Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth January 11, 2012

It all happens at the WACA

Perth has seen a bat standing unaided in a crack on the pitch, aluminium bats, fans booing Ian Healy and has retained its idiosyncrasies over the years, making it the most talked-about Australian ground
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The WACA might be the only ground in the world that has a big dispenser of free sunscreen for anybody, preferably everybody, to use. "Apply sunscreen before you go out in the sun," a sign on one of the walls says, under which is a giant two-litre container of sunscreen neatly padlocked away.

There are no automatic glass doors at the WACA that open when they sense someone near them. Last night, I got locked inside, and Graeme Wood, former Western Australia and Australia opener, and now the outgoing chief-executive officer of the WACA, had to come out himself with a key to unlock the gates and let me out.

It is a ground where the advertising logo painted into the grass has to be further behind the stumps than at any other ground so that the wicketkeeper doesn't end up standing on it. It has a pitch on which Geoff Marsh once stuck his bat inside a crack, and watched it stand there without any support. The photograph of that moment sits proudly in the museum. Grounds are often known by a signature wide-angle photograph. The WACA can be identified by its pitch.

On one such cracked-up pitch, Curtly Ambrose took seven wickets for one run in a fearsome spell. Four years later, when he tried to slide his bat in, it got stuck in a crack and he was run out. Tony Greig once lost his key in one of the cracks while doing a pitch report. The Fremantle Doctor - the afternoon sea breeze in Western Australia - is famous in the rest of the cricketing world because of this ground. It is, however, the wind from the desert, of a drier variety, that has the most impact on the cricket. It is that wind that helps the ball swing. No amount of wind can take away the flies, though. The flies do not swarm around you, and are, in fact, not really visible; but the odd fly somehow finds a way to keep pestering you.

The big scoreboard at the ground lists an all-time Western Australian XI. Rod Marsh is their wicketkeeper. Not Adam Gilchrist, who makes it to almost every all-time Test XI. Western Australia has given the world some of its most-eccentric characters. The current chief-executive Wood was nicknamed Kamikaze Kid in his playing days because of his manic running between the wickets. Once, after he scored a Test century against West Indies here, Wood, who had been getting criticism for his performances, flipped the Channel 9 commentators the bird.

Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh, two of the greatest Western Australian cricketers, once betted against Australia even when they were playing in the match. Lillee threatened to kick Javed Miandad here. He batted with an aluminium bat here and, incredibly, expressed reluctance to change to a normal one even after the ball seemed to have gone out of shape with a crisp hit that somehow failed to make it to what was a ridiculously long straight boundary back then. The crowd booed as Lillee threw the metal bat away in disgust.

Perth has given us crowds as parochial as its players have been colourful. The late eighties to mid-nineties wasn't a good time for an Australia wicketkeeper to come to Perth. Ian Healy was booed when on Australia duty, Adam Gilchrist given a harsh welcome when he moved to Western Australia. The fans at Perth believed that spot belonged to Tim Zoehrer, a cult figure here, and considered by many to be the best keeper to fast bowling in Australia in his time.

It is a struggle to retain the idiosyncrasies of the WACA. Trinity School, opposite the WACA, produced Zoehrer and Simon Katich. The practice pitches are situated between the WACA and the school. At the end of this cricket season, a road will be built that will cause the WACA to lose some of its practice pitches.

It is a wonder that the WACA has escaped the corporatism of Cricket Australia. Unlike the SCG, the grass banks have stayed. The floodlight towers don't look attractive but they do their job. It is here that I finally found a proper cricket hat - the "Greg Chappell one" they call it here - with no sponsor names on it. There is less concrete and more character. "It's an aged stadium," Wood says. "It's hard to maintain. The ICC and Cricket Australia requirements to host international games are getting tougher and tougher to meet. You guys [journalists] are growing in number. For the World Cup [in 2015] we will have to have an additional facility. That's an ongoing battle, certainly something that keeps us busy. The WACA is renowned worldwide. We hope to continue playing Test cricket here."

