Australia v West Indies – SCG Test, Day 2: An off-white shade of beige

Stumps – West Indies 7/248

The Sydney Test, and Day 3 in particular, is coloured Pink.  Day 2, however, was nothing but grey – except for a small patch of cream, off-white, bone, ivory and beige.

The day dawns bleak and grey.  It isn’t raining in Penrith, but it has rained overnight and the road has that slick black gleam.  If it’s not raining at the SCG, some 50 kms away to the east, you’d expect that the ground would be damp and the proposed early start was not likely to happen.  But then the rain starts again.  I’ve given up predicting how long it will take for the weather at home to be reflected in the weather in the SCG, but the progression from drizzle to steady shower to downpour, before easing back to steady showers makes me pessimistic.

The fact that Channel 9 are showing “Party of Five” (which I distinctly thought was a Channel 10 show when it was first aired) suggests that there’s no likelihood of play for some time.  The ABC Grandstand team are speculating and Jim Maxwell is frustrated.  “It’s only mizzle!” he says over and over.  Maybe I’ll check to see if it’s been added to the Macquarie Dictionary or not.  I just hope the Channel 9 commentary team don’t start using it.

I suppose I shouldn’t whinge – at least I’m at home with the TV on mute, the radio in the background and scrolling through the latest outrages on social media.  I’ve been at the SCG during a rain delay before.  If the rain is heavier than mizzle then it can be very boring and you hope you’ve got a good book or a seat in the bar.  There are limited opportunities for people watching as everyone has scurried for shelter.  In the days before smart phones you might, if you’re lucky, see the Australian team physio do a TAB run for some of the players (my guess one was M E Waugh).

Hurrah! I’ve looked up at just the right time as the Australian team are going onto the field.  The ball is handed to Nathan Lyon and I wonder how long I’ll be able to stand the delay between Gerard Whately’s commentary and the vision.  It didn’t matter because Gerard told me that the players were coming off the field just as Lyons bowled his third ball.

What has caught my eye, though, is the tribute to one of Penrith’s many sporting progeny.  There is a campaign to designate today as Richie Benaud Day.  The Penrith lad who moved to Parramatta and then became one of Australia’s greatest all-rounders was honoured by 501 spectators dressed in silver white wigs, cream (off-white, bone, ivory or beige) jackets, and huge microphones.  They had musical instruments and they sang.  They were clustered in the concourse of the Churchill stand and looked to be the only people in attendance.  Marvellous effort that.

It is fitting to honour Richie Benaud, but maybe it’s best to do so by having the player of the Frank Worrell series receive the Richie Benaud Medal.  I’m struggling to remember the Richie Benaud from the commentary box and not the Billy Birmingham impersonation.  Benaud was the anchor of the commentary team and would always welcome you back – whether it was from lunch; from a news break or even welcoming the host city viewers to the final session of play when you didn’t get the television coverage unless the match was sold out.  His commentary was erudite and eloquent and understated.  Every word was warranted – a far cry from today’s commentators.

Ooh! Cricket! Nathan Lyon finishes his over; the Channel Nine commentators speculate as to when the new ball will be taken.  It isn’t long before we’re back off and who knows when or if they’ll be back.

An early lunch is taken.  The rain has subsided and so the players return.  Thankfully Carlos Brathwaite decided to make the most of it by standing up to the new ball and rapidly taking his score to 69 before being bowled by a James Pattinson yorker.  The Brathwaites have been, for mine, one of the few highlights of the West Indies Tests.  It was a little flash of light in an otherwise dull day.

Once the players left the ground, Channel 9 went to local programming.  At 2:22 pm there was a video tribute on the scoreboard to Richie Benaud.  Unfortunately no one thought to cross back from “Hot in Cleveland” to cover it.  It was just another disappointment in a disappointing day.


About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.


  1. Dave Brown says

    An understated Ch 9 commentator, Kath, fondly remember when that wasn’t an oxymoron. Hope you enjoyed their daytime televisual delights (& yes Po5 was definitely a Ch 10 show first time round. Funnily, they shared a graveyard with Buffy the Vampire Slayer so Buffy would regularly walk past the Po5 parents). Good stuff!

  2. Thanks for the report, Kath.

    On ABC Grandstand digital, the delay between the commentary and the action on tv is not so noticeable. Anyway, I reckon I would put up with a two-minute delay if it meant not having to listen to the Channel 9 commentators.

  3. John Butler says

    Spun something out of nothing there Kate. A trick seemingly beyond Stephen O’Keefe.

    Well played.

  4. Great work Kate. Loved all the Richies.

    Who would want to live in Sydney? All it does is rain.

  5. Love it Kath. Can never have too many Richie references.

    I wonder about cause and effect with commentary.
    Is the lack of capability, professionalism, competence of the current Channel 9 boys’ club pushing people away from watching Test cricket?
    I remember that feeling of excitement when it was Richie’s turn to commentate.
    “Perhaps I’ll watch an extra 20 minutes now…”

    If the mark of a player is how they perform under adverse conditions, that is a marvellous cricket report.

  6. Kath Presdee says

    Thanks guys. I’m glad my first efforts at the SCG were received more generously than Kate Fitzpatrick’s debut!

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Well done Kath. Like the idea of the Richie medal, but will we play the Windies in enough meaningful Tests in the future to make it worthwhile? Have read with interest recently the thoughts of several players from that 1960/61 series who thought Richie should have had equal billing with Frank Worrell for the trophy we now play for.

  8. Thanks Kath. “His commentary was erudite and eloquent and understated. Every word was warranted – a far cry from today’s commentators.” This is why he was supreme. Beautifully captured too. Shame this test is drowned.

  9. I hear that yesterday was the 21st days play abandoned in a test at the SCG ? I t his a record ? Maybe Manchester or Birminghma might have lost more days, but if someone can update me i’ll be appreciative.


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