Premier League pre-season 2018: a full list of all the clubs’ friendlies | Football

All dates and kick-off times BST. All information correct at time of publication
26 July Atlético Madrid (National Stadium, Singapore) 12.35am
28 July Paris Saint-Germain (National Stadium, Singapore) 12.35am
1 August Chelsea (Aviva Stadium, Dublin) 8.05pm
4 August Sevilla (Friends Arena, Stockholm) 7pm

20 July Levante (La Manga Football Centre, Murcia) 7pm
27 July Bristol City (Ashton Gate) 7pm
28 July Nottingham Forest (City Ground) 3pm
3 August Real Betis (Vitality Stadium) 7pm
4 August Marseille (Vitality Stadium) 3pm
Brighton & Hove Albion
21 July AFC Wimbledon (Cherry Red Records Stadium) 3pm
24 July Charlton Athletic (The Valley) 7.45pm
28 July Birmingham City (St Andrew’s) 3pm
3 August Sporting Lisbon (Amex Stadium) 7.45pm

Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert in action against Swiss side St Gallen. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

20 July Macclesfield Town (Moss Rose) 7.45pm
20 July Curzon Ashton (Tameside Stadium) 7.45pm
23 July Preston North End (Deepdale) 7.45pm
28 July Montpellier (Turf Moor) 1.3opm
5 August Espanyol (Turf Moor) 1.30pm
Burnley also face Aberdeen in Europa League qualifying on 26 July (A) and 2 Aug (H)
Cardiff City
18 July Bodmin Town (Priory Park) 7pm
20 July Torquay United (Plainmoor) 7pm
4 August Real Betis (Cardiff City Stadium) 1.30pm
23 July Perth Glory (Optus Stadium, Perth) 12.30am
28 July Internazionale (Allianz Riviera, Nice) 7.05pm
1 August Arsenal (Aviva Stadium, Dublin) 8.05pm
5 August Community Shield: Manchester City (Wembley) 3pm
7 August Lyon (Stamford Bridge) 8.05pm

David Luiz and Marcos Alonso during a Chelsea pre-season training session at their Cobham base earlier this month. Photograph: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Crystal Palace
21 July Oxford United (Kassam Stadium) 3pm
28 July Reading (Madejski Stadium) 8.05pm
4 August Toulouse (Selhurst Park) 4pm
18 July Bury (Gigg Lane) 7.45pm
21 July Lille (Estadio Algarve) 8pm
22 July Porto (Estadio Algarve) 8pm
26 July Blackburn Rovers (Ewood Park) 7.45pm
4 August Valencia (Goodison Park) 3pm
21 July Lyon (Stade Pierre Rajon, Bourgoin-Jallieu) 9pm
1 August Sampdoria (The Recreation Ground) 7.45pm
4 August Celta Vigo (Craven Cottage) 3pm

Huddersfield Town lost an early pre-season match at Accrington Stanley. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Huddersfield Town
22 July Darmstadt (Merck-Stadion) 2pm
26 July Lyon (John Smith’s Stadium) 7.45pm
31 July Bologna (Brixen Im Thale, Austria) 2pm
3 August RB Leipzig (Schwaz, Austria) 4pm
Leicester City
21 July Notts County (Meadow Lane) 3pm
1 August Valencia (King Power Stadium) 7.45pm
4 August Lille (Stade Pierre-Mauroy) 5pm

19 July Blackburn Rovers (Ewood Park) 7.45pm
22 July Borussia Dortmund (Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina) 9.05pm
26 July Manchester City (MetLife Stadium, New Jersey) 1.05am
28 July Manchester United (Michigan Stadium) 10.05pm
4 August Napoli (Aviva Stadium, Dublin) 6pm
7 August Torino (Anfield) 7.30pm
Manchester City
21 July Borussia Dortmund (Soldier Field, Chicago) 2.05am
26 July Liverpool (MetLife Stadium, New Jersey) 1.05am
28 July Bayern Munich (Hard Rock Stadium, Florida) 4.05am
5 August Community Shield: Chelsea (Wembley) 3pm
Manchester United
20 July Club América (University of Phoenix Stadium) 3am
22 July San Jose Earthquakes (Levi’s Stadium, California) 10pm
26 July Milan (Rose Bowl, California) 4.05am
28 July Liverpool (Michigan Stadium) 10.05pm
1 August Real Madrid (Hard Rock Stadium, Florida) 1.05am
5 August Bayern Munich (Allianz Arena) 7.15pm

José Mourinho speaks to the press during Manchester United’s pre-season tour to China in July 2016. Photograph: John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Newcastle United
24 July Hull City (KCOM Stadium) 7.45pm
28 July Porto (Estádio do Dragão) 7.30pm
1 August Braga (Estádio Municipal de Braga) 7.30pm
4 August Augsburg (St James’ Park) 3pm
21 July Derby County (Pride Park) 3pm
1 August Celta Vigo (St Mary’s) 7.45pm
4 August Borussia Mönchengladbach (St Mary’s) 3pm

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Tottenham Hotspur
26 July Roma (San Diego County Credit Union Stadium) 3.05am
29 July Barcelona (Rose Bowl, California) 4.05am
1 August Milan (US Bank Stadium, Minnesota) 1.35am
4 August Girona (Estadi Montilivi) 7pm

Fraser Forster poses for a photo during Southampton’s recent trip to Shanghai. Photograph: Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

21 July Fortuna Düsseldorf (Esprit Arena) 2.30pm
27 July Stevenage (Broadhall Way) 7.30pm
28 July Brentford (Griffin Park) 3pm
4 August Sampdoria (Vicarage Road) 3pm
West Ham United
21 July Preston North End (Deepdale) 3pm
25 July Aston Villa (Villa Park) 7.45pm
28 July Ipswich Town (Portman Road) 3pm
31 July FSV Mainz 05 (Kufstein Arena) 5.30pm
3 August Angers (Stade Raymond Kopa) 5.30pm
Wolverhampton Wanderers
19 July Ajax (Johan Cruyff Arena) 2pm
25 July Stoke City (Bet365 Stadium) 7.45pm
28 July Derby County (Pride Park) 3pm
4 August Villarreal (Molineux) 3pm

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These are the 4 remaining Tour de France stages you absolutely have to watch