Much tougher than keeping the facilities up to scratch has been retaining the characteristics of the pitch. The soil that causes the kiss-off bounce is rare. It comes from the banks of the Harvey River in Waroona and is running out. The pitches in the early 2000s made the WACA look like an old wrestler trying to live off the stories of his badass days, sort of the way Scott Hall, or Razor Ramon, is now by featuring in a documentary about his life.

For the WACA, though, things are slowly returning to the way they were. Cameron Sutherland, the pitch curator, has studied soil types, has researched videos of the bad old days of the WACA bounce and collated it with the soil types, and seems to have got a block that promises a lot. The one used during the last Ashes gave Australia reason enough to use four fast bowlers, a decision that was vindicated through a win. In November 2010, on a particularly hot day with a lot of desert wind, a crack in the pitch opened up wide enough for you to fit a hand in, and all hell broke loose in a second XIs game between Western Australia and New South Wales.

The WACA is one of the most idiosyncratic and storied grounds in perhaps the most isolated city of the cricket world. The MCG and SCG lay claim to being the greatest Test venues, but the WACA is the most talked-about Australian ground, at least outside Australia. It is a slap in the face of homogeneity. As Bill Lawry would say, "It's all happening at the WACA." Long may it happen.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    I don't usually comment on articles, but this one has warmed my heart. In an era of commercialism the WACA stands proud with two fingers raised in salute. On a personal note, as a Perth boy stuck in the fridged cold of the UK, this has warmed my heart. And has made me very homesick to say the least! Top drawer article.

  • JbSt on January 13, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    a couple of points re DK Lillee; _the aluminium bat was a commercial set up, at that time was with in the rules except the English claimed it had damaged the ball therefore could not be used. the stroke in question was quite tame as compared to that described _the 8/59 vs World XI, was of course followed by a change of innings and another DKL taking another wicket all in the morning session on the second day _another mighty effort was vs Queensland in the then Gillette Cup, WA all out for 60 something, Lillee bowls Richards for 0 in 1st over after a number of bouncers and umpires warning, game over....

    the pitch has never been the same since the ground was rebuilt and reshaped to improve drainage and prevent the annual flooding during winter.

    a great place see, play and enjoy cricket.

  • Rooboy on January 13, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    lol oh yeah chokkashokka. Test cricket needs more pitches like the ones produced in india. Who doesn't love it when side A declares at 3/600 then side B declares at 5/700 on the fourth day? Rivetting cricket, that ..

  • Meety on January 13, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    @plod - too bad all that (Adelaide) will be gone by the time a test is played there again! @ Simoc - look his stats up, he took 38 wickets including 5/58. I am fairly certain this occurred after he was replaced by Gilly! @ jkaussie - thanks for that, I had to go check his stats to see whether I was making this up or not!!!! LOL!!!!

  • bumsonseats on January 12, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    fav ground in oz and my 1st ever ground visited in 1987/88 the perth challenge a 1 day series. many happy memories all good, and the many times iv returned 15 times to memory. the nicest people in australia. great beaches scarborough been my fav and place to stay. happy days. dpk

  • moBlue on January 12, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    good writing, sid! sometimes i wary of *only* the cricket, and all the dull comments and the overwrought cliches! but this was an interesting read. thanks. may someone flip the current bunch of commentators the bird over the next 5 days!!! i can't wait for the day when the commentators actually learn how to entertain! the horrendous and shocking sidhu at least had *that* going for him!

  • donda on January 12, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    Fast bowlers paradise WACA. No other ground in the world can produce bounce and pace like WACA. Some times it's impossible to play at WACA at all. I hope to see great batting by some one in this test. A hundred at WACA means double hundred in normal conditions.

    Awesome pitch for bowlers and Indian old batsmen will struggle on this pitch.

