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The Sydney Test (possibly part 1 of several)

A bit of preamble before I write my thoughts about the off-field events of the past 24 hours.

I have seen very little of the Sydney Test, won by Australia late yesterday afternoon. I was on holidays with my daughter for most of the week and listened to the second half of Sunday's play on the radio at home. (If I really wanted to, I could probably have made the dash across to the ground when they threw the gates open for free at 4.30pm.)

Sydney Day Three: You did *what* for an MBE?

"You got an MBE, right? For scoring seven at the Oval? It's an embarrassment."

- Dr Shane Warne to Paul Collingwood MBE, Sydney Cricket Ground, 4.1.07.

Now we all know that the credibility of the British honours scheme is in tatters, but the decision to hand out gongs to the 2005 Ashes team a year ago was really a bit silly, something that I wrote about at the time.

Tis raining

12.30am in Sydney, ten hours before the scheduled start of the Warne-McGrath-Langer-Buchanan grand finale. It has been raining fairly steadily for the last three or four hours here, about six kilometres west of the SCG.

Having said that, the forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the showers will be restricted to morning and night.

Yabba wouldn't have said it

Some unhappy news in today's press about reports of racial abuse directed at Monty Panesar at the SCG during the England v NSW game this week.

My heading says it all. The great man, Yabba, was a witty barracker in his day ("Hey Jardine! Leave our flies alone!"), but he would never have hit below the belt.

There are plenty of good-natured ways of getting a point across without resorting to abuse, racial or otherwise.

Some day my Ashwell will come

It was great to see Ashwell Prince bring up that century at the SCG yesterday, if only to see a South African with personality do so well...

The partnership of 219 for the fourth wicket between Prince and Kallis, though a little slow by contemporary Test standards, has put South Africa in the box seat for this game, and let's face it, it's healthy for the sport any time Australia is made to struggle these days.

Watching Shane Warne bowl to Prince yesterday gave me this perverse image of the same bowler with a slightly plumper girth and longer blond hair being smashed around by Ravi Shastri on this same ground fourteen years ago, almost to the day.

On the morning of Day Three, the start of play (at the absurdly early TV-driven hour of 10am) has been delayed. It's gloomy and overcast in Sydney and barely drizzling. Goodness, if this were Old Trafford or Headingley they'd be saying conditions are ideal for cricket!

Steve Waugh's last day at the office

Kumble bowls. Waugh sweeps. He lofts it high in the air. Tendulkar waits just inside the square leg rope and takes the catch. And it's all over.

After 18 years, 168 Tests, 260 innings, 82 scores of fifty or better and 10,927 runs, Steve Waugh had played his last innings for Australia. He scored 80 and helped Australia draw the Fourth Test against India.


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