Here is your all killer, no filler guide to the best stages of the 2018 Tour de France.
I adore the Tour de France, but it can be a lot. The world’s most famous cycling competition will begin with 176 riders this year hoping to survive nearly 2,100 miles over the course of 23 days. Stages often start at 5 a.m. and finish around noon, and in that time the action comes in fits and spurts, and you have to rely on the dulcet tones of announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen to keep you occupied.
I’m OK with that. I am perfectly content looking at the French countryside and the colorful fans by the side of the road in the long, quiet spaces between the massive crashes and the sudden, unexpected attacks on the peloton. The Tour de France is much more than a competition to me; it’s a celebration of country and will.
But I’m not everyone, and I would understand wanting just the good stuff, the straight shots of mayhem, legendary climbs, and history-in-the-making moments that also make the Tour one of the best and most compelling competitions in the world.
And what a Tour we have in store. Chris Froome is as vulnerable as he has ever been since his yellow jersey dominance began in 2013, with his Giro d’Italia win still sitting in his legs from May and a doping scandal looming over him. Romain Bardet of France, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands, and Nairo Quintana of Colombia lead the favorites capable of stopping Froome from winning the general classification for a fourth straight year.
If you were me, you’d watch every second of it. But you’re not, so let me help you. Below is the all killer, no filler experience: the five remaining stages you absolutely have to watch if you want to catch the biggest moments of this year’s Tour de France. Allons-y.
The 4 remaining stages you absolutely shouldn’t miss during the 2018 Tour de France
Stages 10, 11, and 12 — The Tour goes right to the Alps off a rest day and that’s terribly mean
Tuesday, July 17. 158.5 kilometers from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand
Wednesday, July 18. 108.5 kilometers from Albertville to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo
Thursday, July 19. 175.5 kilometers from Bourg-Saint-Maurice les Arcs to Alpe d’Huez
I’m lumping these stages together for two reasons: 1) They are all hard and potentially Tour-defining, and 2) They are all lined up after the first rest day, which is particularly cruel.
From a physiological standpoint, the second week may be the hardest of the three-week Tour. Riding a bike as fast as you can for hundreds of miles on successive days is a shock to the body, and after the first week, Tour riders are in a state of near-trauma — they’re losing muscle mass, they can’t possibly put back in all the nutrients and calories they lose, their immune systems tank, and so their bodies quite literally fight back against them. It is common for many riders to abandon the Tour due to illness on the first rest day.
So imagine feeling like absolute shit — perhaps the worst you have ever felt in your life — then being told you have to climb this:

Followed by this:

Followed by this:

On back-to-back-to-back days.
I can’t tell you which of these three stage will be the most decisive. Any or none of them could swing the yellow jersey competition. And all of them are special in their own ways.
Stage 10 features a devilish new climb — Montée du Plateau des Glières — that averages an 11.2 percent gradient for six kilometers, and gets as steep as 20 percent. The cherry on top is the gravel road to greet riders at the summit. [Update: Julian Alaphilippe won Stage 10 with a brilliant solo attack. It was awesome.]
Stage 11 is a shotgun blast — at 108.5 kilometers, it’s the second shortest stage of the Tour — with scarcely any flat road, which means that riders will have to be on constant watch for attacks from the outset. [Update: Geraint Thomas won the stage to secure a healthy lead on the yellow jersey over his teammate, Chris Froome. It was … interesting.]
Stage 12 completes the triumvirate with three of the Tour’s most iconic climbs: the Col de la Madeleine, Col de las Croix de Fer, and, of course, Alpe d’Huez for a :chef’s kiss: finish. Among the giants, however, is my favorite climb of the Tour, the Lacets de Montvernier. Lacets translates roughly to shoelaces, which makes sense once you take one look at the climb.

These three days are going to be as gorgeous as they are mean.
Stage 17 — A cannonball stage with an F1 start
Wednesday, July 25. 65 kilometers from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan
I called Stage 11 a “shotgun blast,” which fits. Most other years, it would have been the shortest stage of the Tour. This year, however, organizers decided to do something supremely weird.
Stage 17 is not only the shortest stage of this year’s Tour de France at 65 kilometers, it’s the shortest non-time trial stage in 30 years. Which, mind you, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Riders will be in a constant state of ascending or descending, and given that it should be one of the last few decisive days of the Tour, expect a popcorn-worthy stage, complete with brave and/or foolish solo attempts towards the final mountain top finish at the highest point of the race.
And because somehow all that’s not enough, riders will be starting the stage in an F1-style grid, in which the yellow jersey will be given pole position at the front of a staggered start based on each rider’s ranking in the general classification.
It’s hard to tell what effect the grid will have on the racing. Will leaders wait for their teammates to catch up behind them so that they don’t have to tackle the opening climb alone? Will it favor the stronger teams that may have several riders among the top 20? Or will it favor the solo artists who won’t have to bother fighting through a pesky peloton to make their inevitable move? Isn’t this kind of stupid and potentially ruinous for sprinters who need all the help they can get not to miss the disqualification time?
Nobody knows! Cycling is big and stupid and wonderful, but above all stupid.
Stage 19 — The Queen Stage?
Friday, July 27. 200.5 kilometers from Lourdes to Laruns
The Queen Stage refers to the most demanding, and potentially decisive stage of the Tour, and at 200.5 kilometers with two Hors Catégorie climbs, it’s hard argue that Stage 19 doesn’t have bona fides. But I’ll be honest, I just got really excited writing about all of the compact fun of the last four stages, and I don’t know if Stage 19 can live up to that hype.
That said, get a load of this.

Stage 19 is an old school monster, with the long and steep and potentially llama-infested Col du Tourmalet smack dab in the middle. Col d’Aspin and Col d’Aubisque are nasty in their own right, and a descent finish could ensure a thrilling conclusion to the Tour’s last day of climbing.
With riders like Froome and Tom Dumoulin likely to take full advantage of the individual time trial the next day, expect the pure climbers — Bardet, Nairo Quintana, and the like — to go for broke to try to secure the yellow jersey with a healthy cushion.
Stage 20 — A time trial and a coronation
Saturday, July 28. Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette
Yes there’s still one stage after this, but the champagne-sipping ride to Paris is for sentimentalists only. The yellow jersey competition of the Tour de France effectively ends on the last Saturday, and it should be decisive with gobs of time available in the time trial.
If Chris Froome is in the lead heading into the stage, it will be near impossible to rip the yellow jersey off of him. Last year, he finished fourth in the Stage 20 time trial, six seconds off the lead and well ahead of any general classification challengers, to win the Tour de France. If he is to be dethroned, he will have to have suffered in the mountains and be needing precious seconds back.
The good news for those challengers is that at 31 kilometers, this year’s time trial is very short, and an up-and-down parcours capped by a steep 900-meter climb near the finish should give the pure climbers a boost. (If you haven’t noticed, the French course designers may really want Bardet to win).

