Highlights from Boxing Day Tests throughout the years

Never mind the level of contest the West Indies are expected to provide over the next week, if Boxing Day Tests at the MCG have proved anything over the years, it is that an all-time “moment” is only ever a ball away, no matter the opposition.
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There is of course no better example of that than the Muttiah Muralitharan “throwing” incident.

MURALI CALLED FOR THROWING

It has been 20 years since Australian umpire Darrell Hair called the Sri Lankan off-spinner for seven no balls on Boxing Day in 1995, casting an otherwise ho-hum Test and series into the spotlight.

Incensed at the incredible turn of events, Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga sensationally left the field to seek advice from his team management.

Up to that point, Muralitharan had been called for “chucking” five times, and the young spinner stood with his hands on his hips gobsmacked at the unprecedented situation that was unfolding.

When Ranatunga returned to the field, he continued to bowl his spinner from the end from which Hair was umpiring, which led to another two no-ball calls.

Finally, Ranatunga removed Murathitharan from the attack and re-introduced him at the other end, under the eye of umpire Steve Dunne, who did not deem the bowler’s action to be illegal, but the controversy had begun and would never be forgotten.

Umpire Darrell Hair gives his ruling on a delivery by Muttiah Muralitharan in 1995. Photo: Jack Atley

WARNE RULES THE ‘G

Spinners have always played a special part on Boxing Day, but none more so than the “Sheik of Tweak”, Shane Warne.

The Victorian’s affinity with the ‘G began with a match-winning 7-52 against the then (but certainly not now) powerful West Indies in the 1992 Boxing Day Test.

However it went to another level in 1994 when Warne took a hat-trick in the second innings of the Test against England, dismissing Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in successive balls, the last helped by a ridiculous diving catch from David Boon at short leg.

Jubilation as Shane Warne takes the third wicket of his hat-trick, that of Devon Malcolm.

Then, the “Warnie” chants were just beginning, but by the time he played his last Test at the MCG – the 2006 Boxing Day Test against England – those chants had become full-blown standing bows from the crowd, as if Warne were their god.

The spinner had just announced he would retire at the end of the heavily-hyped series, creating massive interest in the build-up and the fact he was closing in on his 700th wicket only added to the buzz.

And at 3.18pm on December 26, 2006, Warne became the first cricketer to reach the milestone by clean bowling England left-hander Andrew Strauss, causing an eruption from the 89,155 spectators who were there to witness it.

These are just some of the great Boxing Day Test moments. Let us know your favourites in the comments.

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Melbourne yearns for time when the West Indies dominated . . . but not too much

The West Indies in their last win against Australia at the MCG in 1996. Photo: Vince Caligiuri Viv Richards is front page news after his 208 in 1984. Photo: The Age
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Talk to a cricket lover this summer and it won’t be long until they speak with nostalgic pangs of a golden era when the West Indies dominated the game.

And the Melbourne Cricket Ground was lucky enough to witness some of the best moments from the Calypso Kings, right through their period of rule which spanned at least 15 years.

There was Sir Garfield Sobers’ imperious 254 for the World XI in 1972. And Sir Curtly Ambrose taking 9/72 for the match en route to the West Indies’ last Melbourne win in 1996.

In the middle of that was a destructive innings by another knight, master blaster Sir Viv Richards, who scored 208 at the ‘G in 1984 just as the critics started to question his greatness.

On Saturday, when the West Indies take on Australia at the MCG, it’s unlikely the fans in attendance will see anything like the cricket royalty of Richards, Sobers and Ambrose.

Boxing Day will mark the first time the West Indies have been to Melbourne since 2000. In that time they have barely won a Test away from home, starting their latest Australian tour with a thumping in Hobart.

Carribean cricket journalist Fazeer Mohammed is in Australia calling the West Indies tour for ABC Grandstand.

He says while most cricket fans are hoping for a better performance from the West Indies after Hobart, the signs aren’t encouraging.

The tour schedule has permitted the team just one game between the two Tests, a two-day game in Geelong which was marred by poor fielding some took to be evidence of their disarray.

Mohammed says that while the timing was “not in the best interests of improvement”, he thinks the excitement of a Boxing Day Test could instil some motivation.

“This is a really big occasion, a lot has been said about the West Indies being undeserving of such a celebratory sporting event,” he says.

“You can only hope that they lift their game, not just because they are playing at the MCG but for their own pride.”

Much has been written about how the West Indies’ standing in the game has plummeted. Mohammed says there are “not enough column inches” to cover all the reasons for their decline.

Broadly, they include political infighting, team mismanagement and an exodus of players to the lucrative Twenty20 leagues.

While the Test team struggles, a slew of West Indies players are in Australia earning good money in the colourful Big Bash League, including superstar Chris Gayle for the Melbourne Renegades.

Mohammed says while some might see the inclusion of the Twenty20 players in the Test team as a panacea, that wouldn’t be borne out by reality.

“If you look down at the record, even with all their best players available they were still losing Test matches,” he says.

Funnily enough, just over 50,000 people went to see Viv Richards make his double hundred across the first two days of the MCG Test in 1984.

Australia drew that match, halting the all-conquering West Indies’ record of consecutive wins at 11 Tests, but lost the series.

It’s likely that attendance number will be beaten on the first day this year, even allowing for the poor quality of the touring side.

Perhaps there is yearning for a time when the West Indies sat atop the throne as kings of world cricket. But not too much.

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New penguin protectors born

New penguin protectors born Maremma pups, born at a Shepparton breeder, that will soon call Warrnambool’s Middle Island home.
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Maremma pups, born at a Shepparton breeder, one will soon call Warrnambool’s Middle Island home.

Maremma pups, born at a Shepparton breeder, one will soon call Warrnambool’s Middle Island home.