  • debashisgamma on January 12, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Beautifully written.Informative and entertaining.

  • spence1324 on January 12, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    @chokkaashokka,the boards are accountable! we fans ask for 'grazing minefields' all the time the reason? we love it when the indian batsman dance at the grease ha ha!

  • klassickc on January 12, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Sid what an article man!!!...after a very long time I have read such a brilliant article..keep it up!..I also loved the Scott Hall's reference!..Hoping India will do well..

  • on January 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    I don't usually comment on articles, but this one has warmed my heart. In an era of commercialism the WACA stands proud with two fingers raised in salute. On a personal note, as a Perth boy stuck in the fridged cold of the UK, this has warmed my heart. And has made me very homesick to say the least! Top drawer article.

  • JbSt on January 13, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    a couple of points re DK Lillee; _the aluminium bat was a commercial set up, at that time was with in the rules except the English claimed it had damaged the ball therefore could not be used. the stroke in question was quite tame as compared to that described _the 8/59 vs World XI, was of course followed by a change of innings and another DKL taking another wicket all in the morning session on the second day _another mighty effort was vs Queensland in the then Gillette Cup, WA all out for 60 something, Lillee bowls Richards for 0 in 1st over after a number of bouncers and umpires warning, game over....

    the pitch has never been the same since the ground was rebuilt and reshaped to improve drainage and prevent the annual flooding during winter.

    a great place see, play and enjoy cricket.

  • Rooboy on January 13, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    lol oh yeah chokkashokka. Test cricket needs more pitches like the ones produced in india. Who doesn't love it when side A declares at 3/600 then side B declares at 5/700 on the fourth day? Rivetting cricket, that ..

  • Meety on January 13, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    @plod - too bad all that (Adelaide) will be gone by the time a test is played there again! @ Simoc - look his stats up, he took 38 wickets including 5/58. I am fairly certain this occurred after he was replaced by Gilly! @ jkaussie - thanks for that, I had to go check his stats to see whether I was making this up or not!!!! LOL!!!!

  • bumsonseats on January 12, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    fav ground in oz and my 1st ever ground visited in 1987/88 the perth challenge a 1 day series. many happy memories all good, and the many times iv returned 15 times to memory. the nicest people in australia. great beaches scarborough been my fav and place to stay. happy days. dpk

  • moBlue on January 12, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    good writing, sid! sometimes i wary of *only* the cricket, and all the dull comments and the overwrought cliches! but this was an interesting read. thanks. may someone flip the current bunch of commentators the bird over the next 5 days!!! i can't wait for the day when the commentators actually learn how to entertain! the horrendous and shocking sidhu at least had *that* going for him!

  • donda on January 12, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    Fast bowlers paradise WACA. No other ground in the world can produce bounce and pace like WACA. Some times it's impossible to play at WACA at all. I hope to see great batting by some one in this test. A hundred at WACA means double hundred in normal conditions.

    Awesome pitch for bowlers and Indian old batsmen will struggle on this pitch.

  • debashisgamma on January 12, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Beautifully written.Informative and entertaining.

  • spence1324 on January 12, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    @chokkaashokka,the boards are accountable! we fans ask for 'grazing minefields' all the time the reason? we love it when the indian batsman dance at the grease ha ha!

  • klassickc on January 12, 2012, 17:00 GMT

    Sid what an article man!!!...after a very long time I have read such a brilliant article..keep it up!..I also loved the Scott Hall's reference!..Hoping India will do well..

  • stormy16 on January 12, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    WACA holds some great memories. The Ambrose spell noted in the article. Sachin scored a hundered here as a youngster when the wicket was still bouncy and you knew this guys was special then. The best for me was the deciding game Aus V WI (after WI won by 1 or 3 runs in Adelaide) and Aus called in the WACA specialist Jo Angel who kncoked over Dessy Heynes who left the field bleeding from the head!Next man Richie Richardson walked out in a floppy sun hat and hooked the fitst bouncer in to the stands - that for me was a cricketing moment I will never forget. One Ricky Ponting made his debut and got a rotten decision on 96 on debut. I also recall Mike Whitney playing out Hadlee to draw a game but not sure if I am right on this.

