Adelaide Test, Australia v India, Day Five: Everything and Nothing

The unmistakable trumpet fanfare of the Channel 9 cricket coverage pipes through the TV and my 3 year-old girl is momentarily distracted by the song. It brings a flash of my own childhood – summer holidays and hot days spent curtains drawn and fans on, lying on the carpet watching every ball bowled.

In a reflection on how lives and times change I have actually managed to completely forget about day five of the First Test amongst the swirling maelstrom of Saturday morning family logistics. A trip to visit Santa is the order the day today, however thankfully I have managed to dodge that bullet in favour of a quiet morning at home before heading off to bowls.

As the wife and munchkins make their way out the door, Ryan Harris makes the first breakthrough after a morning declaration by the home side. The statisticians have been out before the start of play and history gives India an almost impossible chance of victory on a fifth day Adelaide Oval wicket.

In between organising ice water for my afternoons play and watering the plants out the back, another wicket falls. India are 2-for-not-much and things look to be progressing as expected.

Into the whites (more ‘colours’ actually these days!) and off to the usual meeting place (the Strath train station) to organise who is going with whom for the away game to Victor Harbor. I end up with my brother in his ute, and he’s fortuitously swung by the bottl’o to grab a six pack of middies for the road.

I crack the top off one and we chat about everything and nothing as we wind our way through the southern Fleurieu. The ABC’s cricket coverage murmurs on under our conversation as is obligatory when a test is on, despite the fact that we pay little attention.

The sea appears and we head into the club for a pre-game coldie – the bowling club at Victor is situated right on the foreshore and recent club extensions provide an outlook on the ocean that has many of us discussing the possibility of a forfeit.

A quick glance at the TV on our way out to the green and the Indians seem to have consolidated; now past the hundred mark without the loss of another wicket. The draw could be coming into play yet.

We roll up with a view of Granite Island and to the sound of gently lapping waves. I decide there would be few better places to be in the world right now. How lucky we are.

We work hard to take an early lead but our opponents strike back and as we head in for the afternoon tea break the honours are almost even. Talk of everything and nothing is again on the cards over the usual spread of sandwiches and cakes (all home made of course!).

A glance at the TV shows India making a real fist of things, only 150 runs away with 8 wickets in hand and over a session to play. Could they really do it?

Out to the greens for the second stanza and we’re in it toe-to-toe. We maintain a small lead but the tide seems to be against us and we have to dig deep. Some end-saving bowls at crucial times keep us in the lead and in the hunt for victory.

A drive from my brother/skipper sees the jack in the ditch along with his bowl – but the opposition remove the bowl, declaring it dead despite it being a toucher. A heated exchange follows but eventually the mistake is admitted, apologies are made and the game continues. Some rare spice on the greens today!

A score check during a quick toilet stop sees India providing some rare spice on the fifth day wicket also. They are taking the challenge up to the Aussies and a history making win could be on the cards.

The battle on the greens remains tight. It comes down to the last bowl of the day and my brother/skipper on the mat. Two up on the card and two down on the head, will we end up with a draw after a long afternoon in the sun?

No. My brother’s bowl rolls through the head and drags the jack back for victory, a big finish to a fantastic game.

Post game beers back in the clubrooms reveal another big finish in progress at the Oval. India are folding and are now seven wickets down with only 50 odd runs to make. Nathan Lyon is doing the damage in what could be a career defining day for the spinner.

Can India make it?

No. As we rumble back through the countryside in my brother’s ute Australia close out the Indian innings and the game. A big finish to a memorable test, for reasons both fantastic and tragic.

My brother and I talk about everything, and nothing.


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About Ben Footner

I'm tragic Crows fan, avid lawn bowler, public librarian and father of 2 little kiddies. Sometimes I also find time amongst all that to squeeze out the occasional article for the Almanac.


  1. Great day Ben! The local bowls clubs down at Victor are magnificently located. I always remember the one at Horseshoe Bay, and thinking it must be one of the best places in the world to have a few ends. Is it still there?

    Brilliant final line too!

  2. Ben Footner says

    That’s Port Elliot Bowling Club Mickey, and it’s still there. Must be one of the most scenic bowling clubs in the world that one. Another place that makes me think how lucky I am/we are in this country.

    That is until the southerly breeze and unforgiving carpet surface combine to torture me for the day….

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Beat me to it Mickey, what a vista they have there. You can almost feel the water lapping up against the rinks. (For those playing at home, google up Victor Harbor Bowls, and follow your nose, you won’t regret it.)

    And Ben, good to see some bowls broke out during your drinking session.

  4. Love this, Ben.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Victor Harbor bowls and Penneshaw on KI as picturesque sporting venues as you will find . Great finish to the bowls and cricket with beer the winner , thanks Ben

  6. Nice work Ben. Those days where you consume the cricket through a dodgy TV and a radio in fits and spurts are often as special (in a different way) as being there in the flesh. Two of my greatest cricket memories were at work, listening to a dodgy AM radio at the desk on the last day of the 1999(?) Pakistan test in Hobart and the 2006(?) Ashes test in Adelaide and rushing to the equally dodgy TV in the kitchen to watch the moments just after they unfolded. Spot on re. Port Elliot bowls club too.

  7. Hope you guys make it back into Div 1 Ben. Our bar takings always go up when The Creek play us as dehydration never is a problem with your team

  8. Ben Footner says

    Thanks for all the comments everyone! Yes, we’re doing our best to get back in this year Oges!

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