BBL final, live cricket scores, Big Bash 2021, Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers: Start time, Sydney weather, rain, SCG updates


BBL final, Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers at Sydney Cricket Ground (7.40pm AEDT)

The Big Bash League’s two best teams — this season, and historically — will take their rivalry to the next step on Saturday night in the BBL|10 final at the SCG.

While the competition’s other rivalries were created, and maintained, by geographical reasons, the friction between the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers is very real.

It bubbled beneath the surface for years but can no longer be hidden as the franchises prepare to meet in a final for the fourth time in BBL history.

MATCH CENTRE: Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers, live scoreboard, video

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Up to 26,500 fans to flood through gates at SCG as capacity upped for Saturday BBL final


“We’ve worked closely with NSW Health and Cricket Australia to bring this major event to the SCG and can’t wait to see the Sydney Sixers and their fans at their home ground on Saturday,” he said.

The Sydney Sixers will host either the Perth Scorchers or Brisbane Heat, who face each other in The Challenger at Manuka Oval on Thursday night.

The NSW Government has increased the crowd capacity of the Big Bash final at the SCG. Credit:Getty Images

The Sixers will be without Mitchell Starc who was officially ruled out of the final on Tuesday, having not played for the Sixers throughout the current BBL season.

“The guys have done so well this year and I think it’s in everyone’s best interests to stick with the guys that have worked so hard to get to this point,” Starc said.

Sixers general manager Jodie Hawkins said the decision was mutual between the two parties.

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“Circumstances meant he and Nathan Lyon were not able to join us this season but they are both very much part of our set up and will represent the club off the field on Saturday night,” she said. “Our current squad have done an incredible job all season to qualify for the final while playing every game on the road and Mitch and the club are really comfortable with this decision.”

Sixers teammate Carlos Braithwaite said he understood why Starc decided not to join the squad but believed the team would have been lifted by “50 or 100 per cent” with the fast-bowler’s inclusion.

“I guess sometimes you have to do the superstars job for them and get them some silverware as well,” he joked.

“Without him there we have the guys that have brought us to the final and it seems as though the management is backing the team to go do this.

“Even that in itself is a nod of confidence from the management to the current group of players.”

Braithwaite said the squad was cautious of not letting their emotions get the better of them when they play their first home game of the season.

“When signed I was looking forward to playing at the SCG, I had probably one of my best Test knocks there, I have a good affiliation with it, a good affinity for it,” he said.

“Having been deprived of that, and not having being able to represent the team in front of our fans at the SCG it may be a bit more of an occasion than just a grand final.”

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SCG the worst but MCG, Gabba and Adelaide Oval pitches also downgraded


Boon, who did not wish to comment when contacted, is considered a hard task-master but his ratings have privately surprised some venue operators.

SCG curator Adam Lewis told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday that he had not been surprised by the verdict, citing the disruption that Sydney’s big wet through December in the lead-up to the Test, then having more than three sessions lost over the opening two days, had caused.

“We had an average of three hours of sunlight leading into the Test. The conditions we were dealt with were very, very difficult,” he said.

Lewis said the poor weather meant the pitch was a “day-and-a-half behind” in natural deterioration.

Having overseen his fourth Test, Lewis said he had no issues with the Bulli soil used, made up of clay and basalt of volcanic origin, but Boon’s concern appeared to be that it did not crumble as much as hoped. It did not deliver the uneven footmarks that can make the ball spit on a final day and the bounce was still high – something that spinner Nathan Lyon and Lewis were left to rue.

“When he [Lyon] went for those DRS [lbw appeals], the bounce was still bouncing over the wicket, which goes to show it was holding together,” Lewis said.

Lewis continues to consult veteran pitch whisperer Les Burdett and former long-time SCG curator Tom Parker, while past playing greats have also been asked for feedback.

While Boon marked down, 31 wickets fell during the Test, which also produced a Steve Smith century, a 91 from Marnus Labuschagne and an enthralling final-day 97 from Rishabh Pant, which almost dragged the tourists to victory. Lewis was given a “very good” rating for all four white-ball matches against India at the venue.

MCG curator Matt Page took a surprise hit despite India claiming a famous eight-wicket win inside four days. Boon branded the drop-in pitch as “good” – a dip on last year’s “very good” against New Zealand. However, Page was widely praised by commentators for this summer’s deck, which had an uplift in pace and carry despite ground staff not having any first-class cricket at the venue leading into the Test because of Melbourne’s earlier lockdown.

Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stuart Fox was full of praise for what ground staff had delivered.

