Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Gabba First Test: The View From The Ground
A privilege to be at the Gabba on days one and five of an Ashes series that has already fulfilled much of the hype. Some images below.
Day one was one of fluctating fortunes until Siddle decided to enter Ashes folklore with his rip-roaring hat-trick. Even as one supporting the other team, I could feel the goosebumps as he charged in to deliver his coup de grace to Stuart Broad. I even managed to get out of my seat to applaud the excitable chap as the Aussies bellowed around me.
Day five brought more incredible scenes on the pitch and an atmosphere as heady as day one but for entirely different reasons. This time it was the English fans who vastly outnumbered the home contingent. Only 7,008 were seated inside the ground but they greeted each run, boundary, century and double century with gusto. The Barmy Army were in fine voice from first ball to last and among the usual chants of, "Barmy Army, Barmy Army, Barmy Army..." (repeat ad infinitum) there were some choice, spur of the moment songs:
(on spotting an Aussie in the Barmy Army commandeered section) "We've got one Aussie in the crowd"
(on spotting a second) "We've got two Aussies in the crowd" etc etc
(on spotting some young fans) "You're supposed to be at school"
(to Ben Hilfenhaus who was fielding in front of them, but never turned round to sign autographs) "Sign the kiddy's bat, sign the kiddy's bat"
Hilfenhaus eventually acknoledged them when he threw a stray beach ball back to the Barmy Army, to predictable wild cheers.
What else? They asked Ricky for a wave and duly got their wish.
But it was when England came out to field that they really upped the tempo and provided the kind of home support that can make them a potent 12th man. For the first four or five overs each ball was greeted with either:
"Ooh Jimmy, Jimmy...Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson"
"He's big, he's bad, he's better than his dad...Stuart Broad, Stuart Broad"
and then, when Graeme Swann was brought on: (to the tune of Love Will Tear Us Apart)
"Swann, Swann will tear them apart again"
When the 'Queen' arrived, she was greeted with a rousing national anthem which drew loud applause from all the England fans and a royal wave from Her Majesty.
The Dominos pizza delivery boys and girls were summoned and when they arrived the inevitable chat of, "Let's all have a pizza" rang out.
Throw in a few choice tunes from Billy the Trumpeter, including Only Fools and Horses, Neighbours, Eastenders, Coronation Street and even Livin on a Prayer, and the day was complete.
Plenty of pre-match entertainment on Day One, including Dunk a Pom. Hit the target to see an Englishman in full cricket whites plunged into a paddling pool