Maremma pups, born at a Shepparton breeder, one will soon call Warrnambool’s Middle Island home.

TweetFacebookHE might be small, but this little guy has a big job ahead of him.

Warrnambool’s new penguin protecting Maremma guardiandogs have been born and are expected to arrive in the city early in the new year.

Warrnambool City Council tourism services manager Peter Abbott said the male puppy would arrive in the city in February or March to begin familiarisation withthe island and with current dogs Eudy and Tula.

He said a second pup would arrive later in the year.

“It will take about two summers to retire the girls (Eudy and Tula), They will become ambassador dogs for the program and see out their days protecting the chickens and sheep at Flagstaff Hill,” he said.

“We wanted to stagger the introduction of the new pups so there is one dominant dog in the pack.”

Mr Abbott said the pup was nameless and it was likely there would be a naming competition.

The pups were born in Shepparton and Zoos Victoria will have also bought one to use in their bandicoot protection project.

The pups were bought with money raised in a crowd funding campaign launched to coincide with the movie Oddball, which tells the story of the Middle Island project.

The Standard, Warrnambool

2015 year in reviewSuper Terrific Happy Hour

PODCAST:Check the results of our pop culture predictions and a look back through our 2015 review.
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Leave us a comment below andclick here to subscribe to the podcastin iTunes.

Past episodesStar Wars: The Force Awakens review and spoilercastThe championship belt of comedyToo many actors, not enough roles30 years later –The best movies of 1985R.I.P. to these pop culture iconsHave we had enough of zombies?Happy Back to the Future Day30 years later –The music of 1985What do you take to a desertedisland?Who arethe bestvillains?TV’s future is onlineOddcast –everything OddballWhy aren’t video games taken seriously?20 years later – The movies of 1995The most underrated (part two)Who are the greatestsongwriters ever?The latest Star Wars news and controversy20 years later –The music of 1995‘I was wrong’ –pop culture confessionsMusic’s best rivalries –which side are you on?Movies that ruined your childhoodDead movie genresDescribe a movie you’ve never seen | Episode 50 extravaganzaHow to build a TV stationDoes product placement actually work?E3 predictions – what’s the future of gaming?Jurassic PodAre the best movies of 2015 still to come?The most 2000s thing of the 2000sCinema etiquette – is it OK to talk during movies?Mad Max: Fury Road visual effects artist talks new film and Justice League movieBest sports movies10 years later – The best albums of 2005Avengers: Age of Ultron spoilercastDigital vs physical media10 years later – The films of 2005Movies that should be TV showsWhen life imitates artEverything new rips off something oldKids don’t care about rockLiving in the future is awesome (and scary)Online piracy: Where do you draw the line?Super Oscars / Grammys / SNL 40 specialMovies to watch on Valentine’s Day (rom-coms vs chick flicks)Can plotholes ruin a movie or are we just nitpicking?Coming to terms with the reboot eratriple j Hottest 100 predictionsWhy we get excited for belated sequelsThe best of BondThe best of 201416 pop culture predictions for 2015Christmas songs that don’t suckWhat’s the best Christmas movie?The beginning of the endCall it a comebackBook versus movieHow to fix a movieThe internet: good or bad?Have we reached peak superhero?Summer music festival guideThe best trilogy everHow to pitch a movieThe most ’90s thing of the ’90sThe most underratedBest and worst fictional journalistsSix ways to ruin a songTo remake or not to remake?TV shows that should be moviesThe most overratedReality TV has ruined televisionThe Simpsons should’ve ended 15 years agoAll Australian movies are terribleThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

Brides and Bubs

Lots of beautiful arrivals came in to the world this week. Congratulations to all.
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Brides and Bubs Brodee and Shawn Davies, of Kahibah, with baby Will Davies born December 21 at John Hunter Hospital weighing 3390 grams.

Cath Bailey and Jon Magin, of Eleebana with baby Chester Magin, born December 2 at John Hunter Hospital weighing 3500 grams.

Alex Halseth and Shane Eagles, of Metford, with baby Lillian Eagles born December 19 at John Hunter Hospital, weighing 4380 grams.

Chad and Clair Reinhard, of Speers Point with baby Patrick James, born December 7 at Newcastle Private, weighing 4110 grams.

Mathew and Julie welcomed Tyler John Ford, born on December 8, weighing 3090 grams. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend 0413052122

Craig and Kelly Fountain welcomed Hudson Craig, born December 19. A little brother for Clint. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend

Naomi and Dafter welcomed Lincoln Benjamin Marshall, born December 17, weighing 3270 grams. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend

Ryder Michael Boyle waiting for Santa. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend 0413052122

TweetFacebook Brides & BubsLots of beautiful arrivals came in to the world this week. Congratulations to all. Mathew and Julie welcomed Tyler John Ford, born on December 8, weighing 3090 grams. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend 0413052122

Ryder Michael Boyle waiting for Santa. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend 0413052122

Cath Bailey and Jon Magin, of Eleebana with baby Chester Magin, born December 2 at John Hunter Hospital weighing 3500 grams.

Brodee and Shawn Davies, of Kahibah, with baby Will Davies born December 21 at John Hunter Hospital weighing 3390 grams.

Naomi and Dafter welcomed Lincoln Benjamin Marshall, born December 17, weighing 3270 grams. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend

Alex Halseth and Shane Eagles, of Metford, with baby Lillian Eagles born December 19 at John Hunter Hospital, weighing 4380 grams.

Chad and Clair Reinhard, of Speers Point with baby Patrick James, born December 7 at Newcastle Private, weighing 4110 grams.

Craig and Kelly Fountain welcomed Hudson Craig, born December 19. A little brother for Clint. Picture: Debbra at PhotoTrend