Plays of the day November 8, 2007

A lockout, a slow start, and familiar chants

Mitchell Johnson got his baggy green from Glenn McGrath (file photo) © Getty Images

Welcome back, Glenn
It was like nothing had changed when Glenn McGrath walked on to the Gabba before the toss holding a baggy green. In January he had signed off from Tests and much of the year was spent discussing who would replace him. The debutant Mitchell Johnson won the race and McGrath was able to pass the baton and present the cap in person.

Phil Jaques waited 34 balls and 41 minutes for his opening single on his return to the side. It was hard to know whether Jaques or the crowd was more relieved when he worked Muttiah Muralitharan behind square leg.

Slipping through the fingers
Sri Lanka had trouble catching in the tour game in Adelaide and the problem afflicted them again here. Thilan Samaraweera missed a couple of tough chances off Jaques, who was also reprieved by Mahela Jayawardene, and Marvan Atapattu spilled Michael Hussey late in the day. Lapses are even more costly when a team is sent in.

Ignoring local history
One of the things Nasser Hussain's captaincy will be remembered for is his inserting of Australia at the Gabba in 2002-03. The pitch looked like it would offer significant help for the bowlers - it didn't and England were thrashed. On Wednesday Ricky Ponting mentioned the history of the ground for those choosing to bowl first - the rule is don't do it - but Jayawardene could not see past the colour of the surface. At stumps Australia were a very healthy 3 for 242.

Twelve years shall not weary them
Poor Murali. Twelve years after being called for throwing, and the no-ball chants still come from the Australian crowds. Fortunately the yells softened after the first over of each spell and he was able to outsmart Ponting and Jaques.

It's a lockout
News Ltd's reporters turned newsmakers when they were ordered back to their offices after negotiations with Cricket Australia over media rights broke down once the Test had started. The group of journalists was waiting for its passes on the footpath outside the Gabba before the senior management directive. Other organisations that boycotted the opening day because of the restrictions included the three major global news agencies, which meant the rest of the world got an extremely limited text and photographic coverage.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo