WWE star John Cena wields the cricket bat with Shane Watson

Ashish Peter 29/11/2017
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Sydney Thunder skipper Shane Watson explains the basics to John Cena.

Famous WWE wrestler and superstar John Cena is not someone you would associate with cricket in any sort of form. The American wrestler though, found some handy cricket tips on his visit to Sydney to promote his new movie ‘Ferdinand’.

Cena was invited by Big Bash League (BBL) outfit Sydney Thunder for some cricketing lessons and found an able mentor in the form of Shane Watson.

The Sydney Thunder skipper was seen teaching the WWE star the basics of the game. The 36-year-old all-rounder later posted a tweet on Twitter saying, “Awesome day with @JohnCena. Only the best bats for this champion!”

Looking at the pictures posted by Sydney Thunder on their Facebook page, it does seem like Watson failed in his attempt to teach Cena how to rightfully hold a cricket bat. The wrestler and actor’s grip on the bat seemed to resemble how one would hold a baseball bat in fact.

Cena himself took to Twitter later and owned up to his poor skills with the cricket bat. In a tweet, he wrote, “Read some #Ferdinand, played some Cricket (poorly) and had a great time the past few days in Sydney until the teacher took attendance in class and I was marked absent..”

Despite Cena being downbeat on his own cricketing abilities, Sydney Thunder was extremely confident that the wrestler could ton a few big ones.

The BBL gets underway on December 9 with Sydney Thunder taking on the Melbourne Renegades at home in the North Sydney Oval.

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Ashes 2017-18: How have England fared at the Adelaide Oval?

Ashish Peter 28/11/2017
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Adelaide Oval will host the first ever day/night Ashes Test.

When England arrived at Brisbane for the opening Ashes Test, they were facing an uphill battle against history when they took on Steve Smith’s Australia at the Gabba.

With the hosts undefeated at the Gabba since 1988, the odds were stacked against Joe Root and his men. They were duly handed a 10-wicket defeat as Australia maintained their supremacy at ‘Fortress Gabba’.

The English will however, find a small glimmer of hope when they arrive at the Adelaide Oval for the second Ashes Test beginning on December 2. Of the 31 Tests the visitors have played at the historic venue, they have come out triumphant on nine of those occasions.

Their more recent record at the Adelaide Oval though does tip the scale in Australia’s favour. In the last 10 Ashes Tests played at the venue, the hosts have managed to win five with England coming out on top three times. Two other Tests between the two sides were drawn.

While these statistics still point to an Australian dominance in recent times, England will take comfort in the fact that the Test will be the first day/night affair in the Ashes. Under lights at the Adelaide Oval, English pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad will definitely find the conditions more suited to their bowling than it was at the Gabba.

England have been on the end of some famous and infamous results at the picturesque venue. Here, we cast a look at how the visitors have fared in their last three Tests at the Adelaide Oval.

2nd Ashes Test, December 2006

Result – Australia won by six wickets

An Andrew Flintoff led England were on top of Ricky Ponting’s Australia for about two and a half days before succumbing to defeat in spectacular fashion. A masterful double-century from Paul Collingwood in the first innings had helped England post an imposing total of 551-6 before declaring. The Aussies were put on the back-foot early into their innings as both openers fell cheaply.

Things could have gotten even worse for Australia when Ponting pulled a Mathew Hoggard delivery to  deep square leg where Ashley Giles dropped a sitter. The Australian skipper was batting on 35 at the time and would ultimately go on to score 142 runs. England would still end up with a 38-run lead in the first innings but an gigantic batting collapse in their second innings meant that the hosts were chasing just 167 for victory, a feat they achieved with six wickets to spare.

England let slip a big advantage to succumb to an infamous defeat.

England let slip a big advantage to succumb to an infamous defeat.

2nd Ashes Test, December 2010

Result – England won by an innings and 71 runs

Andrew Strauss’s England recorded a famous victory at Adelaide during their 3-1 triumph Down Under in 2010-11. Ponting won the toss for Australia and elected to bat first but an Anderson inspired England bowled out the hosts for just 245 runs in the first innings.

A superb double-ton from Kevin Pietersen and a century from opener Alastair Cook helped England amass a huge first innings total of 620-5 before declaring.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann was on fire in the second innings as his five-wicket haul condemned Australia to one of their heaviest home defeats.

Swann was unplayable as England romped to victory.

