It was hard to imagine Johnny Carson without Ed McMahon’s preamble: ‘And now, heeeeere’s Johnny.’ But does the world’s greatest Test wicket-taker really need an introduction as elaborate as he received today? Having given his hat to the umpire, dropped his bowling disc on the ground and begun the disposition of his forces, the SCG announcer thundered: ‘Change of bowling at the Randwick End. Ladies and gentlemen, would you please make welcome…[wait for it]…Shane Warne!’ Was this to distinguish him from Shane Watson, perhaps?
It’s fair to say that this was not a talent the announcer confined to Warne. When play resumed after rain, the umpires were greeted like long lost friends. ‘Ladies and gentleman, please welcome onto the SCG, Aleem Dar…and Billy Bowden.’ Such was the pause between the first and second names that one half expected Aleem Dar…and Sir Richard Branson. Not as silly as it sounds.