Jason Gillespie's Diary: Reflections on the First Test
Going from the hotel to the ground for the first day of the First Ashes Test in England was an unusually casual affair. 'Flemmo' and I were kicking back at the rear of the bus listening to music while some lads played cards and others simply chatted away. I must admit, I hardly slept. I was very excited, although I get excited before every Test!
Well, what a remarkable day's play! 400-odd runs for 12 wickets. It was nice to start with a wicket first ball, thanks to a great low catch from 'Warney'. From there Atherton and Butcher played really well. We bowled a little short and it was a bit of a relief when 'Warney' got Butcher on lunch thanks to a great catch by 'Punter' [Ponting].
After lunch we picked up our game to get five wickets and it looked like we'd wrap it up pretty quickly after we had them 9/191 just after tea. But Caddick and Stewart got going and smashed us all around the park to nearly take the score to 300.
'Slats' and 'Haydos' played superbly until 'Haydos' was brilliantly caught. Unfortunately 'Punter' got one that kept a little low but with Slater going so well, we all hoped a first innings lead would happen on Friday.
Sadly, 'Slats' went early but in difficult conditions the Waugh boys played superbly. Steve was really aggressive and Mark played the anchor role. There was a good feeling at lunch that maybe we had got over the toughest of the conditions, but after lunch the England lads bowled very well. Mark got out one short of his 50 but 'Marto' picked up where he left off and by tea Steve had scored a great hundred and with the clouds gathering we were ahead with a small lead.
During tea we thought there would be little chance of further play but we managed to resume but for only two balls.
Rain delays are always a pain in the butt and you try to keep occupied as best you can. 'Warney', 'Pidgeon' [McGrath], team manager Steve Bernard and 'Punter' always play cards whilst most of the other boys sit around and listen to music and relax. 'Slats' and 'Binger' Lee had their guitars out belting out some tunes. ('Slats' needs some practise!) but on a whole it can be frustrating.
As like yesterday, we lost an early wicket but Adam Gilchrist came in and added 160 with 'Marto' in a partnership that really put us on top. 'Marto' was stuck on 99 at tea, he was quite relaxed on the outside but I am sure the nerves were there while he was relaxing in his corner sipping water and having the odd piece of fruit. After the break he brought up the ton much to everyone's relief. When he got out, 'Warney', Brett and myself all went pretty quickly and it looked like maybe 'Gilly' would be left just short of his ton. But Glenn McGrath rose to the occasion and so did 'Gilly'!
He absolutely smashed 'em and the shot to bring up the hundred would have to be one of the great shots of all time to bring up a century in Test cricket.
Holding a lead of nearly 300 - we all felt if we can sneak a few out tonight we would be well on our way to victory. After returning from a break for bad light, Glenn snared Atherton again to a great catch by Mark Waugh. For the rest of the day, Trescothick and Butcher played well.
England got off to a great start, Trescothick hooked a couple of sixes and Butcher looked pretty solid. After they added nearly a 100, Brett Lee produced a blinder of a delivery to knock over Butcher.
I was pretty happy with my bowling before lunch although over the whole game my bowling has been pretty poor except for the odd over. I just felt that I did not keep enough pressure on over both innings and that I did not bowl enough maiden overs to tighten the screws. Having a few wickets at the end of a game always adds respectability to your figures and we won so I can live with myself.
After lunch we wrapped it up pretty quickly, Hussain didn't return and 'Warney' finished with eight for the match, whoever suggested he is finished doesn't know what they are talking about.
'Gilly' got the Man of the Match award although Steve, 'Marto' or 'Warney' could have quite easily have received it, in what was a great team effort
Celebrations were plentiful and enjoyable. We didn't leave the change rooms until 9.30pm and the rooms were in an ugly state! "Funky" Colin Miller was the star of the show at the local walkabout hotel later that night serving behind the bar and trying his best to recreate scenes from the movie "Coyote Ugly". It was a fun night.
We're off to Taunton now for a game against Somerset and then back to London for the Second Test at Lord's.