Day 1: Enter the pantheon, Salman Butt

Five wickets for twenty runs. If Pakistan were consistent, they’d be dangerous.

Pakistan squandered a great start at the SCG yesterday. From 3/241 to 8/260 and thence to 9/292 when bad light (at the SCG, aherm!) ended play at 5.21pm eight overs early.

Star of the day was twenty year-old Salman Butt, who joined the pantheon of visiting Test batsmen to score a hundred at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Pakistan captain at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, Butt has scored his first Test century in his fifth Test after making an ODI hundred against India in November.

Visiting Test centurions over the past decade:
Sachin Tendulkar (241*) and VVS Laxman (178), India 2004
Stuart Carlisle (118), Zimbabwe October 2003
Mark Butcher (124) and Michael Vaughan (183), England 2003
Gary Kirsten (153), South Africa 2002
VVS Laxman (167), India 2000
Ijaz Ahmed (137), Pakistan November 1995
(Honourable mention to Graeme Hick 98*, England 1995)

Stuart Charles Glyndwr MacGill lived up to his initials with another five-fer at the Glyndwr yesterday, 5/87 from 22 overs. 37 wickets in 5 and a half Tests at the Glyndwr is not a bad ratio. Interesting, MacGill has appeared in every New Years Test at the Glyndwr since 1999 with the exception of 2000. Warnie took his 50th SCG wicket yesterday in his 11th appearance. By comparison, Bill O’Reilly played just three Tests at the ground that bears his grandstand for seven wickets at 47.85.

The bad light call yesterday afternoon would certainly have been justified at any other ground. Here at Stanmore it was quite dark at the time, although there was never more than a few spots of rain here around 6.30pm. Why weren’t the lights put on at the SCG sooner?

Monday is starting off fine and sunny in Sydney. Looks like we will have a 10.00am kickoff today – an absurdity in midsummer Sydney, thank you chanel neuf!

I didn’t follow it on the radio this year, but John Winston Howard visited the Aussie dressing room after the game and awarded the McGilvray Medal for ABC Australian Test Cricketer of the Year to Damien Martyn. If I was the doorman and saw JWH trying to enter, I would have called security.

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