December 17, 2013
Choice of game
I was never going to miss the day that Australia could> reclaim the Ashes for the first time in four years. There was still the chance of a good contest, though I thought Australia would end up winning the match, on day four or day five, I wasn't sure.
I was going for Australia as they tightened their grip on the urn. It has been a torturous five or so years for us Aussies, so it's a good feeling as we give the English some serious payback!
Shane Watson, for his brutal assault on the English attack early in the day. He scored so quickly that it enabled the Aussies to declare earlier than they would have, with his 22-run over off Graeme Swann (including three sixes) the highlight. Is this innings the one that maybe, just maybe, will be the turning point in his career?
One thing I'd have changed about the day
I would have made Tim Bresnan miss his throw at the stumps so Watson could keep blasting the English bowlers all around the ground. However, this may have prevented George Bailey from having a bat...
The final over of the Australian innings, when Bailey smoked a world-record-equalling 28 runs off a half-decent bowler named James Anderson. The noise from the crowd was deafening. Three sixes, two fours and a two: this was cricket more suited to the upcoming Big Bash League than the Ashes.
The interplay I enjoyed
I quite enjoyed watching Nathan Lyon bowl to Kevin Pietersen. KP had the better of Lyon early, hitting him for two fours and then a six over long-on into the crowd. However "Garry" had the last laugh, having Pietersen caught on the boundary trying to repeat the dose soon after. It was an intriguing mini-battle.
Filling the gaps
The lunch break was spent taking a lap of the oval while watching the In2Cricketers battle it out on the field. A friend and I spotted Justin Langer chatting to someone out the back of the ground too. The tea break consisted of two England supporters battling it out, trying to win an England ODI shirt. Would you have won it? The question was: "Who was the second batsman to be marooned on 99* in a Test match?" Choices were Don Bradman, Ian Botham and Steve Waugh. Think you know the answer? Check the bottom of this article to see if you were right (and win nothing but whatever pride you feel!)
Some of the players who fielded in front of me during the day included Pietersen, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Steve Smith and Lyon. All of them had requests from children for signatures on various items: Johnson's autograph seemed to be the most sought-after.
Shot of the day
Any one of Watson's five or Bailey's three sixes into the crowd, although the one by Watson that was caught superbly by a member of the crowd was probably my favourite: a towering lofted on-drive.
There was a great atmosphere for most of the day. The Barmy Army always add another dimension to a day of Test cricket, and although they were quiet in the middle session, they were back in full voice in the last. The crowd noise was very loud at several points throughout the match: perhaps the loudest was saved for Joe Root's review and Pietersen's dismissal. Most chants started were by the Barmy Army, however, there was the odd "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!"
A trivia question flashed up on the big screen every now and then: I managed to answer one of the three correctly. The WACA had brought in a new menu for this season, with more options than ever, which I was tempted to sample, however I decided to just stick with some old favourites: an ice-cream and some hot chips.
Tests v limited-overs
The way Australia was batting today one would not be forgiven for thinking they were watching a limited-overs game, and that is why I prefer Test cricket: it can offer the big-hitting of the limited-overs matches while still requiring a lot more skill and complex tactics. Test cricket will always be my favourite form of the game.
I took a fair amount of supplies to the game: including but not limited to a cushion to sit on, my iPad, a fan, sunscreen, snacks, water, Gatorade, esky to keep drinks cold, and money to buy some supplies. These combined to make a good day's cricket watching.
The cricket was exciting, even if it wasn't too much of a contest, the atmosphere was good, and the sun was shining. A good day all round. Australia are oh so close and will be desperate to claim those last five wickets, while England are on mission impossible to save the series.
Marks out of 10
9.5. Would have been a 10 if we'd managed to finally get both hands on the urn: as it is I get to go to the cricket tomorrow too!
The answer is... Steve Waugh (you didn't cheat and Google it did you?!)
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