European Finals To Be Available Free

BT have announced today that both the Champions League and Europa League finals will be free to watch on TV, online and on YouTube. This follows suit from last year, where this was also the case.

UCL_Final

Image: WalesOnline

The Europa League final will be broadcast from 7pm on Wednesday 24th May, and will feature the clash between Manchester United and Ajax. The Champions League final will be played in Cardiff on Saturday 3rd June, and will feature European heavyweights Real Madrid and Juventus. Coverage of the final will start at 6pm.

Both games are available on YouTube (YouTube.com/BTSport), on the BT Sport app, online at BTSport.com and on the BT Sport Showcase HD TV channel, and are available completely free.

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England cruise to victory with a day to spare

England have taken a 1-0 in the 2015 Ashes after securing a 169 run victory in Cardiff. The Aussies had two days to chase down their target of 412, but a middle order collapse enabled England to wrap the game up with a day to spare. With rain forecast for tomorrow, the only real hope of Australia salvaging a result meant batting out the day, so finishing in such style was imperative for England.

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Australia had an early let off, as Joe Root dropped Chris Rogers within the first few overs. Rogers couldn’t capitalise on his reprieve though, as he fell for just 10, edging Stuart Broad to Bell at slip. The umpires, amid a chorus of boos from home fans, decided to review the decision, before confirming that the opener had to walk.

David Warner and Steve Smith seemed to target Moeen Ali, taking their partnership past 50, but the Englishman had the last laugh, trapping Warner lbw just before lunch. Warner fell for 52, with the Australians 97-2 at lunch. However, all Aussie hopes of salvaging anything from the first test were obliterated as they lost five wickets for just 25 runs.

Steve Smith survived an appeal, as Root caught a ball that ricochetted off of the Aussie’s pads, not his bat. However, within the same over, he edged straight to Ian Bell, out for 33. Broad took his third wicket of the day, as Clarke hit straight to Ben Stokes at backward point for only 4. Mark Wood joined the party, forcing Adam Voges to edge behind for 1. In an attempt to restart the Aussie attack, Brad Haddin tried to go big against Moeen Ali, but only succeeded in picking out Alastair Cook, who made a wonderful high catch. Haddin’s dismissal left the Australian’s 122-6, needing 290 to win.

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia's only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia’s only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson showed the batsman how it was done, posing the English bowlers a few problems as he found the boundary with both sixes and fours. But his partner Shane Watson fell lbw again, with Mark Wood dismissing him for just 19. Australia went in to tea at 162-7, the game well and truly out of sight.

Johnson continued to lead the resistance well, as he passed 50, and soon after his partnership with Mitchell Starc took Australia to 223-7. Joe Root broke through though, as Starc edged in to Cook’s chest, and fellow slip Adam Lyth dived to take the catch. The same combination of Root and Lyth prevented a Johnson century, as he swung wildly at a tempting ball, only to nick it to Lyth. Moeen Ali finished off the Australians in the next over, with Josh Hazlewood skying the ball to Joe Root, leaving the Aussies all out for 242.

Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali shared three wickets apiece, for 39 and 59 runs respectively, whilst Mark Wood (2-53) and Joe Root (2-28) also had success with the ball. Joe Root was named man of the match, following his scores of 134 and 60, and his two wickets today. The second test starts on Thursday at Lords.

England in control despite wobble

England have two days to bowl out Australia, after setting them a target of 412 to win the first test. Despite this level of control, they did suffer a wobble, losing three wickets for just nine runs, giving Australia a slither of hope of taking the first test. Despite the mini-capitulation, Australia still require the third highest successful run chase in Test history to take the win, so only a shocking bowling display or rain should prevent an England victory.

England celebrate dismissing the Aussies for 308

England celebrate dismissing the Aussies for 308

Australia resumed on 264-5. England did get the early breakthrough, as Shane Watson was dismissed lbw by Stuart Broad. Nathan Lyon, who had been sent in as night watchman, fell in the next over, lbw to Mark Wood. Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin put up a mini-stand of 34, hitting seven fours between them. The final three wickets fell for just four runs, as Haddin (22) and Starc (0) fell to Anderson, either side of Mitchell Johnson (14) chipping straight to Gary Ballance off of Broad. Australia lose last five wickets for 43 runs, finishing on 308, 126 runs behind. Anderson stood out from the English bowlers, finishing 3-43, with Broad, Wood and Ali all taking two wickets each.

Alastair Cook fell just before lunch for a disappointing 12, with Nathan Lyon taking a low catch. Gary Ballance fell just after lunch, caught behind off of Hazleworth for a duck, leaving England 22-2. Ian Bell began strongly, reminding his doubters of the form he showed in the last Ashes series at home. Adam Lyth hit the day’s first six, but just after a Bell single brought up the 50 partnership Lyth was dismissed for 37. Nathan Lyon was the man who took the wicket, with Lyth edging to a diving Clarke at slip.

Ian Bell brought up his 50 with a four before tea, with England going into the break on 160-3. But Bell fell for 60 soon after tea, bowled by Mitchell Johnson for his first wicket after a dismal first innings. Joe Root was also scoring freely, and brought up his fifty with a four, his twelfth 50 in his last 18 test matches. Josh Hazlewood ended Root’s hopes of a second consecutive century, bowling the Yorkshire man for 60.

