Jets hope to welcome center Mark Scheifele back after missin

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On Tuesday, beneath a purple south-coast sky, England completed the demolition of Sri Lankas cricketers. While England were brilliant with bat, ball and in the field, Sri Lanka were poor: a judgement that can apply to many of the days of battle between these two countries during the past two months. There is a sadness in saying that. Sri Lankans have hidden behind transition, a word that serves to highlight the impossible task of replacing great cricketers who have moved on to other fields and commentary boxes. It has been a wonderful ride, top and tailed by the twin departures of first Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva, then of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and exaggerated by Muttiah Muralitharans stellar career. But the ride is over and the mighty bump at its end is hurting like hell.Touring England in the early months of summer is a devilish business. Many are the strokemakers from the subcontinent to have perished at the hands of refreshed and voracious English swingers and seamers of the ball. Sending Angelo Mathews team to Leeds and Durham first up bordered on cruelty. Not that his team was as embryonic as perceived. Most were on the successful trip two years ago, but Mahela, Kumar and Tillakaratne Dilshan were with them to lean upon. Now that the pillars of the pre-transition days have gone, the immediate future of Sri Lankan cricket is a worry. A tighter and stronger first-class playing structure is urgently needed, along with calmer and more consistent governance. Like Barbados, Sri Lanka is a small island with a big heart and, seemingly, an unconditional affection for cricket. It would be wise not to push that unconditional affection too far.The score in the three series of matches was 20-4. Reasonably, you do not know what the heck that means. Suffice to say that in an attempt to heighten interest, the ECB introduced a points system for all the matches in the three formats - four for a Test match win and two for a white-ball win. So England smashed it, but then we do know that. Oddly, there was no prize. Come to think of it, neither was there an announcement of the triumph or even any form of acknowledgment. Caesar stopped Rome for his victories. It will be interesting to see if the idea is pursued or pushed quietly aside.Cricket needs context but then most of us know that too. Wade eight pages into the bowels of the Times sports section - a paper that genuinely cares for cricket - and you will find a seven-paragraph report on Tuesday nights match but no picture. Deemed more important than Englands T20 cricket fortunes are European Championship football - a tournament from which England were unceremoniously dumped by Iceland but in which Wales caused a stir; Wimbledon, which still has Andy Murray involved, and of course, the Williams sisters on a charge; lots of Jose Mourinho and Manchester United; and a little of Mark Cavendish in the Tour de France. On the front pages in these turbulent times, and destined to stay for a while yet, are Brexit and Boris, Theresa and Jeremy and all who sail in and around their political aspirations. Alastair Cook made the front page on May 31st for a personal aspiration of his own, his 10,000th Test match run, but that was crickets sole jump from one end of the paper to the other since Carlos Brathwaite shattered the English dreamers in the last over of the World T20 final back at the beginning of April.The point is that in the midst of summer, cricket is marginalised. Even diehards struggle to remember where the Sri Lankan games were played and what happened. Cricket must be very careful. Its hat is thrown in the T20 ring but only one T20 match was played between the sides. Five 50-over matches - the format of the game, apparently, that is on the bones of its bum - and one T20. Why? Three, three and three must be the way forward, with just enough of a gap between each to allow the marketeers their moment. And there must be a reason for it all, a tally towards something bigger and brighter that gathers momentum, reaches a crescendo and crowns a champion. I am playing an old record but we cannot expect the game to chug along in its present vacuum: the danger signs are clear and present. What have we learnt about England? Enough to encourage but little about which to become complacent. There are good young players, impressive determination, and an exciting athleticism in the county cricketers of the day. Very few appear fazed by their exposure to the big time - witness Liam Dawson and Tymal Mills on Tuesday - and most, if not all, are strongly driven by the possibility of England colours. The limitations of the county game, it seems, have kept expectation in check.There appears to be favour for the multi-dimensional cricketer, and for a kinder face. The fear so evident in the eyes of Englands footballers on the dreadful night they were humiliated by Iceland is nowhere to be seen on the faces of the cricketers. Rather there are signs of the clear thinking that empowered the rugby players to win so well in Australia, and of the modesty that has long prevailed in that fine sport.This is a good period for the English game, indicated by fine leadership, strong management and uncomplicated coaching. Subtly, there has been a destructuring of general affairs that has allowed the players freedom of thought and expression. It is less than three years since an unnamed England player said: It can feel as if there