Cricket turns into a day at the beach

Beach cricket will take on a whole new meaning at the SCG Test.
Beach cricket will take on a whole new meaning at the SCG Test.

IT'S often said summer in this country is about cricket and the beach, and this week Cricket Australia has brought both to the SCG.

Past greats Bill O'Reilly and Victor Trumper may turn in their graves but CA has transformed a bay of seating at ground level of the stands named after them into a "pop-up beach". About 1000 seats have been replaced by around 70 tonnes of sand, a 10m wading pool and 80 deck chairs for the winners of a competition run by a ubiquitous soft drink company.

It will be the only beach in the world where beach balls are not allowed. Pity the security guard forced to confiscate and destroy any ball which drifts onto the SCG sand.

A beach at the cricket would not have been required in years gone by but with Cricket Australia desperately trying to win over a new generation of fans, a day at the cricket is no longer just about watching the game.

The match itself has been overshadowed by events off the field, most notably the death of commentator Tony Greig and the retirement of one of Australia's favourite players, Michael Hussey.

In a heartfelt touch, the Test now has two additional dress codes. Not only will fans be instructed to wear pink to remember Jane McGrath, they have been told to wear a broad brim hat, which was Greig's trademark on Channel Nine, and zinc across the face to honour Hussey in his farewell Test.

A crowd of 25,000 is likely for the first day, which is not terrible given the prospect of another fizzer against the hapless Sri Lankans, who lost inside three days in Melbourne. Despite the sentiment surrounding the game, it will be business as usual for Michael Clarke's team, searching for a clean sweep of the three-match series.

"I want us to keep going ... and try and crush them, we're 2-0 up but 3-0's even sweeter," said opening batsman David Warner. "Hopefully we can get that done and put Mike Hussey up here in the pool afterwards."

This story Cricket turns into a day at the beach first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.