VVS Laxman lording it, tenpin trickshots and Nani's unappreciated japery | Classic YouTube

Guardian sport
VVS Laxman scored 17 Test centuries for India. Photograph: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

1) The final and deciding Test between India and Australia begins on Saturday; at the end of yet another belting series, the sides are level at 1-1. But well though the various characters have played, none has embroidered his name across proceedings with anything approaching the style of VVS Laxman. Here he is, scoring 281 at Kolkata in 2001; here’s Ian Chappell telling us about the best batting against spin that he’s ever seen; and here are full highlights of what is perhaps the greatest contest of all time. Yet Laxman wasn’t even voted man of the series – that honour went to Harbhajan Singh. Here’s his hat-trick, also at Kolkata, and here are all of his 13 wickets in the match. And finally, here are India securing the Border-Gavaskar at Chennai – where Harbhajan took another 15 wickets, giving him a mere 36 in the three matches.

2) Also this Saturday, Ant Crolla rematches Jorge Linares, after losing their first fight – and therefore his belt – on points in September. Other lighter-weight Brits to contest world titles include the council caretaker Jim McDonnell, who earned a shot by beating Barry McGuigan before losing to Azumah Nelson; Jim Watt; Duke McKenzie; and Naseem Hamed.

3) There’s nothing so hilarious as another’s misfortune. So, enjoy things going wrong on BBC Scotland’s Sportscene in 1980, with poor old Archie Macpherson handed an on-air talking-to by his boss and via telephone.

4) Once upon a time, Manchester United were carefree – here they are, celebrating the 2008 league title. As part of the japing tomfoolery, Nani makes sport at Rio Ferdinand’s expense, only for his humour to go tragically unappreciated. Tangentially, here’s a caller in to MUTV offering Gary Pallister a very unusual compliment, while for balance, here’s Pallister scoring a thunderbolt against Wrexham in the 1990-91 Cup Winners’ Cup.

5) Draw the curtains, pour yourself a tall glass of Personality, and enjoy this programme on the first hundred years of the Football League, 1888-1988.

6) The world is home to some unusual people. In entirely unrelated news, here is a collection of tenpin bowling trickshots.

Highlights from last week’s blog

1) Ivan Malakhov takes a little tumble in the Freeride World Tour.

2) Chris Paul, the LA Clippers’ wily, veteran point guard, sends Mason Plumlee hither and yon with a pump fake shot followed by a pump fake pass, before sinking a basket. And also that day, Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City Thunder, threaded a cross-court bounce pass through the legs of a defender, allowing Victory Oladipo to score.

3) In the final seconds of the USA-Canada Gold Cup game of 2007, USA led 2-1. Canada then equalised, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside – though the final pass was made by a defender.

4) As Sepp Herberger once asserted, “the ball is round” – but need that necessarily be so? Here’s the mathematician, Matt Parker.

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