These solo final exams, after three very long weeks, are always compelling to watch. After thousands of miles of agony, the Tour comes down to a bunch skinny dudes, their bikes, and nothing else in their way except the will to push their screaming legs just a few more meters.
And then, mercifully, it ends.
Honorable mention
Consider these the B-sides.
Stage 14, Saturday, July 21 — Yep, another fun profile, but a stage that may or may not actually affect the yellow jersey. The Category 2 climb to the finish is no joke though — three kilometers at 10.2 (!) percent.
Stage 15, Sunday, July 22 — Climbier than Stage 14, but a long descent before the finish probably ensures that no one with GC aspirations is able to take much time. It should be a great day for a breakaway to go the distance, however, especially coming just before the second rest day.
Stage 16, Tuesday, July 24 — Two big climbs within the last 50ish kilometers make this a good stage to flip on late. Before that, though, is about 160 kilometers of … not much. There is an extant chance that a yellow jersey contender makes a move, but given what’s to come on Stage 17, most riders may opt to save their spray.
Stage 21, Sunday, July 29 — That’s it! It’s all over! Wake up early and drink champagne with the victor, enjoy the sights along the Champs-Élysées, work up a sweat during the 30 seconds at the end when the racing is actually interesting, then slip into a long, deep, and peaceful Sunday nap. You’ve earned it.
Stage 3 — A team time trial to raise the stakes
Monday, July 9. 35.5 kilometers in Cholet
BMC Racing won the stage, putting classics-specialist and defending Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet in a much-deserved yellow jersey. Richie Porte (BMC), Chris Froome (Sky), and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) all made up a significant chunk of the time they lost on Stage 1 crashes. It was a whole lot of fun. Here’s a full recap.
Sunday, July 15. 156.5 kilometers from Citadelle to Roubaix
A hectic day of crashes and dust was capped with a beautiful stage victory for John Degenkolb. The German rider who had suffered a horrific training accident in 2016 was moved to tears after the victory, which he dedicated to a close friend who had passed away recently.
It was a much worse day for BMC Racing, which lost Richie Porte to a crash early in the race, then saw assumptive team leader Tejay Van Garderen lose minutes to crashes and mechanical errors of his own. Education First-Drapac’s Rigoberto Uran was another big loser, shipping nearly two minutes on the stage because of a late crash. It was wild, touching, and a whole lot of fun. Here’s a full recap.
Stage 10 — Brutal Alps stage Pt. 1
Tuesday, July 17. 158.5 kilometers from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand
Just two days after France won the World Cup, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe soloed away from the field with 30 kilometers remaining in the Tour’s first mountain stage and won handily, securing the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey in the process. Farther back, little changed in the general classification. It was still a whole lot of fun. Here’s a full recap.
Stage 11 — Brutal Alps stage Pt. 2
Wednesday, July 18. 108.5 kilometers from Albertville to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo
Geraint Thomas won the stage with an attack with five kilometers to go, overcoming Tom Dumoulin and securing the yellow jersey. Teammate Chris Froome finished 20 seconds behind, setting up palace intrigue going forward with the Sky teammates now the best positioned riders for the yellow jersey. It was a whole lot of fun. Here’s a Full recap.

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Tesco Mobile Review: How’s The Coverage?

Richard Goodwin

03/07/2018 – 2:37pm

Is Tesco Mobile a legit option for your phone and tablet in 2018?

Tesco Mobile, Talk Mobile, is a virtual network that is actually powered by O2.
The big idea with Tesco Mobile is to offer low prices and excellent value for money.
This is similar to the company’s objectives with its supermarkets.
But because it is a virtual network, there are limitations, though coverage, generally speaking, is pretty good.
Tesco Mobile Coverage

2G: 99%
3G: 98%
4G: 78%

Tesco Mobile 4G Speeds
Because Tesco’s network runs on O2’s, speeds and coverage should be more or less the same.
Though, for some reason, Tesco’s network has slightly less coverage, overall, in the UK.
Tesco Mobile 4G Speeds
O2’s 4G network is excellent, and so too is Tesco’s by proxy.
The company has 99% coverage for 2G, 3G, and 4G across the UK.
On top of this, O2’s coverage also boasts 98% coverage indoors as well , which is pretty significant, as most people tend to use their phones indoors.
The O2 4G network is available in over 16,000 towns and cities in the UK, which include:
Antrim, Bradford, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bridgend, Brighton, Burnley, Castleford, Coleraine, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Leigh, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, London, Macclesfield, Newtownabbey, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Pontypool, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, St Albans, Sittingbourne, Southampton and Tamworth.
O2 4G Download Speeds
O2 has one of the lowest 4G speeds, according to OpenSignal data. Tesco’s should be exactly the same.
However, O2’s network ranked bottom of the major four with just 15.16Mbps.
EE topped the list with an impressive 29.02Mbps
O2 is very respectable when it comes to network latency, matching EE (almost) with 42.84ms, according to OpenSignal.
O2 4G Speed Test
O2 only managed 14.11Mbps, making it the slowest overall of the UK’s major phone networks.

