The SCG goes pink and Mark Taylor declares
The middle day of the Sydney Test is when the SCG goes pink. A fan vote decides which one of the Channel 9 commentators has to dress up in pink from head to toe. Mark Taylor was the chosen one today, and he was more than game to do his bit for the Jane McGrath Foundation. From hat to boots, it was all pink for Taylor. It wasn't the last of spotlight that Taylor would enjoy.
For a man who scored 329 off 468, you wouldn't expect too many quiet periods in the innings. Michael Clarke, though, had one at the start of the day's play. In the first 20 overs today he didn't hit a single boundary. Off 55 balls in that period he scored just 17. Then he got one on the pads from Umesh yadav, and flicked it through midwicket. We were ready to roll again.
The faux declaration
When Clarke was around 319, the TV and big screen showed highlights of Mark Taylor's 334 not out against Pakistan. He had declared at that score overnight in Don Bradman's honour. There was a discussion all around as to when Clarke would declare the innings closed. By the time Clarke reached 325, the cameras obviously panned towards Taylor. Dressed in pink, Taylor stood up, and motioned the boys to come back. Unlike Ian Healy's segway show, this could not have been rehearsed.
The actual declaration
At exactly the half point of the game, at drinks in the afternoon session of day three, Clarke pulled put a mild surprise when he declared the innings with his score at 329. There were many records within sight, and there were two-and-a-half days to go. He caught everybody by surprise. The drinks had already come on to the field, he began walking towards them, and kept walking. Only then did Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag rush off the field to get ready.
Gautam Gambhir has had trouble leaving the short-of-a-length ball outside off. After day two, Duncan Fletcher said he was working to get him to be positive about it, and play it as he would normally do as opposed to being in two minds and ending up with a half-hearted dab. The first such ball Gambhir faced today, he upper-cut over gully, and went on to register his highest score in Australia.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo