Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Australia v England, first Test, Brisbane, 4th day

Don't forget Adelaide 2006

There's still hope left for Australia in this Test. If only they had the passion of a beach-ball hating senior citizen

Samuel Ferris

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The Gabba spectators play with a beach ball, Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day, November 28, 2010
Beach-ball entertainment © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Alastair Cook
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
Teams: Australia | England

Choice of game
Gabba, Brisbane. The first stop on the way through all five Tests.

Team supported
Australia. I thought it was supposed to be our turn this time.

Key performer
Alastair Cook followed up his first-innings 67 with a fantastic century today. Batting for over seven hours, Cook showed amazing concentration and provided only one chance. Brilliant; he has all the makings of the next England captain.

One thing I'd have changed
MORE WICKETS! Only one for the whole day was tough. I fully understand what English supporters went through yesterday. I was apprehensive about the pitch today. Batting was easy yesterday and today reinforced my apprehension. A harsh day for the bowlers, with another one to come I expect.

Face-off I feared
The ball v Australia's fielders. It seems Monty is on a good thing, this time showing the Aussies how to not catch and how to misfield. Peter Siddle and Michael Clarke made great efforts for their opportunities, but Mitchell Johnson's was an absolute clanger, one that swung the game for England. His place is certainly under scrutiny now.

Wow moment
A toss-up between the dropped catches and impressive stokeplay by England's top order. Shane Watson's wife, Lee Furlong, was on the big screen for a short time; that left me saying "wow".

Player watch
Apart from Lee Furlong's close-up, it was Andrew Strauss's driving that impressed. Yesterday it was Mike Hussey, today, Strauss gave a master-class on the front foot. He rarely looking troubled on his way to another Ashes ton.

Crowd meter
The worst was confirmed today, no Tamara the usher. For that reason I snuck into another section and watched the match from a different perspective. Only 21,000 filled the Gabba today, with a wild beach ball being the highlight for Australian fans. At one stage when an errant ball floated onto the field, an elderly woman howled and badgered a stadium security guard till the local police were called in to restrain her. If only the Australian attack had that much passion and heart.

Fancy-dress index
A solid effort by the spectators, with more capes and even more Morph suits. When I asked a man donning one such suit what the most difficult aspect of wearing one was, he simply looked down and said, "what do you think?" Good point.

Entertainment
Milo kids aside, Section 54 provided a well-choreographed dance and some exciting music.

Accessories
I neglected my own advice and brought no food. In fact, I broke one of my golden rules of the summer by eating a chilli hot dog. Stay away from chilli, you never know how long the bathroom queues will be. That's Sam's Smart Travel Tip for today.

My opinion of the opposition
England batted themselves into a position of safety on day four. A draw looks like the most probable result now. We all remember Adelaide from last time though, don't we?

Overall
It was all Australia yesterday, today all England. Difficult for an Australian fan to feel optimistic. Mitchell Johnson was a major letdown, and the fielding side has caught whatever England had previously. Full credit to the tourists though, really well done.

Marks out of 10
6 Great batting, average bowling, forgettable fielding.

What tomorrow holds
With one day left who knows what will happen? Either way both teams can take something out of this Test. Will it be Australia or England heading to South Australia with the momentum? I'm not sure, but as for day five, let us not forget Adelaide 2006.

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Samuel Ferris is a 23-year-old New South Welshman in his final year of a sports journalism degree. He will be following the Ashes with his English mate Dan Silburn. The two came up with this adventure at pub in the early hours of the morning with more than a few under their belts.

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