The third Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground kicked off on Sunday – 26th December with Australia winning the toss and opting to bowl first. England started with their openers on the field in the form of Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley with Rory Burns missing out.
As soon as the players lined up for their respective national anthems, one thing that caught everyone’s attention was the black armbands the players of the visiting team were wearing.
Here is why the players are wearing black armbands
The players of the visiting English side are wearing black armbands to pay tribute to Ray Illingworth – the former cricketer who passed away on 25th December 2021, aged 89. Notably, the former English skipper was suffering with esophageal cancer.
Illingworth, who represented the English side in 61 Tests from 1958 to 1973 made his debut for Yorkshire way back in 1951 at the age of 19. His professional career spanned around 32 years, after which he spent a decade at Leicestershire from 1969 to 1978 before finally returning to Yorkshire in 1983.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club took to Twitter to share their heartfelt condolences for Illingworth. “We are deeply saddened to learn that Ray Illingworth has passed away. Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and the wider Yorkshire family who held Ray so dear to their hearts”, the club wrote.
ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison also paid his last tributes, stating, “It’s always incredibly sad to lose a person who has given so much to the English game, and to the sport of cricket in general.”
In the ongoing Ashes series, England are trailing 0-2 after losses in Brisbane and Adelaide. However, they did have another disappointing start as the visitors were bowled out for 185.