is no escape, as if everything you do is being assessed and analysed and stored away. If you are not careful, it can wear you down. It is incredibly difficult to come to terms with. Much, if not all, of that pressured team environment has been stripped way. The emphasis of the moment is on enjoyment and stability, the consequence of which is a dressing room of smiles.Having said that, Pakistan have the ability to wipe away smiles. At Lords next Thursday, a true test of Englands progress will begin in a Test series that is hard to call. There are four Test matches, the seemingly obligatory five one-day games, and a T20 - all against feisty opponents who boast a fine and varied bowling attack to make good the unpredictable nature of batsmen whose minds and feet move in the shadows of the wind. If Englands cricketers are still unbeaten after September 7th, the curtain call will reflect a magnificent performance rather than simply a job well done. Cheap Basketball Jerseys UK . This should be celebrated because it will not always be this way. With the amount of money given to players by their clubs these days, it is a wonder that so many of those teams allow the sport to continue to take away many of their assets so they can play for a different team in the middle of their season. Cheap Jerseys UK .com) - Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer were easy first-round winners Tuesday at the Australian Open. http://www.cheapnbajerseysuk.com/ . -- Ryan Blaney provided more evidence that Penske Racings No. Cheap Authentic NBA Jerseys UK . The Masters champion and winner of last weeks Australian PGA has a three-round total of 14-under 199 at Royal Melbourne. "Im in a really good position for tomorrow," Scott said. Clearance NBA Jerseys UK . Rinne played two periods in his first game since left hip surgery in early May. Gabriel Bourque scored 3:07 into the second period and Austin Watson tallied 5:15 later for Nashville. WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- If there ever was a David versus Goliath matchup in the NHL, the New York Rangers versus the Winnipeg Jets is it.Hockeys largest population base versus its smallest, a team with more than 90 years of history versus one with just five (in its most recent incarnation), a squad with four Stanley Cup victories and a perennial contender versus one with not only zero championships but not a single playoff game win.Heck, the original Jets history goes back to the days of the World Hockey Association when the Rangers outbid virtually every other NHL team to sign Swedish superstars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson away in 1978.So, yeah, you could say the Jets are polishing up their slingshots in advance of facing the blue shirts Thursday night at 7 p.m. (CST) at the MTS Centre. This is the second and final meeting between the two squads. The Rangers defeated the Jets 5-2 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 6.The Jets have been relying heavily this season on super rookie Patrik Laine, who not only leads all first-year players with 17 goals, but is tied with some guy named Sidney Crosby atop the NHL goal-scoring parade. The Winnipeggers will need some help from some slumping players to take the pressure off the 18-year-old, including his linemate, Nikolaj Ehlers. The 20-year-old notched 15 goals and 38 points last year but has only managed four goals and 19 assists while playing primarily on the top line this season.He is currently mired in a 14-game goal drought but hes not losing any sleep over it.Im still scoring points, were winning games -- its not a big deal for me, Ehlers told the Winnipeg Sun. So Im not too worried. But I wouldnt mind that one goes in soon.Hes not getting much sympathy from Laine.He cant score in Playstation, either, he said.Presumably, Henrik Lundqqvist is between the pipes whenever the two youngsters play the video game version of the Rangers but that wont be the case on Thursday as backup Antti Raanta will get the start.ddddddddddddRangers coach Alain Vigneault said he believes Lundqvist, who hasnt cracked the top 10 in goals against average, save percentage, win and shutouts this season, has another level.Hes our top player, you know. Hes been doing it for quite a few years. I would tell you that you look at any team right now thats winning and they are getting consistent Grade A goaltending. Were no different than anybody else. We need consistent Grade A goaltending, he told the New York Post.Both teams will be without key cogs in their wheels. The Jets hope to welcome center Mark Scheifele back after missing three games with a lower-body injury but theyll still be without defenseman Tyler Myers (lower body) and forwards Nic Petan, Shawn Matthias and Joel Armia, all out with lower-body injuries, too.The most notable absence in the Rangers lineup is center Rick Nash, who is out with a groin injury. Others who wont be suiting up include forwards Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms), Matt Puempel (concussion) and Mika Zibanejad (broken leg).If the game turns into a battle of specialty teams, the ice will definitely tilt in favor of the New Yorkers. The Jets power play is 21st in the league, operating at 15.5 percent, a significant drop from the Rangers, who are currently in ninth position and 21 percent. The Rangers kill off 84 percent of all the penalties they take, good for 10th in the NHL, far ahead of the Jets, who emerge unscathed from 80 percent of their short-handed situations, or 24th best. 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