In an age of endless cricket Sri Lanka just gave us a special moment | Andy Bull

Kusal Perera’s and Oshada Fernando’s last-wicket stand of 78 to beat South Africa last weekend was one of the finest spectacles the game has produced in recent yearsLast Saturday in Christchurch, Martin Guptill thrashed a century for New Zealand in a one-day game against Bangladesh; in Dubai, Shahid Afridi finished off Multan Sultans’ Twenty20 match against Islamabad United with back-to-back sixes; and in Chittagong a young kid called Jamie Smith made a run-a-ball hundred for England Under-19s in a Test against Bangladesh. Cricket’s always on, somewhere or other, one format or another, bat hitting ball like the background tick-tock of a wall clock, something you only really notice when you look at it, catch a fraction of the match in a gif, a clip, a stream, or tweet, or a glance at a scorecard.Amid all the rest of it, South Africa and Sri Lanka were playing in the first Test at Kingsmead in Durban. The match had meandered into a fourth day and it looked as if it was only going one way. South Africa v Sri Lanka isn’t necessarily a series you stop to watch. They have been playing each other for only 26 years and, in South Africa, the contests have been off-puttingly one-sided. Sri Lanka had played 13 Tests there before this series and won only one of them, in 2011, when Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samararweera made all the runs and Rangana Herath took most of the wickets. Continue reading...

World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

Six Nations: 'Absolutely sensational!' Josh Adams seals Wales victory

Josh Adams seals victory for Wales against England in their Six Nations tie to make it 12 successive wins.

Javier Hernández on hand as West Ham recover from early blow to beat Fulham

Fulham have only themselves to blame for their season, confused decision-making and erratic management probably sending them straight back to the Championship. But on this one occasion they can feel genuinely aggrieved that their fate was unfairly decided by someone else.They were ahead and playing well against West Ham, when Javier Hernández punched home a goal and changed the course of a game that ended in defeat for Claudio Ranieri’s side. Continue reading...

Alexander-Arnold: ‘I use last year’s loss at United as a learning point’

The Liverpool right-back returns to Old Trafford keen to atone for chastening defeat by Manchester United 11 months ago“Don’t get complacent or big-headed” was the direct but well-meaning advice from Cafu to Trent Alexander-Arnold when the two-times World Cup winner attended an awards ceremony in Monaco this week. Listening to the Liverpool defender relive his uncomfortable afternoon at Manchester United last season underlines why his club and country do not – and Brazil’s most-capped player should not – worry about ego.Old Trafford, where Jürgen Klopp’s team head in search of the Premier League leadership on Sunday, staged what Alexander-Arnold describes as the hardest moment of his career last March. The Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid would claim that low mark two months later but United’s 2-1 victory, and the lessons from it, are seared on the 20-year-old. Continue reading...

'Solari the stopgap with bigger name to come' - what is going on at Real Madrid?

The relatively unknown Santiago Solari has been placed in charge of Real Madrid - but he is not likely to be in the role for long, writes Andy West.

Manchester United’s golden child Marcus Rashford finds his lost lustre | Barney Ronay

It’s been three years since the forward burst into Manchester United’s first team and he looks better than ever now José Mourinho has been sent packingThere is a famous photo of Marcus Rashford lining up with his teammates before an England Under-16s fixture. Glancing down the row of likely lads you notice an adorably baby-faced Joe Gomez, the youthful Dominic Solanke, looking pretty much the same as the adult Dominic Solanke, and towards the far end a gap in the line where a face should be.Except, look closer and there is someone there, almost blocked from view by the looming outline of the small girl standing in front of him. Yes, it’s Rashford. And yes, he’s tiny, peeping out between the schoolkids with the same sense of quiet poise that has carried him through the past three years, almost to the day, since his debut for Manchester United. Continue reading...

Maurizio Sarri heads to Carabao Cup final as Chelsea’s dead man walking | Dominic Fifield

Wembley appearance will do little to kill the sense of inevitability over the Italian’s future at Stamford BridgeMaurizio Sarri strides out at Wembley a dead man walking. He can cling to football’s capacity to shock, and even convince himself an appearance in the Carabao Cup final will shrug Chelsea out of their slump in form. Theirs should be the greater motivation, after all, given the wounds are raw from the six-goal pummelling inflicted by Manchester City only a fortnight ago. Yet, in truth, there is a sense of inevitability about where this is heading.Passage was negotiated safely, in the end, beyond Malmö in the Europa League on Thursday, with Dynamo Kyiv to come in the last 16, yet the respite seems temporary. The home support, so vociferous in their dissent a few days previously as the team’s FA Cup defence petered out against Manchester United, had barely acknowledged their head coach, instead joyously latching on to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s rare start or the welcome distraction of the cameos delivered by Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu off the bench. It would be a surprise if any of that trio start on Sunday. Continue reading...