  • Valavan on January 12, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    @chokkashokka, oh so loads of sour grapes eaten by now. Test means testing batting and bowling concentration. WACA has been made flat for the past 5 - 6 years until it was changed last year in Ashes 2010. Perth and brisbane were classically fast wickets, why in earth India, SL producing dead wickets and square turners, home advantage applies to all teams, if a team want to justify themselves, they must be ready to play at any conditions, Thats why players like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Sunil Gavaskar are still remembered. cricinfo please publish.

  • Marcio on January 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Great piece, Monga. Cricket history is one of the joys of the game. Looking forward to seeing if this pitch turns back the clock. Would love to see it! And yeah @findadiat, the stuff written in the SMH and The Age (same paper, actually) was garbage journalism written to stir people up. A pity some people were foolish enough to buy into it. Let's get back to the game!

  • tanstell87 on January 12, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Razor Ramon - the bad guy.....good to see his reference....as an Indian fan...i would like India to comeback at WACA....but it all happens at the WACA - Bill Lawry will be screaming tomorrow....good that the pitch will be old fashioned - the bounce,the swing...the batting skills from both sides will be on full display...so guys get prepared...!

  • RandyOZ on January 12, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Can't wait for some WACA chin music!

  • stark-truth on January 12, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    This piece is slightly bordering on the mawkish and the maudlin. Would have been better had a local written on characteristics of WACA as it seems obvious that patches have been put together of incidents from various sources..

  • plod on January 12, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    The WACA a pretty ground? Give me a break. The best cricket ground in OZ is the Adelaide Oval. The rest of the states, "Suffer in ya jocks mate!!" It has history, old world charm, the scoreboard and the hill, its playing surface is a royal green carpet and the wicket gives everyone a chance. The WACA is famous for three things. 1/. Barry Richards 356 for SA against WA in 70/71. 2/. Greg Chappell's maiden test century against England, 70/71 and 3/. DK Lillee's 8/59 against a World X1 in 71/72 I think. And special mention to Gilly's quickfire ton against the poms in 2007!!

  • jkaussie on January 12, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    @Meety - Tim Zoehrer did bowl some legspin, both in 1st class games for WA and for Australia (county games on an Ashes tour). I believe in the WA games he was picked as keeper but Veletta took the gloves so Zoehrer could have a bowl; in the county games he played as a bat and bowled some overs whilst Healy kept.

  • kabe_ag7 on January 12, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Wow. Sid Monga, man, you writes the best pieces. What a change from the trashy journalism we are witnessing on this tour in The Age and SMH.

  • on January 12, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Love the Scott Hall reference slipped in there. Great piece.

  • Mad_Hamish on January 12, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    Gilchrist was a better batsman than Marsh but Marsh was better behind the sticks than Gilchrist although it's fair to say that he didn't get to keep to a spinner in Warne's league which would have been another test. Marsh's test batting fell way hugely, before WSC he was averaging 33, after it 19.

  • Nomad82 on January 12, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    I've always loved how the WACA can rewards good bowling and punishes bad batting with its incredible bounce and carry, but rewards good batting and bad bowling with one of the faster outfields around. When at or near its best, it's an amazing cricket wicket.

  • ImpartialObserver on January 12, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    WACA is, somehow, my favourite ground. It also appears to be the best looking ground. And I've never felt the Light Towers there are anything but beautiful. The look better than those at the MCG or SCG.

    Further, the fact that the pitch has its own character, really makes it stand out.

    And I can never forget the 114 that Sachin made at this wonderful ground on a bouncy pitch in 1992. It was a real Masterclass.