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Best camera deals for Amazon Prime Day: Super savings on Canon and Sony snappers

Amazon Prime Day can be daunting, to say the least. There are so many deals on so many products that it can be hard to sift through them. Even when you do find an offer that takes your fancy, there’s always the niggling feeling that you might have missed something even better.
Luckily, we’ve done some digging on your behalf so that you can snap up the best camera deals without the hassle. Below are the most heavily discounted cameras in Amazon’s Prime Day sale. Most of these are Spotlight deals, meaning they’re available from now until the end of Prime day (11:59pm, 17 July).
We may be adding some further Lightning deals to this list, so keep an eye out. Lightning deals always offer massive savings but the stock is as limited as the savings are expansive.
Below are our top picks for the best camera deals of Amazon Prime Day 2018. For even more Prime Day discounts, head to our roundup of the best Prime Day discounts across all technology categories.
READ NEXT: Best camera 2018
Amazon Prime Day 2018: Best camera deals
1. Sony Alpha A7 (was £899, now £569) – Buy now from Amazon
Our top pick of Amazon’s Spotlight camera deals is the Sony Alpha A7. Originally retailing for £899 before Prime Day rolled around, you can pick up the compact system camera at the discounted price of £569 – that’s a saving of £330. While Amazon has knocked a generous £180 off the RRP, you can save the further £150 with Sony’s current cashback promotion. The offer is only valid if the camera is bought and dispatched from Amazon, so be careful you’re not buying from a third-party reseller. 
2. Sony DSC-HX350 (was £279, now £189) – Buy now from Amazon
Looking for a compact bridge camera on the cheap? Thanks to Prime Day, and Sony’s £30 cashback promotion, you can pick up the Sony DSC-HX350 at its new price of £189. That’s a £90 saving in total. Claim cashback from Sony’s website but be sure the camera is ‘sold and dispatched from Amazon’, as third-party resellers are exempt from the offer. 
3. Canon EOS 80D (was £1,220, now £1,090) – Buy now from Amazon
Another Prime Day Spotlight deal for you: the Canon EOS 80D has dropped to £1,090. Retailing for £1,220 earlier this month, you’ll pocket a lovely £120 saving. Decent.  

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Confessions of a smartphone addict: Google, I need help

It is always ready to be pulled out at any time, whether I’m at the restaurant table or even on the toilet: that’s how much I need my smartphone. In the future, Apple and Google want to improve digital well-being and make people more aware of how much time they give to their phone. At least I have hopes for my own well-being.

I don’t know what ransomware is.
Is this also the case for you?

I love my smartphone. With it I can stay in contact with friends at any time, check the delay of the next train, order a taxi, check the weather of the next days and of course read news from all over the world. But even before Apple and Google presented features for a more conscious handling of the device, one thing is certain: many people really do spend too much time with their cellphone.
At 31 years of age, of course, you should expect me to consciously use my smartphone and spend at least some time without my daily companion in my pocket. But even I only succeed partially. It is much more difficult for people who are used to the smartphone with a permanent Internet connection from a young age, isn’t it?
The experiment
That’s exactly what New York Times editor Brian X. Chen wanted to check out. He wanted to do an experiment with the child of one of his colleagues and asked himself: who spends more time with the smartphone and how useful are the new functions of Screen Time really? Can the smartphone mindfulness tool really make a difference?

Apple and Google want a more conscious use of the smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

With the feature that comes with iOS 12 on the iPhone, users can check how much time they spend with different apps and the smartphone itself. Furthermore, you can set your own limits so that apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp or the browser can only be used for a certain period of time per day. Times during which the functions of the device are restricted can also be defined.
The result after three weeks: The 14-year-old daughter of the colleague used the smartphone for just over three hours a day instead of well over six. She also said she could concentrate better on housework and sleep with fewer interruptions. Although it bothered her time and again to have a smartphone without being able to use it fully, she felt encouraged in her good habits.
The first step is admitting I have a problem
In addition to realizing that the restrictions made less difference to the young girl than previously assumed, the tool implemented by Apple also helped the editor to analyze and question his own smartphone behavior.
Shockingly, I recognize myself in some of the behaviors of both protagonists. I sometimes turn on the smartphone display for no reason and yes, sometimes I just scroll back and forth between the home screens. And I’m certainly not alone in this. Alone on the way to work, I spend most of my time on my cell phone.

Too many of us lose sleep from obsessively checking our phones at night. / © AndroidPIT

Of course scrolling through the Twitter timeline is also part of my work. But sometimes you find yourself browsing aimlessly through the Facebook app or refreshing a website for no reason. And last but not least before going to bed, the phone is pulled out again to satisfy the FOMO (Fear of missing out).
Are Google and Apple trying to save us from ourselves, or themselves?
Do Google and Apple now want to change the world and tell the smartphone addict to fight back and reclaim themselves? I don’t think so. But of course both companies are aware that the aimless use of the device in particular does not provide any useful data for them, advertisers and app developers. So why not play “the good guy” and promote a conscious use of the smartphone?

Opinion by Christopher Gabbert

My doctor didn’t test me, but I think I have a bad case of FOMO.
What do you think?

For my part, I’m curious about the new well-being functions of Android P and will certainly check the settings more often at the beginning to check what I’ve been doing with the smartphone all day. Whether I still do this after one month or just stare at the home screen again to distract me remains to be seen. I have hope.
Now ask yourself, and be honest: how consciously do you share your time with your smartphone? Do you welcome the new digital well-being tools or do you still have everything under control?

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This $20 DIY kit makes your NES, SNES or Mega Drive controller wireless – TechCrunch

I have to hand it to 8BitDo. At first I thought they were just opportunistically hawking cheap hunks of plastic in an era of unparalleled nostalgia for retro games, but… well, who am I kidding? That’s exactly what they’re doing. But they’re doing it well. And these new DIY kits are the latest sign that they actually understand their most obsessive customers.
While you can of course purchase fully formed controllers and adapters from the company that let your retro consoles ride the wireless wave of the future, not everyone is ready to part with their original hardware.
I, for example, have had my Super Nintendo for 25 years or so — its yellowing, cracked bulk and controllers, all-over stains and teeth marks compelling all my guests to make an early exit. I consider it part of my place’s unique charm, but more importantly I’m used to the way these controllers feel and look — they’re mine.
8BitDo understands me, along with the rest of the wretches out there who can’t part with the originals out of some twisted concept of loyalty or authenticity. So they’re giving us the option to replace the controllers’ aging guts with a fresh new board equipped with wireless connectivity, making it a healthy hybrid of the past and present.
If you’re the type (as I am) that worries that a modern controller will break in ways that an SNES controller would find laughable, if it could laugh, then this will likely strike your fancy. All you do is take apart your gamepad (if you can stand to do so), pull out the original PCB (and save it, of course), and pop in the new one.
You’ll be using more or less all the same parts as these famously durable controllers came with (check out this teardown). The way the buttons feel shouldn’t change at all, since the mechanical parts aren’t being replaced, just the electronics that they activate. It runs on a rechargeable battery inside that you recharge with an unfortunately proprietary cable that comes with the kit.

