McGrath legacy shines through Sydney haze

Glenn McGrath didn't realise he would begin a worldwide cricket movement when the first pink Test at the SCG began in 2009.

GLENN MCGRATH.
GLENN MCGRATH. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

When Glenn McGrath was first invited to turn the Sydney Cricket Ground pink in 2009, he had no idea what kind of worldwide movement he was about to create.

Sunday's Jane McGrath Day marked the 12th of its kind, with the SCG's security staff clad in green just about the only souls in the ground not in pink.

In Australia, the pink Test is still on a year-by-year basis.

But such is the tradition around day three in Sydney, it's hard to ever see it not being part of the calendar.

Overseas it has caught on too.

The Lord's Test is now the red Test in honour of Andrew Strauss's wife Ruth, who died of lung cancer.

South Africa also have a pink one-day match on their calendar, aimed to raise awareness for breast cancer much like the SCG event does.

"It's absolutely incredible to think back to when we first started," McGrath said.

"CA and the SCG Trust came to us and offered us the SCG Test in remembrance of Jane and to support the foundation and my family.

"What it has grown into now is absolutely incredible.

"If what we've done here has an impact in other places for other charities then it's absolutely brilliant."

The McGrath Foundation aimed to raise $1.6 million from the Sydney Test between Australia and New Zealand, to take their tally of nurses from 135 to 147.

They were still in pursuit of reaching their goal by late on day three, with takings at the ground up on last year.

This year's Test has been played in the backdrop of the bushfire emergency that engulfs the nation.

It was notable on Sunday that as the smoke began to be seen at the SCG, the pink boundary signs were one of the few things to shine through the lingering Sydney haze.

For the McGrath Foundation that hits close to home too.

Three-quarters of their nurses are in rural and regional areas while McGrath's own childhood home of Narromine is among the most drought-affected in NSW.

"I heard a story of lady whose family is impacted by the fires," foundation ambassador Tracy Bevan said.

"She left her family, rode a bike, got on a boat and she went on the boat for chemotherapy.

"She knew she had to go and have that treatment because of the impact of that insidious disease."


AAP