In Brief

Today’s back pages: Cape crusader Ben Stokes is England’s superhero and it’s blue murder at Old Trafford

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 8 January

Super Stokes shatters South Africa

England’s victory over South Africa in the second cricket Test dominates most back pages as the tourists celebrated their first win in Cape Town for 63 years. 

The Daily Express describes Ben Stokes as England’s “superhero” after the all-rounder followed up his five catches and quickfire 72 with a brilliant bowling display. 

It was “Cape crusader” Stokes who finally wore down the valiant South Africa resistance, taking three late wickets on the fifth and final day.

The Times says the drama illustrates why Test matches should not be shortened to four days. 

Stokes agrees, telling the paper: “It was an amazing game to be a part of. The atmosphere in the ground, it was like a home game.

“The fact that it went down to the wire proves why Test cricket should be five days and should stay five days.”

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Theatre of screams

The back page of the Daily Star is emblazoned with the headline “it’s blue murder” and that’s how Manchester United fans must be feeling this morning after their side were thrashed 3-1 by holders Manchester City. 

Pep Guardiola’s City side have one foot in the final of the Carabao Cup after their emphatic semi-final first leg win at Old Trafford, which is rechristened “Theatre of Screams” by The Sun. 

The paper says the manner of the defeat will once again increase the pressure on Red Devils’s boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The United manager described his team’s performance as their “worst” this season.

Shoe shock

The Times reports that World Athletics is being pressed to stop the spread of new running shoes that could transform the sport. 

The paper says that Nike’s controversial Vaporfly shoe has benefited distance runners, including Eliud Kipchoge, who wore them when he became the first man to run a sub-two hour marathon, and something similar could happen for sprinters. 

Such are the technological advances being developed by Nike in running shoes they “could allow inferior sprinters to break Usain Bolt’s world records”. 

The sport’s governing body has appointed a technical committee and when they file their report this month it’s expected they will recommend rules “that limit the thickness of soles and the use of carbon plates”.

Today’s newspaper back pages

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