If you’re worried about latency… don’t be. On these old consoles, control latency is already like an order of magnitude higher than a complete wireless packet round trip, so you shouldn’t notice any lag.
You will, however, need to pick up a Bluetooth adapter if you want to use this on your original console — but if you want to use the controller with a wireless-equipped setup like your computer, it should work flawlessly.
If you buy it and don’t like it, you can just slot the original PCB back into its spot and no harm is done!
There are conversion kits for the NES and SNES, the new Classic Editions of both, and the Sega Mega Drive. At $20 each it’s hardly a big investment, and the reversible nature of the mod makes it low risk. And hey, you might learn something about that controller of yours. Or find a desiccated spider inside.

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Microsoft Surface Pro Prime Day deals: Over 30% off the 2-in-1 laptop king

When the latest Microsoft Surface Pro first hit the shops, pretty much our only complaint was its price. Although it’s the most advanced 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid we’ve ever reviewed, it poses a real threat to unsuspecting wallets.
The newest Surface Pro improves on last year’s Surface Pro 4 in almost every area, with a premium design, top-notch performance and Windows 10 Pro, making it a legitimate alternative to a standard laptop – both for work and for play.

READ NEXT: Microsoft Surface Pro review

The ever-generous Amazon gifted us all with a massive discount on the latest Microsoft Surface Pro, and tech-hungry buyers can save over 30% on certain deals. For the duration of Amazon Prime Day 2018, which officially ends at 11:59pm on July 17, you can get our favourite 2-in-1 laptop for the cheapest it’s been since last year.
Also nudging in on the Surface Pro action is Currys PC World; running its own rival Prime Day sales event, and there are hundreds of tech deals up for grabs. Below we’ve laid out the best Microsoft Surface Pro deals available on both websites.
Microsoft Surface Pro deals: Amazon Prime Day 2018

NOTE: There are multiple packages available here, and you can still save if you want a more powerful Surface Pro with a newer Intel processor, additional RAM, or extra SSD.
£379 off Microsoft Surface Pro Intel Core m3-7Y30, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD (was £1,129, now £729)
£336 off Microsoft Surface Pro Intel Core i7-7660U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SDD (was £1,549, now £1,212)
£283 off Microsoft Surface Pro Intel Core i5-7300U, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SDD (was £1,249, now £965.48)
Microsoft Surface Pro deals: Currys July Sale

10% off Microsoft Surface Pro – Intel Core i5-7300U, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD and Type Cover (use checkout code “MIC10”)
This is the cheapest you can currently buy the i5 model of the Surface Pro, and with the Type Cover thrown in at no extra cost, this is an absolute bargain. 
Stay tuned for more Microsoft Surface Pro deals now until the end of Prime Day and Currys July Sale.
For our top picks of the best deals, check out our Amazon Prime Day and Currys July Sale deals pages.

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Ready or not, the world’s first VR water slide is here

Virtual reality and water slides seem like things that shouldn’t mix. One is a still nascent technology that generally tends to rely on delicate and sensitive electronic equipment, and the other is a form of entertainment that largely involves sliding fast in an enclosed space filled with water — things which generally tend to have harmful effects on delicate and sensitive electronic equipment.
And yet, here we are, with VRSlide, which recently opened at Galaxy Erding in Germany, and proudly lays claim to the title of “first virtual reality water slide.” Now, adding virtual reality to theme park rides isn’t really anything new: Six Flags teamed up with Samsung to add Gear VR headsets back in 2016, and later upped that to augmented reality in 2017 that lets you see your surroundings.

The tech behind the VRSlide is pretty impressive — it’s a wholly custom waterproof headset that can be completely submerged (up to a few meters), powered by an integrated Samsung Galaxy S8 that runs custom software for the VR experiences, which are built in Unity. There’s a two-part tracking system that both utilizes the S8 to listen to ultrasound chirping from sensors and monitors the inertial data that gets compared to riders of various weights to figure out exactly where users are. The headsets also recharge wirelessly, making it easy for parks to constantly swap sets in and out throughout the day.

Impressive tech, but to what end?

But as interesting as this tech is, the whole thing just seems a little depressing to me. Were water slides so boring that we needed to spice them up with blocky, almost-PS1-era 3D graphics that let you have the thinnest illusion of being in space or on a snowy mountain? Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t the whole point of a roller coaster or water slide the experience of moving fast and flying around? What could a smartphone-based VR system possibly be adding here?
I remember back when I was younger, Six Flags revamped one of my favorite roller coasters, Medusa, into Bizarro. The ride itself was completely unchanged, but — along with the new paint job and DC Comics merchandise everywhere — Six Flags added a blaring speaker system to the ride for blasting the sound effects of a dramatic Superman battle into rider’s ears. I’m sure it did very well for them, but I get that same sense of weariness looking at the VRSlide as I did when riding Bizarro for the first time, wishing I could just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Ballast — the company behind VRSlide — is viewing this as the first step toward a larger kind of aquatic VR setup, one that would see full, impressive tanks that users could swim in while in virtual reality. It sounds far more intriguing than simply strapping a headset onto a water slide, but unfortunately that system isn’t quite ready for commercial roll out just yet.
Disclosure: Stephen Greenwood, the CEO of Ballast VR, is a former Verge employee.
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Prime Day 2018: The best sports-related deals for Fitbits, Under Armour apparel, Adidas shoes and more

Here’s sports fan’s curated list for every Prime Day essential.
The fourth annual Amazon Prime Day is officially in session, which means that during the next 36 hours there will be tons of good deals on merchandise, apparel, fitness trackers and other fun sports-related items.
Maybe you’ve been keeping an eye on the Fitbit you’ve always wanted, or a pair of running shoes that caught your eye awhile back. Well, this is the perfect chance to pounce and purchase the items you’ve been keen on for awhile.
Here’s a look at the best sports-related deals we found for 2018 Amazon Prime Day. This list will be updated as more deals drop over the next 36 hours.
Fitness Trackers
There’s several smartwatches this year that are running at reduced rates for Prime Day.
Details: The Fitbit Prime Day deals run from July 16 at 3 p.m. ET until July 18 at 2:59 a.m. ET

Fitbit Alta HR, Black, Large for $89.95 (usually $149.95)

Fitbit Alta HR, Black, Small for $89.95 (usually $149.95)

Fitbit Alta HR, Black, X-Large for $89.95 (usually $149.95)

Fitbit Alta HR, Blue/Gray, Large for $89.95 (usually $149.95)

Fitbit Alta HR, Blue/Gray, Small for $89.95 (usually $149.95)

Update: Good news! Amazon has released new deals for the Nokia Steel HR and Hybrid Smartwatches with a 30 percent discount. The offer runs from July 16 at 10 p.m. ET to July 18 at 9:59 a.m. ET.

Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch Black Silicone 40mm Silver/Black for $139.96 (usually $199.95)

Nokia Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch Black Silicone 36mm Silver/White for $125.96 (usually $179.95)

Update: There’s several Garmin smartwatches currently on sale and up to 50 percent off for Prime Day. Check them out!

Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch for $129.99 (usually $199.99)

Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band for $199.99 (usually $249.99)

Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch for $229.99 (usually $299.99)

Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch for $124.99 (usually $249.99)

Garmin vívofit 4 activity tracker for $59.99 (usually $79.99)

Garmin vívosport Smart Activity Tracker for $127.49 (usually $169.99)

Apparel and Merchandise

Save up to 40 percent on Under Armour apparel, shoes and accessories (deals run from July 16 at 3 p.m. ET until July 18 at 2:59 a.m. ET)

Save up to 20 percent on NBA gear (deal runs from July 16 at 10 p.m. ET to July 18 at 9:59 a.m. ET)

Save up to 20 percent on NHL gear (deal runs from July 16 at 10 p.m. ET to July 18 at 9:59 a.m. ET)

Save up to 30 percent on select adidas products (deal runs from July 16 at 10 p.m. ET to July 18 at 9:59 a.m. ET)

Save up to 30 percent off New Balance apparel (deal runs from July 16 at 10 p.m. ET to July 18 at 9:59 a.m. ET)


Under Armour Men’s Charged Bandit 4 Running Shoe for $48 (usually $80)

Under Armour Women’s Charged Bandit 4 Running Shoe for $48 (usually $80)

Under Armour Men’s Micro G Pursuit Academy (400)/Black for $42 (usually $70)

Under Armour Men’s Micro G Pursuit Steel (101)/Rhino Gray for $42 (usually $70)

Under Armour Men’s Micro G Pursuit Steel (102)/Black for $42 (usually $70)

Under Armour Women’s Micro G Assert 7 for $42 (usually $70)

Update: Here’s a selection of adidas shoes currently running on Amazon with big Prime Day discounts.

adidas Men’s Alphabounce Ck M Running Shoe Real Purple is 30 percent off (price varies depending on size)

adidas Men’s Questar BYD Running Shoe Base Green/Black/Grey is 30 percent off (price varies depending on size)

adidas Men’s Questar BYD Running Shoe Grey/Grey/Cloud White for $56 (usually $80)

adidas Women’s Alphabounce 1 W Ash Pearl/Legacy/Ash Pearl is 30 percent off (price varies slightly depending on size)

adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe Ice Purple/Grey Heather/White for $49 (usually $70)

adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe Maroon/Maroon/Trace Maroon for $43.64 (usually $70)


Silverback 50 inch NXT Portable Basketball Hoop for $383.97 (usually $479.96)

Spalding NBA 60” Hybrid Portable Basketball System for $599.99 (usually $799.37)

Butterfly Personal Table Tennis Table for $492.99 (usually $579.99)

To match with Amazon, a few other retailers are offering discounts
As an offset to Amazon Prime Day, other notable retailers are also serving up deals to celebrate the online shopping event of the summer. Follow along as we take you through the best of the rest.
The big sports merch store is offering 15 percent off on orders of $65 or more through July 17th. Use Promo Code: ARENA
We told you about the first Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys that dropped last week, but for those of you who missed it, here’s the perfect chance to order his new Juventus kit at a discounted price.

Ronaldo Juventus adidas 2018/19 Home Replica Jersey for $119.99

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus adidas 2018/19 Home Authentic Jersey for $159.99

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus adidas Youth 2018/19 Home Replica Jersey for $99.99

The retail giant is offering a ton of deals and discounts in their sports and fan shop.
We’ve seen everything from baseball hats, to basketball hoops to Spikeball sets on sale or on clearance for the big event.
Details: Walmart is offering free two-day shipping on all orders of $35 or more, with no membership fee, plus free returns.
From the Fan Shop

Chicago Cubs Deluxe Grill Cover for $34.99 (usually $58.99)

Coleman Quad Chair with 4- to 6-Can Cooler, Dallas Cowboys for $29.99 (usually $34.84)

Coleman Quad Chair with 4- to 6-Can Cooler, Oakland Raiders for $35.99

Los Angeles Dodgers ‘47 Basic Adjustable Hat for $9.47

Michigan Rolling Cooler for $63.63

MLB New York Yankees Basic Cap for $9.47

NFL Dallas Cowboys “Track” 4 Piece Twin Bed in a Bag Bedding Set for $33.99

Rawlings Green Bay Packers Canopy for $103.02 (usually $168.96)

Rawlings Denver Broncos Canopy for $103.02 (usually $169)

Other deals to check out

Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler with Wheel for $44.95 (usually $54)

DUNLOP Easy Fold Outdoor Table Tennis Table for $139 (usually $199.99)

EastPoint Sports Stars & Stripes Cornhole Bean Bag Toss Game for $34.99 (usually $39.99)

Lifetime Adjustable Portable Basketball Hoop for $79.99 (usually $129.94)

Spalding NBA Portable Basketball Hoop for $197 (usually $270)

Spikeball 3 Ball Set for $59.99

Follow along with our live blog as we track all the latest deals and sales from Prime Day as they go live.
Looking for more product reviews, shopping guides, and good deals on sports merchandise and apparel? Check out our new Buy Stuff section.

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England chasing 257 against India to win third ODI and series – live! | Sport

2.09pm EDT14:09

37th over: England 219-2 (Root 78, Morgan 73) Back comes Bhuvi Kumar, as Kohli fiddles with the stable door and the horse heads off into the distance. That’s drinks, with England needing only 38 off 13 overs, at a rate fractionally below three. I’m not sure they could mess this up if they were managed by Sam Allardyce.
And here’s Ian Copestake. “Can cricket be used to explain Brexit, or used to cure the divisions?” he wonders. “Do Brexiters despair watching English Indian fans at Headingley (and elsewhere)? I think I have answered my own questions. Carry on.”

