First Test, Day 1: Ivins on edge in the office; Aussies have edge on the field

By Tim Ivins

That there is excitement leading up to the first test has been a testament to the Cricket Australia’s spin doctors. Articles of Hauritz developing a ball that will actually spin and the future of test cricket have created interest in the media. The bagmen clearly think the West Indies loss to Bangladesh was not an aberration offering odds of 18/1 for a West Indian win. Odds not seen since Matthew Hayden carved a peerless 380 against a severely weakened Zimbabwe team.

Putting my reporters hat on, I had a dual role today, my unpaid job as a reporter and my paid job in Human Resources. I was stuck at work, no TV in sight but a solution was at hand. Online radio would get me through the day. So I cycled through the stations. Melbourne promised a start at 10:35 but there was no coverage, only debate about Turkish and Hungarian languages. No luck there so I switched to Sydney where Paul Clitheroe was dispensing financial advice. I was starting to get nervous and I became palpably distressed when I switched to Perth and the first words I heard were a folk singer singing “Bring me down”. I tried the ABC’s cricket audio link thinking that was a certainty but it only contained interviews. As a last resort I tried to tune in New Zealand sport radio hoping amongst hope that I’d at least get a discussion between overs of the test in Dunedin but that failed too. Knowing I had a portable radio in the draw I knew all would be well, but that was a strikeout too as I remembered I’d taken it to Melbourne to listen to the Football.

Admitting defeat I settled for spasmodic updates on Cricinfo and watching the highlights when I got home. Punter wins the toss and bats. The pitch is perfect for batting. White and hard with cracks unlikely to appear before day 3. The West Indies play two debutantes as Sarwan fails to pass the fitness test. An early confidence boost for the Windies however as Watson is trapped in front shouldering arms and is LBW to Taylor for 0.

Punter comes in and immediately looks solid. Rampaul delivers his first ball and looks nervous conceding a boundary and a no ball off his first 2 balls. The session continues and Ponting and Katich appear to be safe. 12:30 comes and I get a tap on the shoulder, I’ve been so engrossed with my work that I’ve already missed my Bootcamp session but good news has followed. My colleague Damian has found a radio feed. It seems that grandstand have online coverage but it was not linked to the Cricket- Audio page. I pop the headsets on and I am treated to the dulcet tones of Kerry O’Keeffe joking around, interspersing it with insightful comments about Gayle’s weaknesses on a bouncing pitch.

As lunch approaches Rampaul drops it short and Katich pulls him beautifully over square for 6. Things sound ominous as Katich and Ponting raise towards their 50s. Katich wins the race, taking a liking to Rampaul with back to back boundaries, bringing his 50 up in 68 balls, all bar 12 runs coming in boundaries. Ponting edges a boundary between 2nd and 3rd slip to bring up Australia’s 100 and he reaches his own 50 in the final over before lunch with a 6 as Australia reach 1/114 at the break.

A life for the captain after lunch as a strong LBW shout is denied. The chance counts for nought however as Roach picks up Ponting caught behind for 55. A lunch break and 45 minute teleconference mean I miss most of the second session but I manage to get back to my desk just in time to hear Katich fall for 92. 3/210 but despite the wicket Australia appear to be in complete control at tea.

Hussey is scratchy early in his innings but he converts it to a hard earned 50. Clarke plays a loose shot and is almost caught by Nash, but follows it up with a sumptuous drive off of Rampaul who is having an awful debut. A slow over rate hampers the West Indies; with 28 overs to be bowled in the final 100 minutes spin is the order from Gayle at both ends.

At ten to 5, I’m starting to falter, my concentration lapses as I struggle to focus on organising the branch morning tea tomorrow. Hussey it appears suffers a similar problem as he dabs a dolly straight back to Benn for the simplest caught and bowled. At 4/254 Australia’s commanding start appears wasted. Clarke and North appear to be playing out time as Bravo bowls a line just outside off trying to tempt Clarke into a stroke he doesn’t want to make. He succeeds. Clarke slashes and gets an outside edge that flies high and wide of first slip. Gayle leaps to his left, magnificently plucking the ball out of the air. 5/287 as another Australian batsman fails to convert a start.

Roach comes back to ensure a tricky finale to the day as the ball starts to show signs of reverse. With 5 overs left and seeking one last success the new ball is taken. The break through fails to come as North and Haddin see out play. 5/322 at stumps with Australia taking a slight advantage into Day 2. The West Indies will be aiming to knock over the final 5 wickets before the Aussies reach 400 and then it is in the hands of Gayle et al. I can’t see the West Indies winning but are least they are competitive. Certainly better than the 18/1 offered before the game.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Good work under duress Tim.

  2. You’d reckon the HR person would have workplace cricket coverage sorted out well in advance for the morale of the employees, wouldn’t you…?

  3. The only TV is in the head of HR’s office, it would take complete and utter rat cunning to get that put in a public area

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