England tickled pink as they amass huge lead

January 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

While much of the SCG turned pink on day three in support of the Glenn McGrath foundation it was the red faces of the shattered Australian players that provided the most colour by the end of the day.

Those following the Live match score centre note that the morning began with England players presenting their special pink caps to McGrath himself in order to be auctioned off to raise funds for his foundation, set up in memory of McGrath’s late wife Jane, who died from breast cancer in 2008.

The generous gesture highlighted the good relations between the two sides, but as soon as the players crossed the white line the pleasantries were soon forgotten.

Alastair Cook, resuming the day on 61, was merciless. His patient start to the innings rewarded in the late afternoon as he took advantage of tired bowling from the wilting Australian players to smack 187, taking his tally in the series to 766. Only Wally Hammond, who hit 905 in the 1928/29 Ashes, now stands ahead of him.

He had a few scary moments, including when on 99 when he edged a Michael Beer delivery toward Philip Hughes at short-leg. The Aussie opener appealed and upon referral to the third umpire that appeal was rejected as the ball had clearly bounced before Hughes claimed the ball.

Commentator Ian Botham was quick to criticise the left-hander for trying to dupe the officials and though stand-in captain Michael Clarke defended the player after the game, you got a sense that from then on any spirit of fair play was lost on the Australian side.

Whether it was for that incident or the one the night before, when Cook’s wicket was spared only after the third umpire had spotted a no-ball upon referral, the Australian players weren’t forthcoming in applauding the England opener’s efforts when he finally made three figures.

The muted response was replicated when Ian Bell hit his century. Bell was involved in controversy himself when he referred a caught behind decision. Hotspot picked up nothing though the stump microphone and later snicko picked up a slight edge. He was also booed by the crowd when he made it to three figures and when he was finally dismissed for 115.

None of the incidents were the England players fault so the reaction of the Aussie players and fans was disappointing (Michael Hussey excepted). But rather than symbolising any animosity towards their opponents I think it merely reflects a side weary of being second best in yet another test match.

With a deficit of 208 and still three English wickets remaining it is hard for those studying the Latest Ashes scores to see a way out for the Australian players, who face losing a home series to England for the first time since 1987.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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