Updated: 12/06/2013 10:52 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia, England teams pay tribute to Mandela during Ashes

The Australia and England cricket teams paid tribute to Nelson Mandela at the second Ashes Test in Adelaide on Friday, wearing black armbands and observing a minute's silence.


Australia, England teams pay tribute to Mandela during Ashes

England cricketers observe a minutes silence to mark the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela on the second day of their second Ashes Test match against Australia, in Adelaide, on December 6, 2013

Both teams lined up in Mandela's honour ahead of the second day's play at Adelaide Oval as a photo of the anti-apartheid hero was shown on the ground's large video screen.

Mandela, South Africa's first black president and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, died Thursday aged 95.

The Australian cricket fraternity joined political leaders in voicing their respects.

"The world has lost a great man. RIP Nelson Mandela," fast bowling great Glenn McGrath tweeted.

Former Test opening batsman Matthew Hayden added: "Very sad day as we say our goodbyes to the warrior for human rights and peace Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. May you RIP."

In Dunedin, New Zealand, in the cricket Test between New Zealand and the West Indies, both sides stood for a minute's silence in memory of Mandela before the afternoon session of play commenced.

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, one of the first international figures to visit Mandela in prison as chairman of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons in 1986, reflected on his great love of cricket in his tribute.

"He was a tall, spare man standing very straight with a steady eye. He was a person of natural grace and dignity," Fraser said of the 1986 meeting.

"He looked at me and said, 'Mr Fraser, is Donald Bradman still alive?' Later I was able to take a bat to Mandela, signed by Bradman, with the following notation: 'To Nelson Mandela, in recognition of a great unfinished innings'."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott hailed Mandela as "a truly great man" and said he "will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader".

"He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid," said Abbott.

"When that fight was won, he inspired us again by his capacity to forgive and reconcile his country.

"While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he has inspired countless men and women throughout the world to live more courageous and honest lives."

Mandela, who was elected South Africa's first black president after spending nearly three decades in prison, had been receiving treatment for a lung infection at his Johannesburg home since September, after three months in hospital in a critical state.

His condition deteriorated and he died following complications from the lung infection, with his family by his side.

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