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The pick of the games in the first rounds of The Hundred

The pick of the games in the first rounds of The Hundred
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Joe Root v Ben Stokes, Jason Roy v Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer v Jonny Bairstow are among the match-ups of England Test players.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced its male Test stars will be available to take part in the first two rounds of The Hundred, lending their star power to the launch of the new format.

Organisers and fans would probably have liked to have the best-known players around for even longer, but the demands of the forthcoming India Test series mean they must quickly refocus on red-ball cricket.

A statement read: "Players selected in the squad for the first two Tests will be available to play in The Hundred for each team's first two matches. Those players will then leave their respective Hundred teams to join up with the Test squad."

With the women's competition also pitting international stars against each other, PA Media picks out some of the most enticing head-to-heads from those early fixtures.

Round 1:

Jason Roy (Oval Invincibles) v Jos Buttler (Manchester Originals)

Jos Buttler will hope to shine in the new competition
Jos Buttler will hope to shine in the new competition (David Davies/PA)

Two of England's big-hitting World Cup stars clash in a mouth-watering opening men's fixture at the Kia Oval. The pair are undoubtedly two of the biggest draws in the competition.

Shafali Verma (Birmingham Phoenix) v Heather Knight (London Spirit)

England's Heather Knight will captain London Spirit
England's Heather Knight will captain London Spirit (Steven Paston/PA)

India opener Verma, 17, is a fearless, clean-hitting batter that could have the crowd on the edge of their seats. It will be interesting to see how Knight, captain of England and the Spirit, deals with her.

Round 2:

Sophie Ecclestone (Manchester Originals) v Issy Wong (Birmingham Phoenix)

Ball could have the edge over bat in this encounter with Ecclestone, the left-arm England spinner, on one side and the pace of Wong on the other. Ecclestone is regarded as one of the world's best bowlers and has previously excelled in the T20 format while Wong's speed captures the imagination.

Joe Root (Trent Rockets) v Ben Stokes (Northern Superchargers)

England's Ben Stokes (left) and Joe Root (right) will be on opposite sides in The Hundred
England's Ben Stokes (left) and Joe Root (right) will be on opposite sides in The Hundred (Nick Potts/PA)

The presence of two of England's senior and most inspirational figures on opposite sides adds plenty of stardust to this fixture. Root's brilliance in all forms of the game and Stokes' talismanic flair almost guarantee excitement.

Jonny Bairstow (Welsh Fire) v Jofra Archer (Southern Brave)

Jonny Bairstow will hope to provide the spark for Welsh Fire
Jonny Bairstow will hope to provide the spark for Welsh Fire (Nigel French/PA)

Two more England stars meet at Sophia Gardens. Archer has endured an injury-hit start to the season but fans will hope he can crank up the pace as he comes up against Bairstow.

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England's Chris Woakes celebrates with teammates against Sri Lanka on July 4, 2021
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ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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