FAN FOLLOWING

First-person reports from the stands

Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day

December 16, 2013

Warner's park

Francis Curro


David Warner made his fifth Test ton and second against England, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 15, 2013
David Warner: a WACA favourite © Getty Images
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Choice of game
The main reason I attended the match is simply because of my love of Test cricket. There is nothing better that hearing the roar, cheer and clap of 20,000 cricket fans when Mitchell Johnson steams in from the Lillee Marsh Stand. It is also the biggest event if the cricketing calendar, the Ashes, so I simply could not miss this Test match.

I went in believing both teams had an excellent chance of winning the game. Although after the last two Ashes Tests in Perth, I was leaning towards the Australians. In 2010 the Australians were completely outplayed but dominated in Perth.

Team supported
I was rooting for the Australian cricket team. However, I always like to see a good game or hard-fought Test cricket against two quality sides. I did not mind seeing the English snag a few wickets if it made the game a bit more interesting.

Key performer
When Australia knocked over England in the morning session, Ryan Harris was the chief destroyer. Harris has been a great performer for Australia this year finishing the 2013 Ashes series in England with 24 wickets at just under 20. However, the day belonged to David Warner, for another magnificent WACA century. He was eventually out for 112, which caused some of the crowd to leave, but it was one impressive innings. I was there two years ago to see him smash the Indian bowling attack on his way to 180.

One thing I'd have changed about the day
I wish the umpires would stop checking the no-ball every wicket. It takes out some of the theatre of the game. Why can't the umpires just look every time, like other balls? This has to stop.

It was also 40 degrees as it has been through the whole Test match. It would be good for the spectators if it was a bit cooler, but again that just adds more drama to this great game. The local media and newspapers have had front-page stories about the heat all Test match. It apparently got up to 46 degrees while I was there on Saturday. I do feel sorry for the fans and hope everyone is okay as some members of the public did require medical treatment.

Face-off I relished
The battle between Warner and Graeme Swann was quite intriguing. Swann was bowling quite negatively outside the off stump, trying to keep it tight. Instead of just your standard leave, Warner was just walking away from the ball. He wanted nothing to do with it. He was doing it as if to say, "I'll take some interest when you bowl on my middle or leg stump."

Wow moment
It would have to be Mitchell Johnson's inswinging yorker that almost broke Stuart Broad's foot. It has been a while since Australia has had a fast bowler where the whole crowd is cheering. Johnson was on song and he had just finished bowling a barrage of bouncers. The crowd was banging on the sponsor signs and clapping their hands trying to cheer him in. After rattling Broad with some thunderbolt bouncers, he bowled a brilliant sand-shoe crushing inswing yorker, which was as plum as any lbw I have ever seen. It hit his foot almost directly on the full and he was given out. Broad did not even think about reviewing it. Later in the afternoon Broad had to go to hospital to have scans on that foot. He would not bowl or field in the 70 overs of the Australian second innings.

Close encounter
As Broad was off the field, Jonny Bairstow was drafted in to do some field work. He had a rough time on the boundary, chasing a few of Warner's pull and cut shots. The crowd was shouting "no, no, no" every time he chasing a boundary. There were also a few words said in the middle between the Australian opening batsman and the English fielders, but the umpires stepped in. However, that was to be expected, as it has been a heated series.

Shot of the day
There was not one shot in particular, but Chris Rogers played some beautiful cover drives and shots down the ground. Every time the English pitched up he smashed it straight to the boundary.

Crowd meter
The atmosphere was absolutely electric. I have been to every day of the Test so far and the crowd has been awesome, as usual. The crowd loved watching the now-local boy Johnson steaming in to bowl. As it is the Ashes, the Barmy Army were out in full swing. Despite being a hot day they were singing and cheering the whole game. They are a brilliant bunch of supporters. They add plenty of character to the crowd.

Fancy-dress index
Not much music is played during a Test match at the WACA. The best piece of entertainment is the Kiss Cam at tea. The camera scouts the ground to find couples sitting together and then they must kiss each other for the camera to get off them. Apart from that, most of the entertainment came from Warner and his magnificent innings.

Accessories
I went to the cricket with my dad so we brought two of everything. As the seats at the WACA can sometimes get a bit uncomfortable, we always take two pillows and towels to sit on. We also took four sandwiches and plenty of fruit and nuts. As it was 40 degrees, we froze two powerades and had plenty of water bottles, which we filled up every break. I also took a radio to listen to the ABC commentary.

Banner of the day
One gentleman had a banner that said "All I want for Christmas is a five day test match."

Overall
Great game of cricket, but a few lazy moments from England in the field. It has been a very interesting Test match. The Aussies are moving in for the kill and the English are starting to feel the heat. Prior let byes past and dropped a few chances from Swann. It has not been a good tour for the England keeper. But it has been set up for a great finish.

Marks out of 10
It will always be 10 out of 10 when I go to the cricket. I love it, it's the greatest atmosphere in sport, and the battles between bat and ball are the most interesting. I did not see any fights or loud drunk people, which makes for a better experience at the cricket.

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Francis Curro is a cricketing tragic. He goes to every day of every Test match at the WACA and loves the game. He spends hours on ESPNcricinfo looking up statistics and match results from the game around the world. Francis has just finished his university degree in Journalism and Public Relations and is trying to launch his career in the media.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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