Almanac Cricket – Australia v Pakistan: First Test Day 3 at the ‘Gabba




Citrus Bob with one of the ‘Gabbatroopers, Tony Holznagel.




The Galaxy is safe this morning as the one hundred plus Storm Troopers arrived to take their positions.  Make that 180 as they marched in to trumpeters Jacob and Patrick.


No, we are not celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the first Star Wars movie just part of the ancillary entertainment at the Gabba on Day 3.  Mind you Pakistan will need more than Storm Troopers, or as they are known here “Gabbatroopers”, to save them.


Overnight The Empire were 1/312 and looking as safe as any team could be.  The wicket was playing so truly that it would take some great bowling to dismiss them. Warner and Labuschagne continue to treat the bowling with contempt although, to their credit the visitors were directing more of their work on the stumps.


It took until just before the first drinks break for revenge to happen for Luke Skywalker aka “The Kid” aka Naseem Shah. Warner (154), so adapt to dodging bouncers or lifting balls got a beauty from Skywalker and gloved it through to keeper Rizwan.  A long time ago in a galaxy far away Naseem had taken Warner’s wicket (98 ions) only to see Darth Vader using all the technology available say “no”.  Australia 2/351 and the departing Yoda received rapturous applause from the smallish crowd in attendance.


Enter Obi-wan-Kenobi (Smith for short) but the Master of the Universe did nothing to enhance his standing. On 4 he played a lazy shot to Yasir (a miniature R2 D2) to be bowled. 3/358


Meanwhile Hans Solo, much easier to pronounce than his real name, continued on his way to an excellent century only marred by the shot he played to get to his ton.  12 fours from the 161 balls he faced was an excellent reward. In doing so he became the second Afrikaans, Banana Bender to make 100 for Australia.


Joined by the original Jedi Warrior, Matthew Wade, the batsmen continued to pile on the runs with Wade dominating the partnership early.  The reinventing of Wade as a batsman has been a revelation and his innings has been most impressive.  His 50 comes up from 79 balls with six fours and one six.


But back to the Gabbatroopers. The original Gabbatrooper Tony Holznagel (Holsh) decided that for his 40th birthday he would have a dress-up party and invite some of his friends along and to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars. He likened the evening to a Bucks Party and the guys enjoyed themselves so much that they decided to get together on the 3rd day of future Gabba Test Matches.



Today 180 Gabbatroopers accompanied by 2 trumpeters Jacob & Patrick (pictured) joined Holsh for their annual outing. I asked Holsh (Tony) how did he get the two guys to join the group.  He said he placed an advertisement and Patrick answered.  Both men are accomplished “blowers” and every time they render an item the Troopers stand to attention.  Holsh is hoping that in 2020 they will create a new record (presently held by the Richies) of at least 700 people.  It could be wishful thinking if the Test match in Brisbane is against Afghanistan.


The Troopers are not a fund-raising group but this year they are raising funds for the Salvos Appeal for the Bushfire victims assisted by Cricket Australia.


At 468 Wade (60) snicks a ball from Sohail through to the keeper Rizwan who juggles the catch. Completely safe until then a century has gone in the making.


Travis Head is on a hiding to nothing when he enters the fray and after a quick fire 24, he too tickles a Sohail delivery to Rizwan whom I might add has continually try to enthuse his team mates even by running to the boundary to save a four.  Australia 5/506 and there is no sign of a declaration when Paine comes out to bat.


It always puzzles me that when you grind the opposition in to the ground why the batting team does not declare?   A sign of insecurity I feel and a reminder of just how Australia often perform in the fourth innings of a Test Match.  The bowlers have been resting their feet for nearly 2 days surely, they are up to the task of winning the game quickly.


A couple of superb shots from Hans Solo through mid-wicket showed that he means business but at the other end Paine (13) falls to Sohail 6/545 and still the Jedi warriors flay their lasers with Labuschagne going for the runs. A 200 beckons but the team is coming first. He’s out!  He does not want to go as he realises what a terrible shot is was to gives Afridi a wicket. A magnificent innings of 181 with 20 fours his highest first-class score. Australia 7/546


Starc (5) goes lbw to Yasir 8/559.  Yasir deserves some credit as he has led the attack for over 45 overs. He takes his third wicket of the innings and has 3/191. Australia will bat out now as Lyon comes to the wicket.  Cummins (7) flashes, is out and Imran has his first wicket 9/567.


The innings is all over when Hazlewood (5) lbw to Yasir Shah.  Lyon not out 13 and Australia 580, 350 in front with 2 days and 1 hour to play. Yasir Shah 4/205, Afridi and Sohail 2 apiece and Naseem and Khan 1 each.


DRS early in the innings from Azhar (5) is to no avail and he is plumb to Starc and Pakistan are 1/13.  Starc’s return to the team becomes even more triumphant as he takes his second wicket for the innings when Sohail (8) nicks one through to Paine. Pakistan 2/25 and it gets worse when Asad goes without further addition to the score. Smith, the safest catch in cricket, takes it from a good one from Cummins.


Although they will lose the match the batsmen are not going down without a fight.  At stumps Pakistan or “The Falcons” are 3/64 with Shaan 27 and Babar 20.  Starc 2/25 and Cummins 1/16.


The best day’s play with very few interruptions by the men in orange. The meagre crowd enjoyed and may the Force be With You.


Check out Citrus Bob’s Day 2 report HERE

Check out Citrus Bob’s Day 1 report HERE


The Tigers Almanac 2019 is out soon.
Order copies HERE.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.




  2. The angle on the troopers and their pictures added some interest to the report. Thanks Citrus

  3. Impressed with the Pakistani keeper – a couple of nice catches and is a real little chatterbox. Looking forward to day 4.

  4. Chris Bracher says

    Without wanting to steal your thunder re your Day 4 report Citrus, for once it seems that the Aussie declaration was spot-on. Maybe the mental “declaration demons” derived from Ganguly/Laxman can finally be put to rest?!

Leave a Comment