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THE TONK

Australia v West Indies third cricket Test: Chappell brothers recall own mid-pitch mix-up

Marlon Samuels ran himself out shambolically on the last ball before a rain delay on Sunday but it was not the only story about an ill-timed breakdown of communication in mid-pitch to be told on day one of the Sydney Test. The Chappell brothers revisited an episode of their own against the West Indies in Adelaide in 1975/76 as they appeared along with younger brother Trevor to wind back the clock at the SCG Trust members' breakfast. Greg takes up the story: "It was the last ball of the day and I was on strike and got a half-volley on leg stump ... I intended to hit it between mid-on and midwicket and I hit it really well," he recalled. "I called 'yes' on the shot because I expected it to go for two or three or maybe even four, but Viv Richards was fielding at mid-on and he was very quick off the mark and he swooped on it, threw it over the stumps to Deryck Murray, the wicketkeeper, and Ian, because it was the last ball of the day, was having a camp at the bowler's end and was very slow off the mark. He was out by a bee's you-know-what and sadly for me, being the last ball of the day I actually had to leave the ground at the same time ... the only bit of good fortune was that Ian sort of continued running and did a big loop and ran off the field before me. I walked very slowly off the field, and I made my next big mistake when I got to the dressing room when I said 'sorry'. I didn't get another word in for the next 10 minutes and then I said sorry again. "Sorry, I f-----g apologised!". Ian does not dispute the serve he dished out, only the distance by which he had been left stranded by his sibling. "I was so easily run out that I had time to say f--- you as I ran past him," he said.

Younger Smith slow off the mark

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Off-side no longer a problem: Steve Smith

Off-side no longer a problem: Steve Smith Photo: AP

Back to the members' breakfast in the Noble dining room on Sunday and Greg Chappell's recollections of his time spent coaching a teenage Steve Smith were also absorbing. It seems absurd nowadays to think of Smith as a limited player - or a slow learner - but that was the case when he turned up as a youngster to the centre of excellence in Brisbane, where Chappell was head coach. "I was trying to encourage Steve to develop his range and his off-side play and it didn't appear that he was taking much notice," he said. "I wasn't seeing him buying into this discussion, and Matthew Mott was the coach of NSW at the time and I rang Matthew and I said: 'I'm really struggling with Steve, have you got any advice'? He said: 'Just stick with it, he's the sort of bloke that takes a long time to take it on board but he'll take it on board'. So that gave me encouragement to keep going but I'd been very frustrated in the early stages of it." Mott was right. By the end of the four-month program Smith was facing Queensland spinner Chris Simpson in the Brisbane nets. "And Chris said: 'Wow, hasn't this bloke changed'?" Chappell recalls. "I said: 'what do you mean'? and Chris said: 'I've just bowled him three balls ... last season he would have hit them all through the leg side and he's hit them through the off side'. He'd developed an off-side game and I knew that in Test cricket he was going to need it." 

Brotherly "love": Ian and Greg Chappell in 1980.
Brotherly "love": Ian and Greg Chappell in 1980. Photo: SMH

Warners deliver a feast to remember

David Warner might be expecting the imminent arrival of their second child but it did not stop him and wife Candice from putting on a barbecue to remember on Saturday. Our spies tell us the spread, supplied by boutique caterers Cook and Waiter, was amazing, headlined by a 12-hour slow-cooked beef brisket and a chocolate mud cake to die for. The Coogee function, attended by players and support staff and their families, is becoming an SCG Test eve tradition.

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Brathwaite 'on a par' with RiRi 

Another fine export from Barbados: Rihanna.

Another fine export from Barbados: Rihanna. Photo: Kevork Djansezian

For someone who has spent so much time with Rihanna, Carlos Brathwaite could have found some better moves to celebrate his first wicket. Brathwaite shared a classroom with one of the biggest acts in world music in grade seven and 10 at Barbados' Combermere School. One has sold over 200 million records and the other made a half-century on debut but Brathwaite, in an interview on ESPNCricinfo, jokes the pair's careers are now "on a par". It turns out the other Brathwaite in the Windies XI, Kraigg, and spinner Jomel Warrican are also Combermere graduates. Coincidentally, Sir Frank Worrell - whom the trophy Australia and West Indies play for is named after - is also an alumnus.

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