Australia's cricketers have closed out the Test portion of the summer by partying in style.
Last year it was on James Packer's yacht on Sydney Harbour, this year an exclusive bash at the beachside Vaucluse home of hotelier Justin Hemmes.
Michael Clarke's men spent the evening of their fifth successive win against England on Sunday at the SCG – in the dressing room and on the ground – but the night after they were hosted by Hemmes at the gothic-style estate owned by his parents John and Merivale.
The barbecue at the sprawling waterfront residence, where Hemmes lives in a private wing, was also attended by television presenters Hamish Blake and Andy Lee.
Entertainment was provided by Thirsty Merc’s Rai Thistlethwayte. At one stage, keen muso Shane Watson joined him in bashing out a couple of tunes.
Slap on wrist for Rogers
It must have been a fair party, coming the night before Chris Rogers turned up late to Australia's Ashes public reception at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday.
Rogers, who put on an impromptu dance for fans when he did show up, copped a fine from coach Darren Lehmann for his late arrival.
"He has given me a bit of a slap on the wrist, and if you do the crime, you've got to do the time," Rogers said. Few could blame the veteran opener for celebrating hard, though, after a great summer with the bat that featured hundreds in Melbourne and Sydney. He's taking a break from top-level cricket before the tour of South Africa so has plenty of time to get over a few drinks.
Clarke comes to rescue
Also out of the well-attended civic reception a heart-warming story featuring Test captain Clarke.
As the players were leaving the event team officials noticed a young boy who appeared to be lost.
Clarke spoke to the boy, got his name, and walked back to the microphone and announced he was looking for his parents.
The young fella's mother appeared soon after, rushing down the Opera House steps.
Haddin jnr misses out
Speaking of young fans, there was one close to the Australian team who would have preferred it had Clarke's side not been so ruthless in Sydney.
This youngster was due to have a hit on the SCG on Monday as part of the Milo in2CRICKET program but missed out because of the Test finishing inside three days.
For that, Zac Haddin can blame his father, whose strong form with the bat and gloves played a big part in Australia's victory.
Hiding to nothing
Mickey Arthur's biographer, Neil Manthorp, believes the former national coach was "destined to fail" in his job with Australia.
In a piece written for new cricket journal Between Wickets, which outlines Arthur's coaching career in Australia since emigrating in 2010, Manthorp says he could never shake off perceptions his coaching style was inherently South African.
"He probably was destined to fail as coach of Australia, but it wasn't because he was South African or implemented South African ways, means or methods," Manthorp wrote. "It wasn't because he was intransigent or inflexible. And it certainly wasn't because he was arrogant or uncommitted. I suspect it was because he was perceived as all of those things by many, if not most of the men he worked with. And there's only so much any man can do to change other people's perceptions of him."
Sixers eye record crowd
The Sydney Sixers believe they are on track to break their crowd record at the SCG on Friday night, when they take on Perth Scorchers.
Ticket sales have been tracking ahead of any other Big Bash League game at the SCG in the three seasons of the tournament, including the 27,000 who watched the Sixers take on Shane Warne's Melbourne Stars in the first edition of the Twenty20 competition.
Those heading there should turn up early – the crystal Ashes urn will be escorted on a lap of the ground before play.
Starc's comeback on ice
There had been hopes Mitchell Starc would be cleared to return from injury for the Sixers for their match against Hobart Hurricanes next Wednesday.
However, the Test left-armer will now have to wait until at least the BBL finals to make his bowling comeback from a back stress fracture.
Starc has been spotted rolling the arm over at the SCG nets and while he won't bowl he will be playing in the charity match Battle of the Smashers at Pratten Park, Ashfield on Sunday.
The game, to raise funds for the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal, will also feature Monty Panesar, boxer Danny Green and former footballers Nathan Hindmarsh, Michael O'Loughlin and Steve Mortimer. Entry is via gold coin donation.
Monty makes new friend
Panesar joined us on the panel for the latest edition of Tonk television on Thursday. While untroubled by the questions about England's demise, he was given a hard time by a fly who would not leave him alone during shooting.
But after withstanding Mitchell Johnson for an hour in Adelaide an insect was only going to worry him so much.
Praise for Prior, Broad
Props to England's Matt Prior and Stuart Broad for helping the man who was going to jump off a bridge near their hotel in Sydney. Prior, not involved in the one-day series, flew out as the story broke and only saw the huge reaction to it at his stopover.
"Wow just landed in Dubai and my phone has gone crazy!" he tweeted. "I guess everyone knows what happened now and I'm just happy we were there and could help in some little way. I just hope the young man recovers fully and one day is happy he is still alive. Puts sport in perspective that's for sure!"