England’s opening batsman Dom Sibley had a memorable day in his Test career on Tuesday when he slammed his maiden international hundred in the absorbing second match in South Africa in Cape Town. The 24-year-old, who is playing just his third Test match after making a debut in New Zealand last November, remained not out on 133 in the second innings as the visitors set the Proteas a target of 438.
Sibley debut also proved to be unique as his family collected £21,000 (almost Rs 20 lakh) in winnings a bet by his late maternal grandfather eight years ago came to fruition. Kenneth Mackenzie, cricketer’s grandfather, had placed two punts — at 150-6 and 66-1 on Sibley playing for England when he was a teen.
Mackenzie passed away in 2011 but Dom Sibley’s mother Christine made the claim on his behalf after he made his international debut in Mount Maunganui last year. “He’d have been so proud of Dom’s achievement, so watching him was tinged with sadness, but he’d also have been delighted at pulling off the bet at massive odds,” Christine was quoted as saying by The Times.
‘Grandfather said Dom could play for England when he was five’
“Dom (Sibley) was five when he originally said he could play for England — by the time he was seven or eight he was playing for the under nines and that was when the inquiries were made at William Hill about the odds. He went back a few years later and told them he thought the odds were a bit skinny, but they honoured the bet,” she added.
Bookmakers William Hill in Leatherhead paid it out. “This is a record-breaking payout for any such bet involving a cricket protégé. Dom clearly made a massive impression on his adoring grandfather and it is a great shame he never lived to collect his winnings,” the company spokesman said.
Dom Sibley’s unbeaten knock put England in a strong position to level the series 1-1 after they lost the first match in Centurion by 107 runs last month. Joe Root’s side did well to bowl the Proteas out for 223 in their first innings to secure a vital lead of 46 and then came up with a strong batting performance in the second essay. At the time of writing this report, SA were 189 for 5 in the second session of the last day — striving hard to draw the match.
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