My mate Tom and I went to the SCG today on the wettest Sydney day for a very long time. Consequently, play started late and was continually delayed by rain. Apparently it was rather controversial, with Glenn McGrath being reprimanded by the ICC for using bad language - something none us watching knew anything about. I remember Ponting coming along and speaking to McGrath for a short while before he started an over. Ponting ran back to his mark while McGrath did his little head shake thingy.
The highlight of the day was when Ritchie Benaud came onto the ground - something he rarely does. Everyone saw his cream jacket and went mad with applause. Again we didn't know why he was there but apparently he and his fellow commentators were livid that conditions were okay for play. There was a lot of rain today, but certainly the administrators could have added another 60-90 minutes of play. But Tom and I got free tickets, so we weren't complaining... well, Tom was since it was the first time he had EVER been to a Test match.
The other highlight of the day was the work of Sawdust Man. The groundstaff were trying constantly to keep the match arena dry, and two guys managed to work at drying the outfield - one driving a buggy around the edge of the play area while the other stood near the pitch, with a rope along the grass between them. The buggy would go along and soak up the water as it travelled over the playing surface. The problem was that a pile of sawdust was located in the bowler's run-up, half-way between the stumps and the boundary. The rope-drying process was great, but a groundsman had the responsibility of keeping the rope from hitting the sawdust, lest the pile be destroyed. So as the rope approached, he would get into position, and then lift the rope over the sawdust. 5 minutes later the rope-dryers were back as they travailed the ground in an anti-clockwise direction, and Sawdust Man would then keep the pile safe again. After about 3.00pm, Sawdust Man was the most interesting person on the field.
The administrators tried to keep us happy by playing a DVD of Australia's best one day matches since 1982 on the big screen. It was okay, except that the last 2-3 matches had very truncated reports. A few ads were played, with Michael Clarke and Simon Katich featuring prominently, which was a little bit depressing since both were not playing. Tom and I also got a little annoyed when, after the players and umpires had rushed off the ground during a downpour and being soaked ourselves from the event, the ground announcer would then come on and say "Ladies and Gentlemen, rain has forced a temporary halt in play...". Well, we all knew that Der brain head!
I thought the best thing for the SCG administrators to do in the circumstance would be to stop playing stupid cricket DVDs on the big screen and show something decent like Donnie Darko. I reckon the crowd and the officials and players would be entranced by the film, but no one would listen to me... that is, had I actually suggested it to anyone.
Another thing that annoyed us was the batting of Jacques Kallis. He came in on the first over of the day and when they walked off at around 2.30-3.00 he was 15 not out. Half an hour later Tom looks up at the scoreboard and says "Hey, Kallis is now 14 not out! He must be batting so slowly that they took runs off him." I suggested a more scientific solution involving quantum mechanics and time reversing itself but Tom was too interested in eating his $4 meat pie.
One great moment was when Kallis managed to hit yet another single somewhere around the ground. One wag behind us shouted "You bore me Kallis!". Kallis' slow-scoring was not unnoticed by experts. Kallis is the sort of guy who can keep South Africa from losing more often then he helps them to win - sort of like a Geoff Boycott figure except people actually think he's a nice guy.
Anyway, here's some pictures of the day:
Glenn McGrath - probably after he had been told he was being reprimanded by the ICC. He was fielding about 10 metres away from where we were sitting. I added a cropped version of the pic to his Wikipedia article. Another Wikipedia contributor added the picture to the article on the Australian Cricket Team. I actually tried very hard to get a good pic of Glenn since I knew I would add it later on to Wikipedia.
This was the view most people got used to during the day. In the middle, on the extreme right, you can just make out the pile of sawdust that transfixed Tom and I for most of the day.
A view of the Ladies' stand from where we were sitting in the Brewongle Stand. Interestingly, the ground announcer pointed out that it was "Lady's day at the SCG today".
My friend Tom is at least 7¾ the cricketer I could have possibly been if I had given the 180% effort that my natural talent required for me to actually score a run in any form of cricket. Yet, today was his first day EVER at the SCG, watching an international match for the first time. It was wet, occasionally cold, and quite depressing - especially when Tom realised that he could have fielded better than Glenn McGrath. On the way to the ground on the bus, he discussed the possibility that he was actually a better batsman than Stuart MacGill. I concur.
Tom knows English really good. This is the "vapid" shot. I like the sunscreen moustache personally...
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.