Ian Bell thinks the Ashes will "go right to the wire" and has acknowledged Australia are likely to be stronger in the fourth Test.Read the full story ›
James Anderson has called for England and Australia to ditch the sledging and bring the spirit of cricket to the Ashes.
Tensions are always high when the old rivals battle for the urn, with plenty of verbals flying from both sides.
Australia captain Michael Clarke memorably warned Anderson to "get ready for a broken f***ing arm" while batting during the 2013-14 Brisbane Test and the Lancastrian is renowned as a fiery competitor himself.
The recent series against New Zealand was played in even-tempered way and Anderson hopes that spirit can continue into the summer.
"I hope it's played in the same nature as the New Zealand series, that was a really positive series and the nature of both sides' cricket was helped by the spirit the game was played in," Anderson told Sky Sports News.
"(But) there's a different relationship between the two teams, the Ashes is a huge series for both sets of players.
"If there is needle, it's something I thought I thrived on or needed in the past but having played in the last few months, I think it's important we get the balance right of playing in the right spirit, but also having that competitive edge to win a game of cricket for your country."
Jos Buttler will miss England's NatWest Twenty20 international against New Zealand because of his hand injury.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was replaced in England's Royal London Series decider against the Kiwis at Chester-le-Street by Jonny Bairstow, after splitting the webbing on his left hand in practice.
The England and Wales Cricket Board subsequently announced on Twitter that Buttler will also be absent from Tuesday's one-off Twenty20 at Old Trafford.
England kept swinging, for their third successive total of more than 300, but were bowled out with almost five overs unused against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.
Half-centuries from Joe Root (54), Eoin Morgan (68) - the captain's third on the trot - and Ben Stokes (71) gave England substance with 302 all out.
But after they lost their last five wickets for 14 runs, it was hard to avoid the suspicion that spurning such a significant slice of overs resources would cost them - with a 2-1 Royal London Series lead the reward here to the winning team.
New Zealand must reach 303 for victory.
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Morning showers left England facing a frustrating delay on the first morning of the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley.
Persistent rain in Leeds had been forecast and the covers remained on, keeping the players inside the dressing room instead of completing their pre-match warm-ups.
With no sign of the scheduled 10.30am toss and the prospect of the entire morning session being washed out, Alastair Cook and James Anderson were both waiting to find out who would get first crack at chalking off a milestone.
Cook requires just 32 runs to overhaul mentor Graham Gooch as England's all-time Test run-scorer and Anderson's first scalp of the match will make him the first Englishman to reach 400 Test wickets.
The hosts lead the two-game series 1-0 following their thrilling success at Lord's.
Ben Stokes was in the thick of the action again as England completed a once highly improbable victory in the first Test aganist New ZealandRead the full story ›