Swann was unplayable as England romped to victory.

2nd Ashes Test, December 2013

Result – Australia won by 218 runs

Alastair Cook’s men were thumped 5-0 in the 2013-14 Ashes in a series which clearly belonged to pacer Mitchell Johnson who was on fire all through the Australian summer.

The left-armed pacer was in his elements at the Adelaide Oval too where his man-of-the-match display blew away England after centuries from Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin had helped the hosts put up 570 runs on the board in the first innings.

Johnson’s fiery spell of 7-40 would then rock England’s batting order as the visitors were bundled out for just 172 runs in their first innings. Clarke then chose not to enforce the follow-on as Cook and his men were set an improbable target of 530 to get in their final innings.

England would do marginally better in the second innings but a four-wicket burst by Peter Siddle meant the visitors would fall 218 runs short of the target.

A Mitchell Johnson inspired Australia blew England away at the Oval.

A Mitchell Johnson inspired Australia blew England away at the Oval.

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Three candidates to replace England's Jake Ball in Adelaide Test

Ashish Peter 28/11/2017
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Jake Ball's ineffectiveness in Brisbane is a worry for England.

As England were beaten comprehensively at the end of the first Ashes Test at Brisbane, they were faced with a burning question. The leaders of England’s pace attack – James Anderson and Stuart Broad, failed to find much support from their third and fourth seamers.

All-rounder Chris Woakes and Nottinghamshire pacer Jake Ball were largely ineffective on the Gabba surface and failed to impose any effective sort of pressure on the Aussie batsmen.

The two bowlers, especially the latter, leaked runs heavily and had only a combined tally of two wickets to show for their efforts by the time the Test was decided. With the inability to tie-down one end greatly handicapping Joe Root’s men at Brisbane, the team management will surely be thinking of a different approach when it comes to their choice of the fourth bowler for the second Test at Adelaide.

While Woakes is expected to keep his place in the side owing to his batting capabilities, it is Ball whose head will be on the chopping block come Adelaide. With all-rounder Ben Stokes not included in the Ashes touring party and his replacement in Steve Finn himself returning from Australia after picking up a knee injury, England’s pace cupboard is not really stacked up at the moment.

Here, we look at the three viable alternatives to Ball that Root has at his disposal for the Adelaide Test.

TOM CURRAN

The South Africa born pacer could be the next in line if England do eventually decide to replace Ball. The 22-year-old has been introduced to England’s limited-overs setup this year on the back of some impressive performances for County side Surrey.

Yet to be capped at the Test level, the right-armed pacer’s 171 wickets at the first-class level in just 51 could well warrant a selection at Adelaide.

Son of former Zimbabwe and Gloucestershire all-rounder Kevin Curran, Tom displayed lively pace and a good temperament in the limited-overs matches he played against the West Indies earlier this year.

Curran's limited-overs displays for England have been promising.

Curran’s limited-overs displays for England have been promising.

MASON CRANE

The 20-year-old spinner was a surprise Ashes selection by England. The Hampshire leg-spinner has only played 29 first-class matches to date in his career but has already been capped by his country at the T20I level.

In 12 first-class matches this season, Crane picked up 52 wickets, prompting his selection for the Ashes touring party. The youngster has experience of playing in Aussie conditions after becoming the first overseas player to represent New South Wales since former Pakistan captain Imran Khan in 1984-85.

The fact that the Adelaide Test will be a day/night affair played with the pink-ball might not be the most ideal time to introduce the young wrist-spinner to Test cricket though.

The young leg-spinner has experience of playing in Aussie conditions.

The young leg-spinner has experience of playing in Aussie conditions.

MARK WOOD

The 27-year-old pacer was not included in England’s initial squad for the Ashes due to fitness concerns. He was excellent for England in the ICC Champions Trophy but played only Tests against South Africa in the four-match Test series as he wrestled with ankle problems.

The Durham bowler has been given a lifeline with regards to his Ashes hopes after he was named in the England Lions’ squad who are currently playing a three-day match against Queensland XI in Brisbane.

Blessed with raw pace, Wood will be hoping to make a mark in the three-day so as to stake a claim for a spot in Adelaide side. He will be in direct competition with Curran who has been released from the Ashes squad to take part in the game at Brisbane.

Mark Wood presents the most experienced alternative to Ball.

Mark Wood presents the most experienced alternative to Ball.

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