South Africa in Australia / News

Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 1st day

Play of the day

Peter English at Melbourne

December 26, 2005

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Brad Hodge received a huge reception from the crowd but couldn't get going today © Getty Images

Brad Hodge is the second Victorian batsman to play a Test since Dean Jones' career ended in 1992 and his home supporters made his entrance as loudly memorable as those of his mentor and predecessor. The MCG had only mumbled until Matthew Hayden departed three overs before tea, but it rumbled as Hodge made his final preparations and exploded when he appeared in the players' tunnel flanked by security guards.

Stopping on the boundary to adjust his pad straps, he deserved a moment to settle after the moving expression of favouritism and his heart must have thumped like the spectators' hands. "He got the biggest response I've ever heard on a cricket ground," Ricky Ponting said. It explained his wild second-ball hook that cleared Mark Boucher but not his post-tea edge from Shaun Pollock.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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