Greig's final innings at the SCG 

It was Tony Greig's final innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground and he was sent off with a standing ovation.

His family and friends gathered at the SCG as the cricketing world paid tribute to the late former England captain, who lost his battle with lung cancer after suffering a heart attack on Saturday.

The flags were at half mast and a wide brim hat, which was synonymous with the respected caller, hung over the pink stumps at the centre of the ground during the minute silence.

Greig's Channel Nine colleague Richie Benaud opened the broadcast with an insight into the cricketer that tamed bowling attacks all around the world, closing out with a tribute to the man that touched many at home through his insightful words.

Benaud described Greig as a "gifted colleague and friend".

"The striking thing about him was his strength, so strong in every way ... a terrific guy, a man I always liked to have on my side," Benaud said on Channel Nine.

The hat of the late Tony Greig features ahead of play during day one of the Third Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground.Photo: Getty Images

"In commentary he did everything and he did it wonderfully well. The weather walls, pitch reports ... Greigy did a tremendous amount of research on pitches, soils and cracks – he never wanted to be wrong, just confident and firm and strong."

Greig's fellow callers each provided their own story and tribute to the South African-born cricket tragic.

While both teams wore black arm bands as a mark of their respect, the most heart-felt gesture was Michael Clarke's.

The Australian captain was approached by Greig's son, Tom Greig, who provided Clarke with the white handkerchief he wore around his neck during his playing days.

Clarke, who donned the handkerchief with no hesitation, said it was "the least I can do" to honour his friend, with whom he developed a close relationship with over many years in the game.

Mark Taylor hailed Greig for his willingness to put his reputation on the line for the good of the game, as he did in pioneering the use of crash helmets.

Ian Healy praised Greig’s industrious research, saying he was the first person he knew to have a laptop with WiFi by his bedside.

Ian Chappell recalled how Greig’s fairness spared him in a difficult situation when the two captains were asked whether the third Test at Headingley in 1975 should proceed after the pitch was sabotaged. Greig said no, despite believing England held the advantage.

"He was combative but he was not about to take advantage of you," said Chappell.

Greig’s wife Vivian was overcome by the outpouring of emotion, saying on Test eve: "I just wish he could have seen it"

"I’m so grateful, truly grateful."

The SCG Trust urged fans to wear Greig-style sun hats, and thousands did, including his sons Mark and Tom.

 with AAP


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