Plays of the day November 20, 2008

A storm and a boycott

Cricinfo staff

Fancy getting eight with one shot, Roy? © Getty Images

A stormy start
Part of a Gabba grandstand roof was damaged by a fierce storm on Wednesday night and the section was closed to the public for the start of the match. Structural engineers were called to inspect the upper eastern stand and assess the area following 77 millimetres of overnight rain and heavy winds in the city.

"Two sails above section 52 have been damaged and there is some minor damage to pylons supporting the section of the roof," Blair Conaghan, the manager of the Brisbane Cricket Ground, said. "Patrons will not be admitted to the areas affected by the storm damage." A corporate function room will be closed until the area is judged to be safe.

Play was delayed by half an hour due to soggy areas around the wicket block, but the game started under bright blue skies and warm conditions. During the day sails were cut down from the top of the stands and one drifted down on to a bottom tier of a member's area during the second session, giving new meaning to a restricted view.

A familiar predicament
Media coverage in the rest of the world for this series will be limited following a boycott of the international news and photo agencies due to a media accreditation dispute with Cricket Australia. Reuters, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Getty Images, which supplies photos to Cricinfo, are not covering the series in a repeat of their decision to suspend coverage last year.

The disagreement surrounds the syndication of images and stories to other publications. In 2007-08 the companies did not report on the first Test involving Sri Lanka, but an agreement was reached for the second game when Muttiah Muralitharan was nearing the world wicket-taking record. News Limited papers were also locked out of the first day at the Gabba last year before resolving their issues with Cricket Australia.

Eight is enough
An eight is a horrible thing at golf, but it's a novel experience for cricket. Andrew Symonds, who was dropped at square leg the previous ball, pulled wildly at Ian O'Brien and ran three, with the throw coming back to the wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum, who then threw the ball at the stumps and it went for four overthrows. By that stage Symonds and Clarke had run another, pushing the final tally to eight.

"A first time for everything; I've never seen one before," Clarke said. "Symo was taking it." The umpires don't have a signal for that, so Rudi Koertzen held up the right number of fingers to the scorer. Two balls later Symonds edged behind and his eventful comeback innings of 26 was over.

Symonds' salute
Symonds walked out to a royal reception from some supporters in the old hill area, who bowed at him like he had just returned with a boat full of barramundi. He sprinted onto the ground but took a while to warm-up before striking three fours in a row off Grant Elliott's medium pace. An airy drive was followed by a glance to fine-leg and the sequence was finished with a pull to midwicket, taking him to 16.

Australia head Southee
For the first session Tim Southee, the young swing bowler, was the toast of the Gabba for his three top-order wickets that shocked the hosts. But there is doubt over how old Southee is. The New Zealand Cricket Almanack says he is 19 and born on December 11, as does Cricinfo, while the media guide has his birthday as November 11, which would make him 20, and the media manager wasn't sure. There's a rumour Southee had a party recently but finding attendees was difficult. He ended the debate after play: his birthday is in December.