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Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day

Quick singles: A subdued Army

Peter English

November 24, 2006

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Bill Collins and his banned trumpet © Getty Images
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Gateman gets connected
Albert, a gentlemanly Queensland Cricket corporate gateman, has been serving with distinction at the Gabba for years, but one of the downsides of his job is he can't watch the game. He greets and directs people cheerfully as they exit the lifts and occasionally gets a score update. During the Test a kind businessman gave him an "event com radio" that offers a choice of the ABC or Nine commentary so he no longer misses out.

Where is the fun?
First it was the eviction of the Barmy Army's trumpeter. Now England fans are reportedly boycotting the stadium and even the locals are complaining they are being drowned in stadium regulations. "Queensland has banned fun," Solomon Rowland, a Brisbane solicitor, said. "It now seems to be illegal to have a good time." Despite the complaints, the ground and local cricket authorities are happy with the rules.

No singing when they're not winning
England's on-field performances have not been the only disappointment of the first Test. The Barmy Army's singing has been as quiet as their support bowlers, although they have not been helped by being scattered around the ground. Before tea a pocket of fans at the Stanley Street end tried to get going and ran through a few of their repertoire, but they could sustain the music for only 12 minutes. Like their playing heroes, the army operates better as a pack than a collection of individuals.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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