Second Test, Adelaide December 1, 2006

Postcards from Adelaide Oval

Operating instructions in the upright urinals beneath the Favell-Dansie Indoor Cricket Centre

The Shot That Echoed Round the World: You’d have sworn Monty Panesar was preparing himself for a triumphant return to the colours. He was on the arena before play undertaking a solo fielding routine – with disarming athleticism, what’s more. Word that he had not made the XI reached our overflow eyrie at about 9.30am, when the phone of my Guardian colleague Lawrence Booth delivered itself of a text message from his fiancée in England: ‘I can’t believe they haven’t picked Monty.’ Lawrence harrumphed: ‘How come she knows and we don’t? She’s in Cambridge. And she doesn’t even like cricket.’

The Song That Echoed In My Ears: Cricket Australia may have barred Barmy bugler Billy Cooper from the Test, but what will they do about the manglings of ‘God Save The Queen’ by their chanteuse of choice Amy Pearson, who insists on wringing the Britain’s anthem for bathos, as though she’s belting out ‘The Greatest Love of All’? Heaven knows, it’s probably the B-side for her disco version of ‘Amazing Grace’. But can someone please tell her that it’s an anthem, not a torch song?

Fielder Watch: Michael Hussey hardly touched a ball in the first session, yet covered more miles than anyone, for much of the time traipsing from deep square leg to deep square leg, with a detour to convey the bowler’s cap and glasses to the umpire: a plan, perhaps, to expend some of the kid-drunk-on-red-cordial energy for which Mr Cricket is renowned.

Fielder Watch 2: Had Hussey had been at mid-off in the last over, Kevin Pietersen would have squandered his good work, and wasted much of Paul Colingwood’s. As it was, Glenn McGrath showed his age for the first time this season, and could not quite bridge the distance. On such chances of field placing can whole games hinge.

Attire of the Day: The Observer’s droll columnist Kevin Mitchell, a fine writer and one of the gentlemen of the tour, has been flaunting his Australian upbringing this summer, his guide to Aussie Rhyming Slang a tour de force of either archaeology or imagination. Today his residual Aussieness was put to the test by a SACA jobsworth who insisted that he needed a collar to enter the media area. Kevin emerged from the merchandising tent in a ‘Go Off In Green and Gold’ polo shirt, pulling it off with surprising aplomb. The expenses claim will need explaining, though.

Sign of the Day: Operating instructions in the upright urinals beneath the Favell-Dansie Indoor Cricket Centre. ‘Aim Below. Stop. Think.’ In that order. The first I can understand. The second seems superfluous. The third is the most intriguing of all. Think about what? How deeply? For how long?

‘Mate, are you finished there? I’m busting.’ - ‘I’m sorry, I’m still thinking.’

It reminded me of the sign that Mike Brearley noticed in the dressing room at the SCG, which he describes in The Ashes Retained (1979): ‘Remove clothes before using shower.’ What would be the consequences of not doing so? Brearley wondered. And why would the authority responsible for the sign care?

Hey, they didn’t even score at three runs an over. Waddya want? Cardus?

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on December 12, 2006, 1:47 GMT

    The sign works in a way that when you urinate on it it shows the number .05 which is the legal blood alcohol limit in SA. So the sign actually reads Aim Below .05 . Stop. Think. Its quite clever i think

  • testli5504537 on December 2, 2006, 11:30 GMT

    I can't belive england didn't pick monty. Far too negative, they'll be regreting it on the 5th day when the picth is taking spin.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 21:36 GMT

    I'm pretty sure that the sign in the urinal was an alcohol measuring device, used to help prevent drink driving and disorderly behaviour by encouraging responsible drinking.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 20:55 GMT

    Re: Fielder Watch 2. Like many people in the UK, perhaps, I watched the end of the last session hoping that 1) both batsmen would survive and 2) PC would post a well deserved century.

    I nearly choked on my cornflakes when KP hit that stupid shot into the air; he's gone, I thought, the twit. What a relief that it was McGrath in the vicinity. The days of Australia being a fit, athletic team are long gone, and McGrath in particular reminded me of the way Dads and Uncles move when playing in the park. Stiff, old and immobile.

    For this partisan Pom, it was quite beautiful to see.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 20:18 GMT

    A Sydney based friend of mine whilst skiing in the Australian Alps came across sign reading: "Please do not lick the frost off this sign".

    That was it. The sign conveyed no other information. Maybe perplexing missives are the Aussie authorities way of keeping the population alert.

    I'll be on the look out for more when I arrive in a couple of weeks.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 14:36 GMT

    Too right about the anthem. I'm not overfond of GSTQ, but it didn't deserve that.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 12:19 GMT

    Dear Gideon, I agree heartily about not picking Monty and as for the awful singing...ugh. With regards to McGrath, elderly cricketers and the importance of field placings may i refer you to my own teams struggles in this regard which may bring you warm memories of good old park cricket in melbourne which im sure your missing at this moment.

  • testli5504537 on December 1, 2006, 9:20 GMT

    Hi Gideon, greatly enjoying your articles as usual.

    The sign was featured in Mark Pougatch's blog for BBC Radio 5Live. You are meant to have a whizz on the target, which then reveals the blood-alcohol limit in writing probably sensitive to the heat from your piss. This limit is what you are meant to comtemplate, which is fair enough, I think.

    Thanks, Richard

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