“We were thrilled with the performance of the Boxing Day Test pitch as it had something in it for both bat and ball, provided an even contest between the two teams, and produced a result,” he said.

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“We’re so proud of the entire team led by Michael Salvatore and Matt Page for delivering another outstanding Boxing Day Test pitch and outfield, probably the best in recent memory, that was applauded by fans, players, Cricket Australia and cricketing greats alike.“

The drop-in pitch did show signs of wear and tear and remained a significant improvement on the heavily criticised decks used in the Ashes draw of 2017-18 and the 2018-19 Test against India.

In another blow to curators, the Adelaide Oval pitch was rated as “good”, down from “very good” against Pakistan last summer. Boon’s rating is particularly intriguing, for the pink-ball contest lasted only two-and-a-half days when the tourists, guilty of poor shot selection, were dismissed for a second-innings 36 – the lowest tally in their Test history.

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Brisbane’s Gabba deck, typically “very good”, slipped to “good” despite the tourists completing a dramatic run chase and securing a 2-1 series victory. Gabba officials said it was an “understandable” rating in a COVID-19 impacted summer when the Test was held unusually in January.

Commentators remarked on the opening day that the pitch looked more like a slightly wearing day-two deck, and this year it came complete with a crack that ensured some inconsistent bounce.

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Cricket Australia says Indian cricketers were racially abused at SCG, but offenders have not been found


Cricket Australia has confirmed Indian players were racially abused during the third Test at the SCG, but says it does not yet know who was responsible.

Senior Indian players spoke to officials after day three of the Sydney Test and an official complaint was lodged over alleged abuse received by Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah.

A second alleged incident on day four led to play being halted for nine minutes after Siraj spoke to umpires about comments from the crowd.

Cricket Australia (CA) launched an investigation after day four.

On Wednesday, CA released an update, saying it had submitted a report to the International Cricket Council into crowd behaviour at the SCG.

“CA confirms that members of the Indian cricket team were subjected to racial abuse (at the SCG),” the organisation’s head of integrity and security, Sean Carroll, said in a statement.

“CA’s own investigation into the matter remains open, with CCTV footage, ticketing data and interviews with spectators still being analysed in an attempt to locate those responsible.

“Spectators who are found to have breached CA’s anti-harassment code face lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.”

Play was halted on day four in Sydney as India’s Mohammed Siraj complained about comments made by spectators.(Supplied: Fox Sports)

However, Cricket Australia said its investigators had concluded a number of spectators who were filmed and photographed by the media near the end of play on day four were not involved in racist behaviour.

CA apologised to the Indian team as hosts of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.

NSW Police also issued a statement on Tuesday, referring to its own investigation of complaints from India.

“About 3pm on 10 January 2021, a cricketer indicated to match officials racially based comments had been made towards him,” the statement said.

“A number of males were spoken with at the time.

“Since 10 January police have continued inquiries, speaking with several people allegedly involved, as well as a number of witnesses who were present in the area at the time.”

“Police found no evidence to support any prosecution for any offence.

“As such the police investigation has been finalised.

“However, should anyone possess information which would support any such allegation, that should be brought to the attention of police.”

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Cricket news 2021: India racial abuse, SCG Test, Mohammed Siraj, India vs Australia, fans ejected, Cricket Australia findings


A report has emerged that India had refused to continue playing during the Sydney Test until action was taken over the alleged racial abuse levelled at Mohammed Siraj.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age claims the visitors would not continue playing until the complaint was addressed and acted upon.

Cricket Australia on Wednesday confirmed the spectators ejected from the SCG on suspicion of racial abuse had been cleared, but didn’t offer a public apology to them in its press release.

“CA’s investigation concluded that the spectators filmed and/or photographed by media in the Brewongle Stand concourse at the conclusion of the 86th over on day three of the Test did not engage in racist behaviour,” the statement reads.

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India walk-off threat emerges as Cricket Australia clears men booted from SCG


The findings of the CA probe have now been sent to the International Cricket Council, which gave CA 14 days to lodge a report.

The report says while they believed players had been racially abused, CA investigators were unable to identify the culprits.

Australia captain Tim Paine stands with Indian players and umpires as police walk six men from their seats during the third Test.Credit:Getty

CA, which is awaiting a final report from NSW Police, is satisfied that the six men who were walked out of the lower tier of the Clive Churchill and Brewongle stand by police on the fourth afternoon of the Test did not make remarks of a racial nature to players.

Their removal occurred after rookie fast bowler Siraj approached umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson alleging he had been abused by spectators seated in the area behind where he was stationed on the rope.

The paceman had been acting on advice from security officials who had encouraged the Indians to report abuse immediately rather than wait until the end of play as they had done 24 hours earlier when Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah said they had been racially targeted on days two and three of the Test.

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Siraj told CA after the Sydney Test that he had been called a “brown dog” and a “monkey” and teammate R Ashwin, who said crowd abuse had been a long-term issue at the SCG, alleged “there is a time where they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuses”.

While CA was unable to unmask the culprits, there is a separate investigation by SCG operators Venues NSW into an Indian supporter’s claim that he was told to “go back where you belong” during the Sydney Test by a mid-ranking ground security official.

Krishna Kumar also said a group of young men in the crowd had called him and members of the Indian team “curry munchers” on the third day of the match.

After hiring a solicitor and meeting with Venues NSW legal personnel 12 days ago, Kumar said on Tuesday he had not yet heard back about the investigation.

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Cricketers at the SCG are at work and shouldn’t have to put up with abuse


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Australians fans should be celebrating that we are the lucky few compared with so many other fans around the world. We can take in the atmosphere and excitement that live sports provide.

Many players across the Big Bash, even Cameron Green, have commented that playing in front of live crowds once again has been extremely special. It has reminded them of why they love their job, entertaining the fans and seeing the smiles and cheers from admirers. It’s baffling that anyone would want to spoil this atmosphere for any player.

A lesson I learnt while playing for Australia, where you tour for long periods of time with the same group of people, is how your behaviour can impact your teammates in unanticipated ways. And how what you find funny or clever can be interpreted completely differently by the person who might be at the end of that joke. It doesn’t matter if your intention was to just have fun or muck around, it is more important how the person it was directed at has taken it. Some of those in the crowd on the weekend might keep that in mind.

It is well documented that Siraj has recently been through a lot. He lost his father at the end of November 2020, while out here in Australia. The Board of Control for Cricket in India offered the young fast bowler a chance to fly back home to be with his family during this difficult 1time. But he declined. In an interview that featured on the BCCI Twitter feed, Siraj opened up about his father. “It’s a great loss for me. He wished that I continue playing for India and make my country proud. I just want to fulfil my father’s dream.” And he did exactly that a month later when he donned the India cap with pride when he made his debut at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test.

At the start of this Test match, a tear rolled down his cheek as he sang the Indian anthem with pride.

I am saddened that a young man who should be on an absolute high, may walk away from this tour with negative memories of the SCG, a place so dear to me, as it is my home ground.

The bright spot in this sorry episode is how well the umpires, Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson, handled the situation. I have never seen a game of cricket stopped for that period of time for something like this and it shows that officials are now taking abuse seriously.

However, it is up to all of us to think before we yell something out at a sporting venue or anywhere
for that matter. We can be so much better.

Lisa Sthalekar is a former member of the Australian women’s cricket team and is now a coach and commentator on the Sports Entertainment Network.

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SCG pitch, rain, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, cricket news 2021, Shane Warne criticism


The New Year’s Test was Australia’s to lose leading into day five.

The hosts needed eight wickets in 97 overs to take a 2-1 series lead against India — several pundits predicting the match would be over before the tea break.

But Australia could only muster three scalps on Monday, with the bruised and battered tourists clinging onto an unlikely draw.

The Indians blocked, ducked and prodded for a whole day, with the wounded Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin surviving 42.4 overs to guide the depleted side to stumps.

One more wicket would have exposed India’s brittle tail, which featured three players with a Test batting average below seven and a one-handed Ravindra Jadeja, who suffered a fractured thumb while batting in the first innings.

So how did Australia manage to botch what many believed would be a comfortable Test victory?

Watch Australia v India Test Series Live & Ad-Break Free During Play with the Fox Cricket commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

Firstly, dropped catches were once again a prevalent issue for Tim Paine’s men on Monday, and the biggest culprit was the skipper himself.

Paine put down two chances off Nathan Lyon’s bowling in the morning session, before spilling another opportunity late in the day’s play.

The Tasmanian gloveman gifted Rishabh Pant two extra lives at the crease, and the young wicketkeeper went on to compile a critical 97 off 118 balls.

“I’m bitterly disappointed, I pride myself on my wicketkeeping,” Paine told reporters on Monday evening.

“Haven’t had too many worse days than that today, it’s a horrible feeling knowing our fast bowlers and our spinner bowled their hearts out and gave everything to do the team.

“I certainly feel I let them down. I have to wear that, but I’ll get another crack at it next week so move on.”

Substitute fielder Sean Abbott also dropped a tough chance at square leg in the evening session, with Ashwin the fortunate batsman on this occasion.

The SCG deck also offered little assistance to Australia’s talented bowling attack. Pitches typically deteriorate as the match progresses, leaving an assortment of gremlins for bowlers to exploit on the final day.

But Monday’s surface looked more akin to a day three pitch, with last week’s rain potentially contributing to the slow decay.

Even when the second new ball was taken on day five, there was little to no movement through the air or off the pitch.

Despite the batting-friendly conditions, Australia’s bowlers were undeniably below their best in the second innings, specifically Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc.

Lyon sent down 77 overs in the SCG Test, finishing with match figures of 2/201.

The lack of left-handed batsmen in India’s starting XI exposed the tweaker’s biggest flaw — as revealed by CricViz in September 2018, Lyon averages 23.58 against lefties and 37.24 against right-handers in the Test arena.

English cricket journalist Jack Mendel tweeted: “Nathan Lyon was made to look incredibly average and easy to play … at no point did he look like winning Aus the Test by ripping through the Indian order.”

Test great Shane Warne also questioned the field placements off Lyon’s bowling on the final day, implying the Australians became too defensive when Pant went on the attack.

“I think Australia are panicking,” Warne said on Fox Cricket. “I can’t believe some of the fields I’m seeing from Nathan Lyon the last over before lunch — five men on the fence. Why aren’t we bringing these people up?

“I’m a little surprised by Australia’s tactics.

“How can Nathan Lyon bowl to Rishabh Pant the last over before lunch and have five men on the fence? That’s terrible tactics.

“That showed me Australia were worried.”

Meanwhile, Starc’s bowling was inaccurate and ineffective for most of the second innings, so much so that Paine denied him the opportunity to bowl with the second new ball, handing the responsibility over to Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

Veteran cricket journalist Robert Craddock penned: “Starc’s radar is scrambling to the point where he is bowling far too many leg-side balls.”

The left-armer did have two catches dropped off his bowling in the evening session, and his final burst with the Kookaburra on Monday was fierce and well-directed.

But considering he’s developed a reputation as someone who can easily clean up the tail, he’ll be bitterly disappointed to finish with match figures of 1/127.

READ MORE: ‘Classless’ Paine owns up

Newcastle Herald journalist Xavier Mardling posted: “Starc doesn’t look like he’d get a wicket at Melbourne Country Week the way he’s bowling. Trash.”

Ultimately, India was too good when it mattered most, with its batsmen overcoming immense adversity to pull off the greatest escape at the SCG in more than 50 years.

Australia was simply unable to claim 10 wickets in 131 overs, which was perceived as more than enough time when Paine declared on Sunday afternoon.

However, sporadic rain and low over rates resulted in 425 of a possible 444 overs being played in the New Year’s Test. Would those 19 overs have made a difference to the final outcome?



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Cricket Australia vs India 2021, third Test at the SCG, Tim Paine, Steve Smith, cheating, sledging, latest news


Tim Paine has hit back at claims Steve Smith was just shadow batting when appearing to remove India’s batsmen’s guards during the final day of a frustrating draw for Australia at the SCG.

Smith was caught on stump camera walking onto the pitch and shadow batting before bizarrely seeming to scuff up the markings on the crease that they use as a guide for where the stumps are behind them.

Robert ‘Crash’ Craddock joins Tom Morris to wrap up an action-packed SCG Test on the latest FOX Cricket podcast

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India wins admirers after gritty draw as Australia’s unedifying histrionics let them down at SCG


When television broadcasters first started using the statistics generated by cricket analysts CricViz, there was a widely-held suspicion that some of their offerings were what Mitchell and Webb would term numberwang. That scepticism soon passed.

On day one of the Sydney Test, the data seemed plainly unbelievable: statistically speaking, India’s Rishabh Pant was only the second-worst wicketkeeper in Test cricket, and the man in pole position was twice as bad.

You imagined Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim making Ravichandran Ashwin’s facial expressions distort even further.

Of course, like Mushfiqur, Pant is picked for what he can do with the bat.

To focus solely on his keeping is like critiquing Tony Soprano’s bookkeeping work at the Bada Bing.

Two summers ago at the SCG, Pant made an undefeated 159 that hinted at superstardom. In the intervening time, his fortunes have waxed and waned but not his relish for staring down Australia.

One does not simply judge Rishabh Pant on his keeping.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Not much went India’s way in this game, but Pant’s involvement was an exception.

A horror blow from Pat Cummins seemed to have broken his arm in the first innings. It meant the tidier gloveman Wriddhiman Saha could be subbed in for Australia’s second innings before making way for Pant’s return as a second innings batsman — as remote as the chances seemed.

What a return it was. The cause was hopeless: survive 90 overs or chase down 407.

Not only did Pant declare himself fit to bat, he leapfrogged Hanuma Vihari and wandered out at number five, no padding on his arm.

Only 10 deliveries had been bowled at that point. Nathan Lyon had just dispatched Ajinkya Rahane and Australia seemed set to pounce.

Before play, Lyon eyed the fifth-day pitch like a gourmand appraising a buffet. With the first ball of his next over, he duly tempted Pant into an edge.

Nathan Lyon looks frustrated while kneeling down on the pitch. Matt Wade has his hands on his head
Nathan Lyon toiled through 46 overs in India’s second innings.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Unfortunately, Tim Paine grassed it behind the wicket — a tough chance, but a bread and butter fifth-day dismissal.

Pant’s intent from there was immediately obvious and transformed the contest.

After a few sighters he started clubbing Lyon around the ground with impunity. A pair of sixes helped him to 50 from 64 deliveries and Cheteshwar Pujara dug in at the other end.

In the hours following, they were like bouncers guarding a steel door, Pujara stern, arms folded in front of his chest, Pant repelling the would-be intruders by repeatedly jabbing a finger into their chests.

When Pant was on 53, Paine dropped him again, then on 76 too.

India batsman Rishabh Pant slogs on day five of the third Test at the SCG.
Rishabh Pant started slowly and rapidly went through the gears.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

The chances were getting tougher, but thoughts started turning to the horror of Ben Stokes at Headingley two English summers ago.

Inevitably, Pant eventually took one risk too many. With the new ball one over away and the counter-attack raising the prospect of an upset, he tried to bring up his century with another lusty blow off Lyon and sent a leading edge to backward point.

The analysis: 12 boundaries, three sixes, 97 runs from 118 deliveries in a partnership of 148.

It will go in the record books as a half-century. But the way Pant took on the game elevated what should have been a regulation Australian victory into a bare-knuckle brawl.

It also inspired those who followed, which ensured a grandstand finish in which India brilliantly saved the game.

The heroes in the end were Ashwin and Vihari.

With Ravindra Jadeja and his broken hand waiting in the pavilion and Vihari labouring with a hamstring injury, Ashwin came out and was struck all over the body.

India batsman Ravichandran Ashwin hits the cricket ball away with a cross-batted shot during a Test at the SCG.
Ravi Ashwin played one of the most important innings of his Test career.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

For 10 minutes, he looked a walking wicket. But he was also at his most determined, and the partnership that ensued was more epic still than the one which had dominated the first half of the day.

The 62 runs were neither here nor there. The 256 deliveries the pair absorbed denied Australia certain victory.

The effect on the Australians was wholly unedifying.

The longer Ashwin and Vahari withstood what the home side threw at them, the more the ring of close fielders resembled a pack of hyenas, yapping away witlessly and with little more impact than the bowlers.

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Matthew Wade played the tough guy character he didn’t quite pull off with his bat. Paine offered an excruciating running commentary.

Simultaneous to that, a piece of footage from earlier in the day went viral: a stump camera showed Steve Smith petulantly scuffing the batting crease to remove the indentation where Pant had marked his guard, forcing the batsman to mark it again.

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For reasons that will surely come under close examination after this match, the broadcaster was allowed to run live and uncut a one-way argument between Ashwin and Paine, the latter already fined 15 per cent of his match fee for misbehaviour on day three.

Paine suggested the Australians had more friends in India than Ashwin. It is hard to envisage that being true after this game.

It was also self-defeating. In the Mitchell Starc over following that quip, Paine dropped a regulation chance provided by Vihari and the contest was done.

The only thing worse than the banter on Monday was the glovework.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine smiles as he puts his hand on the back of India batsman Ravi Ashwin after the SCG Test.
Tim Paine, left, and Ravichandran Ashwin were friends after the match had ended.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

Perhaps it can be argued that players don’t decide what goes to air. But knowing that anything might, and knowing how unwelcome this Indian team has been made to feel by the SCG crowd, Paine’s team provided an ungracious conclusion to a contest that would have been just as absorbing without the histrionics.

India will depart Sydney battered and bruised, but it has also won itself many admirers.

Towards the end of this match, news filtered through of the death of Colin McDonald, Australian opening batsman in the magical summer of 1960-61.

Frank Worrell’s West Indians were farewelled at the conclusion of that tour with a hero’s motorcade past half a million grateful Melburnians.

You’d hope Brisbane can give India a warmer send-off than what they received here.

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