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Joy for Cook as his side finally wins a match

Alastair Cook Credit: PA

England captain Alastair Cook breathed a sigh of relief after watching his side clinch a 57-run victory over Australia in the fourth one-day international in Perth.

England risked losing a 10th straight match on their tour Down Under but instead triumphed for the first time after 91 miserable days as Australia failed to score the required 317 runs at the WACA.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were Cook's key men, the former scoring 71 runs off 43 balls while the latter excelled with bat and ball, adding 70 runs and taking four wickets.

He told Sky Sports: "It's been a while since we've had this feeling and a couple of dropped catches at the end just made us wait a little longer.

"But all in all it was a pretty good performance.

"It's been a frustrating tour, we've played a long way below our potential. Then you see glimpses like today where we know the standard we can play to, so we know it's there."

Essex handed a boost as Ravi Bopara signs contract extension

Ravi Bopara in ODI action for England against Australia in September. Credit: PA

Essex have announced that England cricketer Ravi Bopara has signed a new one-year contract with the club.

28-year-old Bopara has been with Essex since 2002, and has played nearly 150 First-Class matches for the county.

The all-rounder's new deal will run until the end of the 2014 season, and Bopara says that he is happy to be staying with the club:

“I am delighted to have signed a new contract with the club for a further year," he told the Essex official website.

"I was pleased with how my season went in 2013 both domestically and Internationally for Essex and England, respectively.

"I am now looking to continue this form into the new season with Essex where we can hopefully win some silverware.”


England left with a mountain to climb as Australia tighten stranglehold on second Test

Mitchell Johnson celebrates taking Alastair Cook's wicket. Credit: PA

The Ashes score made for unpleasant Breakfast reading this morning.

England failed to capitalise on their promising start yesterday, with Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin both making centuries, before Australia declared on 570-9.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke celebrates his brilliant century. Credit: PA

England's reply was less than confidence building, with Essex batsman Alastair Cook being clean bowled by Mitchell Johnson for just 3.

Alastair Cook is bowled by Mitchell Johnson. Credit: PA

However, Michael Carberry and Joe Root steadied the ship to some extent to guide England to 35-1 at the close of the play, but which ever way you look at it, Cook and his team now have a mountain to climb to save this Test and perhaps the series.

Cricket Australia apologise for Monty Panesar tweet

Monty Panesar celebrates dismissing Steven Smith. Credit: PA

Cricket Australia have apologised for any offence caused by an ill-judged tweet about Essex spin bowler Monty Panesar.

The tweet featured four men, apparently Sikhs, dressed as Teletubbies.

Cricket Australia have now removed the tweet.

Cricket Australia have apologised for any offence caused to Monty Panesar. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Panesar, a surprise recall to the team, responded with a wicket in the first day of the second test in Adelaide.

He dismissed batsman Steven Smith, but also dropped a catch.

Australia will resume day 2 on 273-5.

Northamptonshire face tough County Championship opener whilst Essex handed home start

Newly promoted Northants will play reigning champions Durham in the opening fixture of the LV=County Championship. Credit: PA

Northamptonshire face a tough opener in next season's County Championship.

Newly promoted Northants will play reigning champions Durham in the opening fixture of the LV=County Championship.

Northants won promotion after finishing second in Division Two last year.

Essex will be hoping for better luck next season in Division Two. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Essex will face newly relegated Derbyshire at the County Ground in Division Two.

Essex will hope to build on last season where they narrowly missed out on promotion.

For a more in-depth look at both clubs fixtures, click the links below:


Cook and England dealt Trott blow

Jonathan Trott is returning home from the Ashes tour. Credit: PA

England have been dealt a another blow with the news that batsman Jonathan Trott is heading home from the tour with a stress-related illness.

Trott's return means that England, captained by Essex star Alastair Cook, will have to make at least one change before battle resumes in Adelaide next week.

Not even Alastair Cook's battling 65 could prevent England from suffering a heavy defeat. Credit: PA

England go into the 2nd test on the back of a heavy defeat in Brisbane, as Australia cruised to a 381 run win with a day to spare.

Cook himself battled hard to make 65 as England were bowled out for 179 in their second innings, but his individual effort was a small highlight in an otherwise disastrous start to the Ashes series.

David Willey is also returning home to the UK. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire all-rounder David Willey is also returning home early from Australia after picking up a lower back injury.

The 23-year-old has been with the England Performance Programme squad but will now undergo rehabilitation back in the UK.

Ashes Latest: Incredible England collapse allows Australia to seize control

England are facing an uphill struggle to save the first Ashes Test. Credit: PA

England are facing an uphill struggle to save the first Ashes Test after a disastrous batting collapse resulted in them being bowled out for 136.

Mitchell Johnson in particular terrorised the English batsmen, taking 4-61 in an inspired spell of bowling as England struggled in the Brisbane heat.

Michael Carberry top-scored for the tourists, hitting 40, but apart from that there was little resistance.

Ryan Harris celebrates dismissing Alastair Cook. Credit: PA

Essex star and England captain Alastair Cook could only make 13 at the top of the order, but England still looked set for a decent total with the scoreboard at 82-2.

However, in a phenomenal turnaround, England lost six wickets for just nine runs with Johnson and Ryan Harris causing mayhem.

It could have been even worse had Stuart Broad not registered a battling 32 to temporarily halt the slide, but England found soon found themselves on the back foot again, this time with the ball, as Australia got off to an ominous start in their second innings to reach 65-0 at the close of play.

It means that England already face a deficit of 224 runs with three days left to play with the need for quick Australian wickets on day three an obvious necessity.

  1. National

England should not be 'intimidated' by Brisbane venue

England have no reason to feel intimidated by the Brisbane venue for the first Ashes test, according to captain Alastair Cook.

England are bidding to win at the Brisbane Cricket Ground - known as the "Gabba" - for the first time in 25 years.

Cook said the experience of his side would help break that unwanted record:

"A lot of players in this squad were here in 2010/11 - we've all got experience of winning in Australia.

"We're trying to use that to the best of our ability, and we know how important this game was last time for setting up the series. We certainly don't fear anyone."

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