The Circus is SBS's daily look at world sport from left field.
The Circus - Jan 4
Just because it's a new year doesn't mean The Circus will go any softer on sport's, err, tossers.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie … oh, oh, oh
Those who revel in the misfortune of the Australia cricket team – and there are many, despite what the marketers would have you think – would have thoroughly enjoyed the first day of the Sydney Test.
Despite losing the first session to rain, Pakistan took a tick more than 44 overs to skittle Ricky Ponting's men for just 127.
Yes, that's right - 127. Just seven runs more than Shane "Chris Gayle started it" Watson managed by himself in his maiden Test hundred at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It equalled Australia's fourth-lowest total against Pakistan since the two nations began wielding willow against one another in 1956.
Believe it or not, Ponting asked for it by winning the toss and electing to bat. Under cloudy skies. On a humid day. After it had rained for three hours. Nice one, Ricky.
Punter's bad day
Not that we want to rub salt into the skipper's misery, but Ponting capped one of his least memorable days with one of the worst cricket shots in Test history.
The day began with both teams paying tribute to Glenn McGrath's breast cancer foundation, and the charity didn't stop there.
After opening batsman Phil Hughes self-destructed in his Test recall in front of his home crowd, Punter strolled to the wicket and proceeded to play the laziest pull shot seen in years.
We have something of a short memory when it comes to all things cricket at The Circus, but Shane Warne's magnificently wasteful attempt to score a Test century in 2001 is the only other shot that comes to mind as a rival for Ponting's day one disaster.
You thought your New Year's Eve was big . . .
You'd forgive the Aussies for attributing their collapse to the remnants of a whopping New Year's Eve hangover.
But at least they turned up for work a couple of days later, which is a darn sight better than four of the University of Tennessee's college basketballers.
A quartet of Tennessee's finest young hoopsters got the party started a little early on New Year's Eve when they were pulled over for speeding.
A telltale whiff of suspicious smoke prompted further investigation by police and the four young players were eventually charged with a colourful variety of driving, guns and drug offences.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl apologised to just about everybody remotely connected with the team but it remains to be seen whether the group will play any further part in the Volunteers' (yes, really) season.
The party went off
While we're on unfortunate sports stars, spare a thought for baseballer Edwin Encarnacion, who stopped an exploding firecracker with his face on New Year's Eve.
The Toronto Blue Jays infielder's chance encounter with high-speed pyrotechnics came while he was holidaying in his native Dominican Republic.
The damage? Just some superficial burns and no surgery required. No prizes for guessing what Encarnacion's resolution for 2010 might involve.
When good card games turn bad
From suburban footy clubs to the inner sanctums of the world's best, locker rooms the world over are notorious havens for practical jokes.
But NBA player Gilbert Arenas pushed the boundaries of humour – not to mention a number of state and federal US laws – when he used a collection of guns as the punchline to one of his jokes.
Early reports suggested Arenas brandished a firearm when he confronted Washington Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton over gambling debts. but Arenas has since claimed the incident on Christmas Eve was blown out of proportion.
"We were friends before; we're friends now," Arenas told a media conference. "We don't have no problem."
Unsurprisingly for a man who has yet to play for the Wizards this season and was reportedly confronted by a gun-wielding teammate, Crittenton is yet to comment.
The numbers game
81 – the margin by which Baylor University's women basketballers thumped rival Texas State at the weekend
4 – the number of NCAA women's games decided by more than 60 points in one of the most one-sided rounds in history
26 – Brittney Griner's personal points tally in Baylor's big win
2 – The number of times Griner dunked over her hapless opponents.
Quote of the day
"You never want to see scores like today. It's not good for anyone. Not good for us or them. It's difficult to be in that situation." University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma after his side cruised to yet another thumping win. The Huskies, as Connecticut's team is known, won their first 11 games by an average of 46 points. How difficult can that really be, Geno?
Headline we'd like to see
Ponting to take horticulture course