    Waiting for tomorrow's match irrespective of the result. Just love matches at the WACA.

    I'd like to go on a pilgrimage to WACA once!

  • dunger.bob on January 12, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    Yep, you gotta love the WACCA haven't you?

    Its the cranky old man of test pitches. It seems to have no time for imposters, but richly rewards players with the right technique and mind set. Its like it says to the players "Ok, if you are good enough at batting or bowling, you will do well. If you aren't actually up to it, I'm going to slaughter you".

    Tendulkar has demonstrated his credentials in this place. He should excel. Sehwag is the type of player who could also do well here. A good eye and crisp hitting is essential, and we all know that he has both. Its just a matter of can he hold his nerve, a-la Gilchrist in 2007. If he can, the ground isn't big enough to contain him.

    Overall, its just a great place to play and watch cricket. Lets all hope that the really good players in both teams can come to terms with it this year. If so, we should have one hell of a good Test match on our hands.

  • baskar_guha on January 12, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Very nice prose. Looking forward to hopefully a memorable test match. Hope the Fab 4 don't fall through the cracks of WACA.

  • VinodGupte on January 12, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    rarely has a cricket ground excited cricket fans as much as the WACA has. AUS has the best cricketing pitches, grounds and stadia in the world and every cricket fan must thank AUS for that. watching matches played in AUS gives me the most joy. face it - no other team brings as much excitement to game as AUS does.

  • Cool_Jeeves on January 12, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    Aussies are chickening out. Faced with this Indian team which cant hold a bat straight to a genuine fast bowler, they are actually trying to spice the pitch up by restoring it to its former pace, leaving grass etc. A bit like Muhammad Ali slipping in knuckle spikes into his gloves before facing Buster Douglas (not that they were contemporaries).

    Come on, slow things down a bit...dont you want dear old Sachin to score his 100th 100? Arent you all waiting with bated breath for that?

    AndyPe: Bruce Liard never played West Indies in a test at Waca

  • anver777 on January 12, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    India desperately need a re Birth @ Perth to bring some life to the series..whatever! i still predict Ind will face 4/0 whitewash !!!!!!!!!!!

  • on January 12, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    @Sidharth- You are more than awesome when describing such peculiar things. You are now my most favourite Cricinfo writer. I have been following your each and every piece of this tour. Keep up the good work. The most amazing thing in you is that you are most unbiased writer and your way of writing is very cool and calm; you are MS Dhoni of Cricinfo :)

  • Naresh28 on January 12, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Clarke bowling spin at Sydney is a clear indication that Oz will go four pace attack. Indian batsman continue to face a battery of good pacy bowlers. Hence all those calling for Sachins head are mislead - he has scored in SA, in ENgland (91 and 56) and now in Oz he leads the indian batters. Maybe India should change batting order for first innings (best batsman to open) For me Gambhir/Kohli change for SHARMA.

  • chokkashokka on January 12, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    seeing what is happening in test matches in australia, england and south africa - the total mockery of wickets that being served up - is going to polarize world cricket like never before. In the name of home field advantage, the curators are serving up these grazing minefields that are reducing 5 day games to a joke - 15-20 wickets falling in a day. The boards of these 3 countries should have to be held accountable. How do they expect from the sub-continental teams when they host test matches at home? What rubbish - the kiwis used to produce these type of grazing fields and they soon realized that the teams with teh big audiences back home and the rich advertisers did not want to tour over there. Perhaps that is how australia, england and SA need to be dealt with. Stop touring these countries - simple. No money no honey - bounce that.

  • truebleue_cricfan on January 12, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Excellent piece. When I was a kid, I used to bowl to imaginary batsmen in my yard, imagining that I was bowling on some of the famous grounds around the world. The WACA was always my favourite one. Because of its pace and bounce. I was sad to read that its pace and bounce was no longer there, but happy that it is slowly coming back. Its a great ground and deserves to host many more matches. My first memories of the WACA are the Perth challenge tournament in 86 featuring WI, AUS, ENG and PAK.

