree a contract with Australian side Central Coast Mariners late last year after a trial. Continue reading...

23-01-2019 West Indies v England: Joe Root says it does not matter who scores his team's runs

England Test captain Joe Root says it does not matter who scores his team's runs, as long as they are winning.

23-01-2019 Emiliano Sala: Missing Cardiff City FC player 'sent message from plane'

Rescue workers resume search for the plane carrying Cardiff City FC player Emiliano Sala.

23-01-2019 A bluffer's guide to Marcelo Bielsa-style tactical analysis

With Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa's media presentation about his methods sparking debate, Opta's Duncan Alexander shows how modern clubs prepare for games.

23-01-2019 Nico Rosberg: Bringing F1 thinking to Davos

Former F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg wants to bring electric transport to the masses.

23-01-2019 Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend's action

Unai Emery gets better of Maurizio Sarri, Mohamed Salah takes shine off his milestone and Riyad Mahrez victim of City’s powerWhile these have been a troubled few weeks for Arsenal, with Sven Mislintat’s impending exit set to leave a big hole in their recruitment department, their victory over Chelsea was a reminder there have been plenty of positives during Unai Emery’s first season. The Spaniard has had to muddle along with an imbalanced squad but has shown he can make important tactical interventions on several occasions. He certainly got the better of Maurizio Sarri, disrupting the Chelsea manager’s attempts to build from the back by using an energetic high press, and his switch to a midfield diamond demonstrated Arsenal have become more flexible since parting company with Arsène Wenger. Emery’s side played with snap and bite from the start, with the tone set by Lucas Torreira’s waspish performance, and the impressive Aaron Ramsey. Jacob Steinberg Continue reading...