2.03pm EDT14:03

36th over: England 213-2 (Root 75, Morgan 70) Another decent over from Kuldeep, but decency is not enough. It’s all over bar the presentation.

2.02pm EDT14:02

35th over: England 210-2 (Root 74, Morgan 69) Reprieved by the no-ball, Root celebrates with a lofted on-drive for four to leave Chahal nursing some wounded pride and figures of 10-0-41-0.

1.59pm EDT13:59

Not out!

It’s a no-ball. Got to feel for Chahal there – it would have been out.

at 1.59pm EDT

1.58pm EDT13:58

Mid-35th over: England 200-2 (Root 68, Morgan 69) Morgan thumps the first ball of Chahal’s last over for four to deep square, only to be beaten by a beauty that turns like something out of a song by Duckworth-Lewis. Then there’s a review for a stumping against Root…

1.55pm EDT13:55

34th over: England 196-2 (Root 68, Morgan 64) A better over from Kuldeep, who has answered the commentators’ plea and dropped his pace below 50. His series average, once in single figures, has ballooned to 15.

1.52pm EDT13:52

33rd over: England 193-2 (Root 67, Morgan 62) A few more singles off Chahal, who has kept the boundaries down, to just two off his nine overs, without providing the cutting edge that India were crying out for.
“Brexit metaphors?” snorts Ravi Nair. “Brexit is going as well as an eggless flourless cake being cooked by focussed sunlight in an Antarctic winter snowstorm.”

1.48pm EDT13:48

32nd over: England 188-2 (Root 65, Morgan 59) Kuldeep returns too, but he has gone from a magician to something manageable. England’s two captains take four off the over, which is now marginally more than they need.
An email entitled “Machines of doom” arrives. It’s Brian Withington. “Would that dastardly Fate-Tempt-o-Meter [27th over] share any design features with the Mockers-Max-o-Matic (patent pending)?” Ha.

1.44pm EDT13:44

31st over: England 184-2 (Root 62, Morgan 58) Chahal commands respect, as he has all afternoon, without finding the breakthrough. In the absence of a decent contest, we need a new topic of conversation. How do you feel Brexit is going, then?

1.41pm EDT13:41

30th over: England 181-2 (Root 60, Morgan 57) Morgan plays a pull for four off Thakur, who is then a touch unlucky as he persuades Root to edge a leg-glance and Dhoni misses a half-chance. That looks like that, but Kohli is trying spin again.

1.38pm EDT13:38

29th over: England 175-2 (Root 59, Morgan 52) Root drives Pandya, loosely but not dangerously, to third man, to bring up the hundred partnership off 119 balls. It’s the second game in a row that Morgan and Root have done that. Root is heading for Man of the Series, but Morgan would be just as good a choice, after that brave decision to bat first at Lord’s.

1.34pm EDT13:34

28th over: England 170-2 (Root 58, Morgan 50) Morgan, noticing that there’s no slip for poor old Thakur, plays a dinky deflection for four. A couple of singles later, he plays a more full-blooded shot outside off to reach fifty off 58 balls. Come on India, do something.

1.29pm EDT13:29

27th over: England 165-2 (Root 57, Morgan 43) Back comes Pandya, who doesn’t concede a boundary. The trouble is, it’s all about wickets now. Only a classic English collapse will do, and there’s no sign of one – at the risk of setting off what was known in the press box during the 2005 Ashes as the Fate-Tempt-o-meter.

1.25pm EDT13:25

26th over: England 159-2 (Root 55, Morgan 40) Thakur continues, for reasons I can’t explain, and Morgan helps himself to a cut that is more of a shredding.
And here’s Kimberley Thonger again. “Hugely impressed with John Starbucks’ filmic knowledge [19th over]. Have started plagiarism action against Lasse Halleström, the movie’s director, although due diligence suggests if he’s prepared to settle out of court he could be an excellent reserve wicketkeeper for the tour, and could make a fly on the igloo wall documentary to boot, thus immortalising the actual combatants.”

1.20pm EDT13:20

25th over: England 152-2 (Root 54, Morgan 35) Root, spotting Kuldeep’s length early again, takes a big confident stride and cover-drives for four to bring up yet another fifty, his 41st in 116 ODIs (including the 12 hundreds). Morgan, not to be outdone, whacks a straight four with a shot that’s straight off the hockey field, all eye and wrist and self-belief.

at 1.21pm EDT

1.16pm EDT13:16

24th over: England 143-2 (Root 49, Morgan 31) Kohli, in desperation, goes back to seam in the form of Thakur. He concedes a few singles and when he tries a bouncer, it’s given as a wide, which rather sums up India’s day. They need to manufacture a wicket, by hook or by crook: then they’re down to Ben Stokes, who is well out of form.

1.12pm EDT13:12

23rd over: England 138-2 (Root 47, Morgan 29) Kuldeep returns, and after a couple of dots Root plays a classy sweep, all along the ground and fine enough to beat short fine leg.
“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Nick Parish. “This is a slightly different riff – obviously this is a terrible cover but it firmly crosses over into ‘so bad it’s good’ territory. After all, who wouldn’t want to hear Lemmy singing about how hard it is to be a woman on this cover of Stand By Your Man?” Who indeed.

at 1.13pm EDT

1.08pm EDT13:08

22nd over: England 134-2 (Root 43, Morgan 29) Chahal keeps it tight again. He’s conceded only 21 off seven overs, but he hasn’t been able to give Kohli the one thing he craves: a wicket.

at 1.13pm EDT

1.07pm EDT13:07

21st over: England 131-2 (Root 41, Morgan 28) Morgan, facing Raina again, is like a man returning to the hotel buffet. He gives himself room outside off to play a lofted cover drive, and follows it up with something more orthodox, and just as clinical, in the same direction.
“Here’s the link,” says John Starbuck [previous over].

at 1.13pm EDT

1.02pm EDT13:02

20th over: England 121-2 (Root 40, Morgan 19) A tidier over from Chahal, but it will take more than tidiness to turn this round.

