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The Ashes: England’s need to score big, David Warner’s form, rest and rotation – pundits assess where the urn will be won and lost

Jacob Scott

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Will England’s owlers be subject to rest and rotation during The Ashes?

“There is Test cricket. Then there is Ashes cricket.”

It is that time again. The Ashes is almost upon us and those words from Joe Root can be added to a long list of quotes that tell us that when England take on Australia, there is just something extra special about it.

For an England Test cricketer, an Ashes series in Australia is seen as the greatest challenge you can face.

Sky Sports pundits Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Rob Key know all about that having taken on the great Aussie side containing the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath on their own patch during their playing days.

In the Sky Cricket Ashes preview podcast, the trio look ahead to another eagerly anticipated series and highlight some of the areas where the urn could be won and lost…

Mike Atherton – Warner the key to Australia’s batting

I think David Warner is so important. If I look at their team, the axis of their batting is Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne and I’d say they’re both kind of bankers for getting runs and having good series. Of course, you never know, there is uncertainty in the game and you never quite know but they’re top, top players.

David Warner had a torrid time in the last Ashes series in England

Warner has been a top player, and has just had an excellent T20 World Cup, but he had that issue with Broad in England – very different conditions, obviously. [The] Kookaburra [ball], Australian pitches are very different from [the UK] but he’s been on the wane a little bit.

I think he holds such an important position because if he struggles early on and you can get into Labuschagne and Smith early, then Australia’s batting doesn’t look fantastic if Warner has an iffy time of it.

If, suddenly, he comes good and shows that he’s still a world class player in Test cricket and you put that alongside Smith and Labuschagne, it starts to look a very different Australia team.

Broad enjoyed great success against Warner back in 2019

I do think that mouth-watering battle between Warner and Stuart Broad, if he plays at the start, is going to be significant. All the talk of who opens with Warner, I know they’ve made their decision now, but they’re kind of banking on Warner to get back to his best.

At the start of the series, England will be desperate to just unpick a few uncertainties that might be there from the last series that he had against them. If they do then Australia’s batting doesn’t look absolutely fantastic. They’ve got some top-class players in there, but I think Warner is key.

Nasser Hussain – Big first-innings runs imperative for England

We all know Broady well, he’s worked with us, and we always go on about Australia: the bowling attack, the Kookaburra ball and having a point of difference, playing Mark Wood and having that extra pace, and Broad always says ‘yeah, that’s a good point, excellent but, actually, you need runs.’

England captain Joe Root has enjoyed a stunning year so far but who else can contribute with the bat?

You need big, big first-innings runs. I always go back to when I woke up on the first morning at Brisbane on the last tour out there – and England were going really well, they were 145-2, James Vince was batting beautifully, Ian Chappell was waxing lyrical about him, and then Vince is run out and England are bowled out for 300. England lose and they go on to lose the series heavily.

In England, if you get 300 in your first innings, against the Dukes ball, you will win most of your games with Broad, Anderson, Woakes, Robinson and the conditions we have seen in the last decade. Now there is a weather pattern going on in Australia, but, in your normal Australian conditions, if you get 300 in your first innings, you will lose more games than you win because the opposition will go on and get 400 or 450 and then you’re chasing it. Then it starts to spin and get a little bit uneven.

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The way to attack Australia is big first-innings runs and you go back to 2010-11 and the likes of Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Prior, they got massive runs in the first innings and then you’ve got a bowling attack that can compete.

That, for me, is the mindset of big runs and it cannot just be Joe Root. You don’t get 450-500 with just Root.

Rob Key – Ashes are no time for rest and rotation

The last thing I want to hear about after last winter and the summer is rest and rotation. For this Ashes series, surely you don’t want to try and be too clever and think already ‘we’re not going to play Jimmy Anderson in the third Test’. Do it as you go.

Anderson has 632 Test wickets to his name and is still going strong at the age of 39

So, if you turn up to the next Test and, say, Stuart Broad feels that he’s struggling a bit then you leave them out. You don’t have this pre-emptive plan to rest and rotate players. You just turn up to every Ashes Test match and say ‘what is our best team? What is our best attack for the conditions to win this game of cricket?’

Forget about that stuff we had all last winter. I know we’re not going to be flying people home and giving them a Test match off. This is The Ashes, surely, we don’t want to be hearing about rest and rotation?

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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