  • AidanFX on January 12, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Yep no drop in pitch - you drop in Pitch would ruin the uniqueness that is WACA; the drop in seems to have improved Melb but taken away characteristics from Sydney

  • Sanj747 on January 12, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    Nice piece of writing Mr Monga. A welcome change to the friendly and sometimes touch banter that is going on in the present series between the 2 teams and their supporters. Look forward to a great test match as always.

  • stalefresh on January 12, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Magnificient. Can't wait for the test to begin on WACA. A pitch should be either fast and pacy or a rank turner - there should be no room in international cricket for flat meaningless pitches. Wonder when will some cricket board get this message? The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

  • ravi_hari on January 12, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    The last time Aussies played here it took them less than 100 overs to take 20 English wkts. How long can India resist is the question. Aussies also did not fare that good but Hussey and Watson were outstanding in batting. If you look at the bowling line up it is almost the same as last year. 1 lefty and 3 right handers. The right handers are the same - Harris, Hilfy, Siddle. Starc comes in for Johnson this time. 18 wkts were taken between Harris and Johnson. Aussies had Smith in the side but he had not bowled at all in the match. If the pitch looks the same like last year or even more lethal, it makes sense for Aussies to go with 4 pacers. With Hilfy and Siddle in top form, the 4th seamer himself may not get to bowl much if Harris maintains his consistant wicket taking ability. However, Aussies also should be wary of Indian pace trio. Zaheer will be very dangerous to handle and Ishant and Umesh will bowl with fire. Clarke and Hussey once again have to click to win the series for them.

  • on January 12, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Why the Razor reference, chiko? :)

  • inefekt on January 12, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    Being a Perth lad, I have visited the WACA many times to watch cricket. One infamous incident you forgot to mention was the crowd invasion where Terry Alderman tackled a spectator and badly injured himself in the process. I recall it was an English fan celebrating his team getting to 400?

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Great article! I remember watching a video footage on YouTube of the 2nd XI game in the article! It was an unplayable dangerous wicket which could have harmed a batsman. Warner might have memories of that. Take a look here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D7-1TgkLhA

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    One of the best articles I've read on cricinfo. Lovely love letter it was.

  • Simoc on January 12, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Since Perth is the most isolated city in the world, it probably is in the cricket world as well. I doubt your memory on Zoehrer returning to the team as a leggie, Meety, given the reason why he was outed.Rod Marsh probably picked the all time best team but Gilchrist is from NSW and a far better cricketer than Marsh ever was.

  • AndyPe on January 12, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    Great memories as a kid watching the mighty windies attack of the 80s at the WACA - Holding, Roberts, Garner, Croft, Marshall etc.... Holdings run started near the sight screen and i used to sit near the screen at the old members end with my Dad. Bruce Laird would often have to face them with the new ball. he was one of the smallest guys but i reckon he was one of the bravest cricketers of all time. Never took a backward step against the might of the windies greats. Then DK and Thommo opening the bowling for Australia. Gillys ton in a seession against the poms also a stand out memory.

  • Joji_ on January 12, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    On my last official trip to WACA, I was fortunate enough to watch a match in WACA. Between Tasmania and Western australia I guess. This ground seems old and still escapes the gimmicks of corporate cricket. I loved the WACA. It seemed to me what actual cricket is about. The practice pitches, the old dingy elevator all are so nostalgic.

  • Meety on January 11, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    Top shelf article Mr Monga! Yep, Ian Healy was booed by the Perth crowds when he took Zoeherer's place in the Test team. I originally (not from WA), was in the pro-Zoeherer camp. Then at the ned of his career Gilly moved from NSW to WA & got booed after Zoeherer got dropped. From memory Zoeherer briefly returned to the WA side as a leg spinner/batsmen! With initial success! @Mitcher - here, here! Long live the WACA!! I would like to see the old plate-cracking on Day 4 & 5 (if the match lasts that long).

