This series will pit the immaculate conservative Alastair Cook against the dangerous gambler Michael Clarke. On paper, England should win easily; their batting looks solid and seasoned, their pace attack sharp and incisive, their spin superiority unarguable. But Australia shouldn’t be underestimated – Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson represent a raw but formidable bowling attack, Clarke’s a peerless run gatherer these days and their new coach Darren Lehmann should infuse them with a dose of no-nonsense Aussie derring-do.
This will be closer than anyone thinks. Sadly, the Ashes will, once again, have no live free-to-air TV footprint whatsoever. Those without Sky will have to rely on the estimable ‘Test Match Special’ while looking out for C5’s nightly highlights package.
When one of the smartest Italian restaurants in the Square Mile decides to do a casual spin-off, it doesn’t mean you can show up in your flip-flops or bring the kids. So don’t let the rustic harvest festival-esque display or cute table bouquets of herbs and fruit fool you either. L’Anima’s little sister might have a softer look and more relaxed menu than the white and chrome flagship, but it’s every bit as City slick.Located just one street away from chef Francesco Mazzei’s original restaurant, this expansive, glass-fronted spot boasts more than just a ‘less formal’ eatery. There’s also a bar with all-day dining to soak up those after-work drinks or cheeky afternoon pints, and a deli is packed with take-away Italian salads, pizza by the slice and sweet snacks for lunching office workers.Soon after we sat down a welcome trolley arrived. It was loaded with excellent own-made breads ranging from cheesy grissini to swirls of ’nduja (a spreadable, spicy Calabrian ‘sausage’) plus dips such as roasted aubergine, and an anchovy and tomato version of the ancient Roman fermented fish sauce, garum. There’s no such thing as a free breadstick in the City, though, as this costs £3.75 for a selection. As with L’Anima, the restaurant menu here is inspired by southern Italian cuisine. The presentation has few of the artistic smears and blobs you’ll find at the older sibling, and you won’t find the the pasta mountains that an Italian mamma would fatten her family up on. Instead the dishes are