England’s capitulation began as Jos Buttler gifted Australia his wicket for only 7, with Haddin catching his attempt a a reverse sweep. Ben Stokes was the next to fall, with an inside edge back on to the stumps from Mitchell Starc. Stuart Broad completed England’s wobble as he was caught well by Hazlewood from a complete slog, with England looking in danger of not pulling out a lead of 400.

Mark Wood made 32 from just 18 balls

Mark Wood made 32 from just 18 balls

But Mark Wood brought up that milestone, hitting an entertaining 32 from 18 balls, including 4 fours and 1 six. Moeen Ali was unable to repeat his first innings heroics, as he ambitiously swung at a loose ball, nicking behind for 15. James Anderson was bowled by Lyon as England were bowled out for 289, a lead of 411. Nathan Lyon finished 4-75, with two wickets a piece for Johnson, Starc and Hazlewood.

England should realistically see off Australia comfortably, perhaps even with a day to spare. However, if they fail to dismiss the Aussie openers in the morning session then some nerves could creep in.

England hold slight advantage on day 2

A fine batting display from Chris Rogers threatened to put Australia in control of the first test, but a lack of support from his fellow batsmen has potentially left visitors chasing the game. Moeen Ali stood out, scoring a strong 77 to banish memories of yesterday morning’s abysmal early collapse, before taking two wickets.

Moeen Ali scored 77 with the bat before taking two wickets

Moeen Ali scored 77 with the bat before taking two wickets

England resumed on 343-7, with Broad and Ali at the crease. Stuart Broad survived an early scare, with Johnson’s short ball ricochetting off of the batsman, and appeared to be caught by Adam Voges. Broad was given out, but an umpire review revealed the ball did hit the ground. Moeen Ali brought up his 50 with a fortuitous four, getting an inside edge which darted across the face of his stumps before reaching the boundary. Broad lost his wicket cheaply for 18, as he swung loosely at a Nathan Lyon delivery, nicking behind to Haddin.

Ali was the next to fall, as his impressive 77 from 88 balls was ended when he edged Starc’s delivery to Shane Watson at slip. Jimmy Anderson’s was the final wicket, with England finishing on 430, and Mitchell Starc ending up with a five-for. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mitchell Johnson finished with the worst bowling figures for an Australian in England since 1985, with 0-111 from his 25 overs.

Broad could have had an early wicket, as Chris Rodgers was given out lbw. However, an Australian review revealed a nick from the bat. Anderson eventually made the breakthrough though, as David Warner edged his delivery to a diving Alastair Cook at slip, putting Australia on 52-1. Steve Smith looked to be carrying on his good form, until he chipped straight to Cook at mid-wicket for 33. Chris Rogers had really dug in and was looking good for a century, pushing Australia forward to 180 with Michael Clarke. But he fell agonisingly short of his ton as he became Mark Wood’s first Ashes victim, nicking behind to Jos Buttler for 95.

Alastair Cook dives to take

Alastair Cook dives to dismiss David Warner

Michael Clarke was the fourth to fall, as he drove straight back to Moeen Ali, who reacted quickly to take a smart catch, leaving the Aussies 207-4. Ben Stokes took a late wicket to put England in the driving seat, as Adam Voges played a loose shot to Anderson at cover for 31. Australia finished the day on 264-5, trailing by 166, with Shane Watson and night watchman Nathan Lyon at the crease. James Anderson’s economic bowling stood out, as he was rewarded with a wicket and six maidens from his 16 overs. Moeen Ali was also dangerous with the ball, taking 2-67.

England will feel that they hold a slender advantage after two days play, and taking the wickets of Watson and Haddin early on tomorrow will put the hosts firmly in control. With the exception of Chris Rogers, the Australian openers got in, but were unable to capitalise before getting out.

Root rescues England after openers collapse

Joe Root produced a superb century to keep the first test alive in Cardiff. England had found themselves at 43-3, but the partnership of Root and Gary Ballance revived English hopes. Josh Hazlewood stood out from the Australian bowlers, with figures of 3-70 from his 22 overs. The hosts will resume tomorrow on 343-7.

England won the toss and elected to bat in cloudy conditions. Adam Lyth was the first to fall, caught at slip by David Warner for 6 off the bowling of Hazlewood. Spinner Nathan Lyon was introduced in the tenth over, and this move was rewarded as Alastair Cook edged behind for 20. The day looked in danger of becoming embarrassing for England, as Ian Bell was trapped lbw for 1. Starc’s bowling almost was the downfall of Root as well, first with a muted lbw claim, and more noticeably when the Yorkshire man edged behind, only to be dropped by a diving Brad Haddin.

From this initial trouble, Root and Ballance began piling on the runs, with Root bringing up his 50 in 56 balls. Ballance finally fell lbw to Hazlewood for 63, with the fourth wicket partnership worth 153. Root brought up his century with a square drive for 4, off of just 118 balls. Mitchell Starc was the man to eventually dismiss Root, who edged to Shane Watson for 134. Ben Stokes reached his 50, but was bowled by Starc almost immediately, with England now 293-6. Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali took England past 300, with their 50 partnership coming in just 51 balls. Jos Buttler chipped straight to Mitchell Johnson at mid-on for 27, Hazlewood’s third wicket of the day.

Mitchell Starc shared the honours with Hazlewood, also taking three wickets. Mitchell Johnson had no such luck, with his 20 overs producing figures of 0-87. England will look to push past 400 tomorrow, maybe batting through to the afternoon before getting some early wickets before close of play. This is a situation which looked very unlikely for the hosts to be in at points today, so they must capitalise on this life-line.