  • HatsforBats on January 11, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    Fingers crossed the pitch is back to it's best; putting in a drop-in at the Waca should be made a criminal offense (although it may be an improvement in Adelaide!). I'm glad Gilly doesn't make the All-Time WA XI, we'll gladly take him in his native NSW. I'll be unsuprised if Aus take 4 quicks; Clarke/Warner can carry some spin overs.

  • Mitcher on January 11, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    Beautiful piece. Got me fired up about tomorrow's action already. Before the inevitable pitch moaning winds up. Just consider the Geoff marsh and his bat story. Even if this years pitch regains some past glory, it'll have nothing on the good (or is that, bad) old days! Long live the WACA!!

  • Mitcher on January 11, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    Beautiful piece. Got me fired up about tomorrow's action already. Before the inevitable pitch moaning winds up. Just consider the Geoff marsh and his bat story. Even if this years pitch regains some past glory, it'll have nothing on the good (or is that, bad) old days! Long live the WACA!!

  • HatsforBats on January 11, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    Fingers crossed the pitch is back to it's best; putting in a drop-in at the Waca should be made a criminal offense (although it may be an improvement in Adelaide!). I'm glad Gilly doesn't make the All-Time WA XI, we'll gladly take him in his native NSW. I'll be unsuprised if Aus take 4 quicks; Clarke/Warner can carry some spin overs.

  • Meety on January 11, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    Top shelf article Mr Monga! Yep, Ian Healy was booed by the Perth crowds when he took Zoeherer's place in the Test team. I originally (not from WA), was in the pro-Zoeherer camp. Then at the ned of his career Gilly moved from NSW to WA & got booed after Zoeherer got dropped. From memory Zoeherer briefly returned to the WA side as a leg spinner/batsmen! With initial success! @Mitcher - here, here! Long live the WACA!! I would like to see the old plate-cracking on Day 4 & 5 (if the match lasts that long).

  • Joji_ on January 12, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    On my last official trip to WACA, I was fortunate enough to watch a match in WACA. Between Tasmania and Western australia I guess. This ground seems old and still escapes the gimmicks of corporate cricket. I loved the WACA. It seemed to me what actual cricket is about. The practice pitches, the old dingy elevator all are so nostalgic.

  • AndyPe on January 12, 2012, 1:49 GMT

    Great memories as a kid watching the mighty windies attack of the 80s at the WACA - Holding, Roberts, Garner, Croft, Marshall etc.... Holdings run started near the sight screen and i used to sit near the screen at the old members end with my Dad. Bruce Laird would often have to face them with the new ball. he was one of the smallest guys but i reckon he was one of the bravest cricketers of all time. Never took a backward step against the might of the windies greats. Then DK and Thommo opening the bowling for Australia. Gillys ton in a seession against the poms also a stand out memory.

  • Simoc on January 12, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Since Perth is the most isolated city in the world, it probably is in the cricket world as well. I doubt your memory on Zoehrer returning to the team as a leggie, Meety, given the reason why he was outed.Rod Marsh probably picked the all time best team but Gilchrist is from NSW and a far better cricketer than Marsh ever was.

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    One of the best articles I've read on cricinfo. Lovely love letter it was.

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Great article! I remember watching a video footage on YouTube of the 2nd XI game in the article! It was an unplayable dangerous wicket which could have harmed a batsman. Warner might have memories of that. Take a look here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D7-1TgkLhA

  • inefekt on January 12, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    Being a Perth lad, I have visited the WACA many times to watch cricket. One infamous incident you forgot to mention was the crowd invasion where Terry Alderman tackled a spectator and badly injured himself in the process. I recall it was an English fan celebrating his team getting to 400?

  • on January 12, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Why the Razor reference, chiko? :)