England honour Clarke on day of graft

England’s bowlers were forced to graft as Australia reached 287 for three on the opening day of the final Investec Ashes Test at the Kia Oval.

It was a rare full day in the field for England in this series – just their second after being kept out at Lord’s – as Australia’s batsmen bounced back after they were routed at Trent Bridge for just 60 on the way to conceding the series.

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Clarke to end ODI career after final

Australia captain Michael Clarke will retire from one-day internationals following tomorrow’s World Cup final against New Zealand.

The 33-year-old has been suffering with a back problem for some time and a hamstring injury ruled him out of Australia’s World Cup build-up, with George Bailey and Steven Smith, the two men most likely to succeed him, both leading the side in that period.

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Clarke poised for Australia return

Michael Clarke is set to make his much-anticipated return for Australia in Wednesday’s World Cup warm-up match against United Arab Emirates in Melbourne.

Clarke has been given the green light to captain his country for the first time in two months since needing surgery on a hamstring injury suffered in the first Test against India.

The 33-year-old’s fitness battle has since become the centre point of his country’s World Cup preparations after he was told by Cricket Australia he must prove his readiness to play by February 21.

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Clarke extends Worcestershire deal

By Matt Somerford

Worcestershire have continued to strengthen for the future with confirmation that England Under-19s wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke has agreed a contract extension.

The Shrewsbury-born teenager will remain at New Road until 2016 and becomes the sixth academy product to agree terms in the past fortnight.

Joe Leach, Chris Russell, Tom Fell, Ben Cox and Tom Kohler-Cadmore have also penned two-year deals while Clarke’s England U19s team-mate Ed Barnard is also on the books.

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Clarke retains faith in Test side

Michael Clarke has announced that Australia will name an unchanged side for the second Ashes Test tomorrow.

The Australia captain has not named the same 11 players for successive Tests since facing South Africa at the same ground a year ago.

There were rumours James Faulkner could be included as an extra bowling option, to take the strain off Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson in the first of back-to-back Tests.

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