Six Nations: Gregory Alldritt try deep in added time earns France bonus point win

Gregory Alldritt scores his second try of the game eight minutes into added time to earn France a bonus point win against Scotland in their Six Nations tie.

Willie McKay is not an agent, so why was he working on Emiliano Sala deal?

A key question from the tragedy involving Cardiff’s £15m signing relates to the role of McKay, who is not a registered intermediaryThe agent Willie McKay has been unusually public about the central role he played in the transfer of Emiliano Sala from Nantes to Cardiff City, given the player’s tragic death in the fallen private plane in the Channel on 21 January.Mark McKay, Willie’s son, had a mandate from Nantes to sell Sala to a UK club for 10% of the eventual £15m fee, and Willie McKay told the Guardian that he worked feverishly to interest Cardiff, persuade Sala to sign and cement the deal. His work included arranging two private flights for Cardiff’s manager, Neil Warnock, to watch Sala play for Nantes. Continue reading...

Jonny Brownlee wins Super League Triathlon Eliminator in Singapore

Great Britain's Jonny Brownlee wins the men's eliminator race at the Super League triathlon event in Singapore.

Six Nations: Tom Curry bursts through to give England lead against Wales

Tom Curry exposes the Wales defence to give England the lead in their Six Nations tie at the Principality Stadium.

Why is Cleveland Indians' Trevor Bauer MLB's most hated man?

A climate skeptic and Twitter troll, the pitcher claims he’s only good at two things: ‘throwing baseballs and pissing people off’He may not be the most reviled man in US sports just yet, but Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer seems hell-bent on earning the title. The 28-year-old has been irritating opponents, fans and even his own teammates for years, which makes it all the more amusing that the most recent headlines he’s made have involved him complaining about his own well-deserved bad reputation.Few can quibble with Bauer’s production on the field: he’s an All-Star starting pitcher who went 12-2 last year for the Indians with a 2.21 ERA. He also likes to portray himself as an iconoclastic rebel, the last honest man. “I’m good at two things in this world,” he said in a recent Sports Illustrated profile, “throwing baseballs and pissing people off.” The story also goes into detail about his unconventional training methods, which include pumping electricity into his brain. Continue reading...

European roundup: Messi hits hat-trick for Barcelona; Bayern Munich win

• Argentinian scores three as Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-2• Bayern go level on points with Borussia DortmundLionel Messi scored his 50th career hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-2 win at Sevilla after the champions had twice fallen behind, giving the Catalans a 10-point lead at the top of La Liga.Sevilla, who have only won once in the league in 2019, took the lead midway through the first half through the winger Jesús Navas but were soon pegged back by an unstoppable volley from Messi. The home side capitalised on sleepy defending to retake the lead before half-time when Gabriel Mercado pounced in the area. Continue reading...

Football League: Norwich win a thriller, Paul Scholes's Oldham lose again

Benrahma’s majestic hat-trick helps Brentford thump HullLeeds maintain promotion push with freak winning goalThe leaders Norwich City twice came from behind to beat in-form Bristol City 3-2. Two high-class goals from Kenny McLean gave Norwich victory in an excellent game at Carrow Road that also included a glorious, elegant solo goal from City’s Callum O’Dowda. Continue reading...

Breakdancing at the Olympics? Bring it on... | Alex Clark

The Games are now far removed from their origins, so let’s embrace all arcane pursuitsGood for Paco Boxy, the face of British breakdancing, who came out with a punchy – one might say nominatively characteristic – comment on hearing that the sport was to be included (pending ratification) in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.“A lot of people will look at breakdancing as just spinning on your head or doing the worm,” he said, “but the people that I know train like athletes. They go to the gym swimming, train every day. For this to go in the Olympics is massive.” Continue reading...

Wales 21-13 England: Eddie Jones says 'we let ourselves down'

Coach Eddie Jones says "we let ourselves down in a couple of areas" as England's Grand Slam hopes disappear with defeat by Wales in Cardiff.

Six Nations 2019: Wales comeback stuns England

Wales make it 12 successive victories as they come from behind to beat England 21-13 in the Six Nations at the Principality Stadium.

Conor O’Shea’s long wait goes on and there is little respite for Italy

Sergio Parisse’s absence will make life even more difficult when Ireland visit RomeThe waiting goes on for Conor O’Shea. After three years as Italy’s head coach, he still has to taste victory in the Six Nations and it is set to be unlucky 13 for the former Ireland full-back when his countrymen visit Rome on Sunday.Since losing in the Italian capital six years ago, Ireland have taken it out on the Azzurri. The average score in the past three meetings between the sides is 59-11 in favour of the Six Nations champions, who go into the game knowing that only a bonus-point victory, and a substantial contribution to their points difference, will keep them in contention for the title, regardless of the outcome in Cardiff the day before. Continue reading...