McGrath hopes for late birthday present

Glenn McGrath had a 37th birthday he'd rather forget as he produced one of the worst performances of his swansong summer when England claimed the first CB Series final at Melbourne. The infamous McGrath scowl was working overtime as he made a duck, dropped Ian Bell, failed to take a wicket, misfielded on at least one occasion and was hit twice in the head by the ball in the field.
However, as he prepares for his final international appearance on his home ground he is determined to leave the home fans with more familiar memories. "Hopefully it won't be the last game in Australia for me," he said, referring to the fact an Australia win would lead to a third final at Adelaide on Tuesday.

"To walk out on the SCG there tomorrow, my home ground, my favourite ground in the world, I want to finish on a very special note." He added that Australia's second defeat to England in two matches really hurt the team, and that is no bad thing. "The loss to England the other night in Sydney hurt, but it probably didn't hurt enough," McGrath said. "Whereas last night really hurt. Sometimes you need that, especially leading into a big series like the World Cup.

"To have something like that makes us all refocus again and realise what's important and get out there and do the job properly. We let ourselves down last night but hopefully we can learn from it."

McGrath reiterated the words of Ricky Ponting after the defeat, saying the Australians simply blew their chances at Melbourne. At one point the home side were 1 for 170 and later England were wobbling at 3 for 15.

"The way we played yesterday was pretty disappointing," he said. "From the stage where we were one for 170 off 30 overs, you were expecting probably a score of 300-plus. And then we had our opportunities when we bowled. We gave England a massive chance and they grabbed it."

But McGrath has answered his critics more than once this season; don't bet against him having the final say again.