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Peter English and Andrew Miller at the SCG
January 5, 2011
Ian Bell's maiden Ashes hundred was a worthy reward for a series in which he has regularly looked the most fluent batsman on either side, but he did not reach the landmark without courting controversy. On 67, and facing up to Shane Watson, Bell appeared to get a thin inside-edge through to Brad Haddin. Australia were certainly convinced, and Aleem Dar's finger went up after a brief pause, but Bell demurred, and wandered down the track to chat to his partner before half-heartedly gesturing for the third-umpire review. Hot Spot, however, showed no discernible mark, and after a long delay the decision was overturned, much to Australia's chagrin. A few overs later, the Snickometer verdict came in, and sure enough, there was an edge on the ball.
In the course of his astonishing assault on the record books, Alastair Cook did require a few moments of good luck. On 46, he was spared by a no-ball, as the spinner Michael Beer overstepped to rob himself of a maiden Test wicket, and on 99, Beer was out of luck once again, as Cook jabbed down late on a rising delivery, for Phil Hughes at short leg to scoop the ball with his fingertips. Neither he nor Brad Haddin seemed entirely convinced by the catch, but they went ahead with their appeal all the same, while Cook stood in his crease shaking his head. Sure enough, replays showed that the ball had bounced millimetres short, and off he marched to his third hundred of the series.
Bronzed Aussie hero
Steve Waugh's legend status as the SCG was sealed eight years ago when he brought up a career-extending century with a four from the last ball of the day. Today his image was set in stone behind the Members' Stand, the moment captured from the celebration of that magical Ashes hundred. "That was probably the most pleasing moment of my career," Waugh said. "There were about 30,000 people at the ground but probably 100,000 people have told me they were there." Waugh's sculpture includes his famous red handkerchief, but there was a temporary pink scarf around its neck to support Glenn McGrath's foundation.
Jane McGrath Day
The SCG was awash with pink as a tribute to Jane McGrath, the late wife of Glenn. The now annual day has a range of activities to raise money for breast cancer nurses throughout Australia. Brett Lee, who has been named in Australia's 30-man World Cup squad, looked smart in a pink jacket before play and both sides walked on to the ground over a pink carpet. The Ladies' Stand was renamed the Jane McGrath stand and the scores were posted on a pink background.
Shane Watson was handed the McGilvray Medal as the ABC's Test Cricketer of the Year before play for his 897 runs and 19 wickets in 11 Tests in 2010. The prize was named after the late commentator Alan, who finished more than 50 years of broadcasting in 1985, and was presented by his son Ross. At the end of the day Peter Siddle was recognised as the Australian Cricket Media Association's Emerging Player of the Year.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo and Andrew Miller is UK editorFeeds: Peter English
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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