12.58pm EDT12:58

19th over: England 119-2 (Root 39, Morgan 18) Kohli turns to his third spinner, Raina – the option Morgan didn’t go for with Root. Raina drops too short and after Root misses out, Morgan thumps him to the square-leg fence. That’s drinks, with England nearly half-way to a big win.
And John Starbuck is back for another spell. “If Kimberley Thonger [11th over] wants to know what a Nordic version of ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’ sounds like, he should check out the film My Life as a Dog (1985), where the Swedish version is the only record played.”

at 1.01pm EDT

12.53pm EDT12:53

18th over: England 112-2 (Root 38, Morgan 12) Chahal half-deceives Morgan, twice, but fortune is favouring England after their bold start.
“Afternoon Tim.” Afternoon, Brian Withington, where on earth have you been? “Talking of Iceland and cover versions, you would need to travel a very long way indeed to find a better cover of anything than this collaboration between Todmobile and Jon Anderson. Like a Vince cover drive on a sunny afternoon – sublime.”

at 1.01pm EDT

12.51pm EDT12:51

17th over: England 112-2 (Root 38, Morgan 12) More of the same. Kohli is trying to make something happen, but it’s just not working: the spin twins have none for 38 off eight overs.

12.49pm EDT12:49

16th over: England 108-2 (Root 35, Morgan 11) Root plays an uppish tuck, not unlike the one that did for Bairstow, but he evades the man at midwicket. He’s motoring along at a run a ball, right back in form.

12.46pm EDT12:46

15th over: England 103-2 (Root 31, Morgan 10) The Indians have been guilty of a few misfields and another one brings Root two overthrows, to turn a single into three. Morgan feels relaxed enough to pull out the reverse sweep, which brings another three, and that’s the hundred up, off 88 balls. England are well on top, but they still have a wobble in them.

England batsman Joe Root Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

at 1.04pm EDT

12.43pm EDT12:43

14th over: England 96-2 (Root 27, Morgan 7) Root, using his feet like a dancer, spies a low full toss from Chahal and sweeps it for four. That’s five overs of spin that England have survived already, and they’ve taken 22 off them, which is all they need.

12.39pm EDT12:39

13th over: England 91-2 (Root 22, Morgan 7) Root is continuing with the masterclass in footwork that he began at Lord’s. He goes right forward to cover-drive Kuldeep for four, then right back to work him to midwicket’s right.
A tweet from Ravi Nair. “If we’re talking about cover versions of cricketers [8th over], then the grand daddy of them all is Sachin Tendulkar as the cover version of Sunil Gavaskar – The Little Master handing the baton over to the Little Master.” A rare case of the cover being even better than the original. Like Tainted Love.

at 12.41pm EDT

12.35pm EDT12:35

12th over: England 85-2 (Root 17, Morgan 6) Chahal has another shout for LBW against Morgan, but his leg-break is doing a bit too much. But he gets a moral victory, and a row of five dots before Morgan pushes up to long-on.

12.33pm EDT12:33

11th over: England 84-2 (Root 17, Morgan 5) Kohli, spotting that England only need four and a half an over, goes for spin at both ends. Root seizes on a short one from Kuldeep, goes right back and somehow pulls it for four without hitting his wicket.
Meanwhile Kimberley Thonger is getting ever keen on the idea of an Icelandic tour. “Combining the Iceland and cover version themes, I vouchsafe the proposed touring side team song could be I’ve Got A Luvverly Bunch Of Coconuts in a Björk style, accompanied by Sigur Rós on the marimba.”

12.29pm EDT12:29

10th over: England 78-2 (Root 12, Morgan 4) Chahal’s first over has it all: the run-out, a strong shout for LBW as Morgan misses a big leg-break (off-break to him), and then a cracking four as Morgan latches onto a long hop. “Indian curry,” says a banner, “make England worry.”

12.26pm EDT12:26

Wicket! Vince run out 27 (England 74-2)

It was tight, but not tight enough to save Vince, who was undone by some smart work from Dhoni, grabbing a throw and flattening the stumps in one motion. So Dhoni redeems himself, and poor old Vince, who hesitated fatally after Root’s call, is left to rue yet another elegant 20-odd.

at 12.26pm EDT

12.23pm EDT12:23


An appeal for run out against Vince, which looks very tight.

12.23pm EDT12:23

9th over: England 74-1 (Vince 27, Root 12) Root pulls Thakur for an imperious four, then takes a single and tells Vince that Thakur has resorted to cutters. Kohli is so grumpy that he’s off the field, presumably discussing what the hell he can do next. It looks straightforward from here: either the Indian spinners rip through England, or the series is lost. It’s all down to Kuldeep and Chahal.

12.19pm EDT12:19

8th over: England 67-1 (Vince 26, Root 5) Vince at his Vinceyest, standing up straight and creaming an off-drive, before going back to whip to long leg. Kumar has now gone for eight fours off four overs, and to add insult to insult, Dhoni is standing up to him.
“My brain has been trying to take the intersection of cricket and cover versions to a new level,” says Peter Salmon, “by thinking about cricketers who are cover versions of earlier cricketers.” Nice. “For instance it seems that it is the law that you can’t talk about Josh Hazlewood without mentioning Glenn McGrath. When James Vince came into the side he was always shackled to Michael Vaughan. Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed. Any others?”

12.15pm EDT12:15

7th over: England 57-1 (Vince 17, Root 5) Root at his Rootiest, going up on his toes to subject a perfectly respectable ball from Thakur to his back-foot caress for four. That brings the fifty up off 38 balls, and it’s followed by four leg byes as Dhoni adds a bit of incompetence to his intransigence. Has he lost it, do you think?

12.10pm EDT12:10

6th over: England 49-1 (Vince 17, Root 1) Joe Root nearly perishes to a comedy run-out – Vince’s revenge, perhaps, for being made to bat at three in Australia. Then Vince has a near-miss too, playing a Harrow cut for four. A better over from Kumar, who has changed ends in a bid to shake off the rust.

12.08pm EDT12:08

5th over: England 43-1 (Vince 12, Root 0) So Kohli was rushed into his first bowling change, but it worked, as Shardul Thakur nabbed the big wicket. Game on.
John Starbuck’s mention of possible tour of Iceland gets Kimberley Thonger going. “If there’s a requirement for a short portly military medium right arm over with Devon Malcolm tendencies in the batting department, I’m your man,” he says, irresistibly. “Available weekends until 18th December when I’m assisting SWMBO on a Hapsburg historical research venture in Segovia.”

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