December 14, 2006

Third Test, Perth

Postcards from the WACA

Gideon Haigh

Catch of the Day: Ian Bell usually looks all dressed up with no place to go when under the lid at short leg, but his squat, swivel and dive to collect Gilchrist’s edge was symbolic of England’s new resolve.

Ball of the Day: Bell was its undeserving recipient: the kind of which batsmen have nightmares, short, rearing, compelling a shot, doing enough to get the edge. At least, he can cite it as proof of his improvement since 2005: it is taking better deliveries to get him out.

Moment of the Day: For all the fun and frolic of plucky Panesar, the day’s decisive twist was the fall of Ricky Ponting. ‘He’s Out’ announced the newspaper posters when Bradman’s wicket fell; Ponting now needs as little introduction. The effect on England was like a pinch of snuff. It also underlined just how crucial was Giles’s drop at Adelaide – if it needed underlining.

Unsolicited advice of the day: ‘Why don’t you ring Michael Vaughan and ask him?!’ Anonymous Aussie fan in the Lillee-Marsh Stand as Andrew Flintoff indulged in lots of arm waving with Steve Harmison.

Time Shift: Thanks to WA’s adoption of daylight saving on 3 December, start time for Perth Tests is now 11.30am: a step back to the genteel days when Aussie Tests started at noon ahead of five-hour days, and another deviation from the standard 11am commencement (Brisbane, of course, has always kicked off at 10am, to accommodate the abrupt tropical nightfall). If this were a club ground, you would be playing a game of juniors in the morning. As it is not, nothing impedes the promenading of ex-players and media big-wigs on the square in search of reflected glory that is such a familiar spectacle of the modern Test.

Press Release: ’I am freezing cold, my chair keeps collapsing, the queues to the lavatory are enormous, and all the biscuits have gone’: thus, one of my normally stoical colleagues early in the afternoon. The first complaint was incontrovertible: I have been in warmer morgues. Because it is needed to cool the function room from which the media area has been cordoned off, the air conditioner is blowing like a Fremantle Doctor direct from the Arctic. A widescreen television has been installed, but is tuned to a grainy black-and-white image of the scoreboard, at which one keeps gazing because of the apparent likelihood that the camera will cut away to show Brian Luckhurst cover driving.

For some reason, too, the radio broadcast kept us company in the first session, so we know that the ABC’s air conditioner was supplying Kerry O’Keeffe with nitrous oxide; he guffawed and wheezed his way through the tensest hour of the series. Someone please put him out of my misery.

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Posted by Tiimy Z on (December 15, 2006, 15:33 GMT)

To Stu Carrail I think 1963 was when the poor old Cats last won a premiership wasn't it? Us West Aussies prefer to live in the present, and the last time I checked the WACA was preferred as a test venue to Skilled Stadium.

So have Geelong finally sorted out that staring into the sun problem at Skilled Stadium yet or are they still working out what that golden ball of light is that shines so cruelly on their inability to win the footy finals.

I have a hint for those Cats fans, its called the Sun and its existence will rock the tabloids there in Geelong. But it doesn't really matter what that bright new planet is because the mighty Saints are the main team in Melbourne aren't they? Along with Danihers Demons we are the big Vic hope.

Posted by shagzy on (December 15, 2006, 7:45 GMT)

Agree on kerry okeef. My guess is the abc keep him on so there's no chance they'll appear too dry and cerebral. Which is a fair enough motive, but the price is obviously too high. O'keef should be limited to 10mins/day, preferably during the tea breaks.

I found panesar performance quite entertaining. Including his batting. The way he came out looking like a deer in the headlights, possibly expecting a barrage of Lee bouncers, but then showed a lot more competence than expected with some nice shots... good stuff.

Posted by marklatham on (December 15, 2006, 5:26 GMT)

kerry o'keefe is a dickhead....

Posted by Stu Carraill on (December 15, 2006, 3:17 GMT)

GJCD, Its not an 11.30 start in Perth - its still 1963 isn't it? Have been loving your work on Outsiders & especially liked the way you made James Sutherland squirm a few months back. You & Harms always entertain a long suffering Cats supporter Cheers, Stu Loved the piece "A word from AB" - Poignant

Posted by Shane on (December 15, 2006, 1:10 GMT)

They have gone a bit overboard. Australia batted like a team that had already won the series on a pitch that finally is giving something to the bowlers. The wicket will flatten out so Australia will have to bowl brilliantly to keep England under 300. Warne will be his usually ineffective self at the WACA. Rogers and North took him to the cleaners earlier in the year.

Posted by Chris Stiles on (December 15, 2006, 0:51 GMT)

Thing is - spinners initial figures always flatter to deceive. Panesar is a good bowler, but as crullers says "every one of his dismisalls seemd to involve the batsman getting himself out"

I think it will be a different case once batsmen adjust - perhaps Hussey already has, as Panesar's teammate at Northhants. What Panesar does *then* will determine whether he is another Craig White or quite a different animal.

Posted by Crullers on (December 14, 2006, 23:52 GMT)

Gideon,

Can I borrow from Kevin Rudd's cliche book and ask Monty Panesar's boosters to please take a cold shower?

From my vantage point in front of the idiot box in Melbourne, every one of his dismissals seemed to involve the batsman getting himself out to a straight break.

It was courageous of Flintoff to keep Panesar on in the face of Symonds' one-over onslaught. However, given Symonds' Test record to date, it was a risk that any captain with a spine slightly stiffer than jelly should have been prepared to take.

Cheers

Crullers

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gideon Haigh
Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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