Australia v Pakistan – Second Test, Day 1

Someone said that the journey is important and the destination doesn’t matter. I’m on my annual sojourn to the Adelaide Test Match and the journey over is a delight as I don’t travel in a metal tube at thirty thousand feet. I have been driving to the Adelaide Test match for years. In the car with me are two Pete’s, one being my son. He lives in Canberra now but flew to Tulla where Pete and I had a couple of Pure Blonds, while waiting for Pete, picked Pete up and pointed the car west to Grass Flat.


We had tea at Maccas at Ararat. I can remember my first ever Maccas down in Flemington after my last exam in 1981. The thick shakes are still the best but Maccas have become a part of any long journey: nearly as reliable as a Steve Smith innings. We stayed the night at Grass Flat with the bloke who took me to my first Adelaide Test match and my first Maccas, drank several bottles of red and left next morning for the wineries of the Coonawarra and Heywards at Penola where Harry Top (a FitzAusroy Redders stalwart ) and his brother were ensconced at the bar.


So many people I know make the trip to Adelaide for this match. Beachie (centre half forward for the Redders) Pat from Youlden Parkville, Ann, Ross and Geoff from the cricket society will all be there. Most of them have been going for years.


Things have changed a bit though. Most will immediately assume I’m thinking about the new Adelaide Oval, a world class venue that still retains some old world charm, but I have other fish to fry on this issue. My son booked the accommodation through Airbnb and we are staying in a beaut flat eight minutes from the ground. Thank you, destructive capitalism, as we pay a pittance compared to a hotel room. At the ground we constantly check the weather radar and ESPN (go New Zealand) to check stats. Once we are home out comes Kayo and Foxtel on a variety of devices.


Shall we buy the morning newspaper?


The SACCA allow us members to buy a companion card, a wonderful little thing, that gives your companion full membership rights. I can take anyone into the members I like and the card is fully transferable!!!!! I can take one person into the members for the first session and another person into the members for the second session and so on ad infinitum.


Well we arrived at this appealing ground, watching the clouds and BOM, and settled into our seats hoping for an improved performance from Pakistan. The weather put up a better effort. After a tidy start from Abbas and Afridi the bowling became pedestrian, very pedestrian. Labuschagne scored very little in front of the wicket on the off side but he rarely received any deliveries pitched up, outside the off stump that were remotely drivable.


I have never seen Shah bowl so poorly and the young Khan was an embarrassment. He looked like a twelve year old filling in for the under seventeens when they were short. He actually bowled with five fieldsmen on the fence protecting the short ball. What about pitching the ball up and bowling one side of the wicket?


Warner seems to have changed his style since his travails in England: no more early booming drives. He seems to have become a steady accumulator of cheap runs. Labuschagne rarely plays a daft shot so against this attack he should bat until Christmas.


Once again the Aussie batsmen have cut loose in Adelaide and the only thing I am interested in this innings is which Pakistani bowler will concede a hundred run first.


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  1. I have many memories of great times at the Adelaide Oval, Phil, including attending Day 1 of the ‘Phillip Hughes Memorial Test’ five years ago. That was some occasion! A simply sumptuous ground. It does seem that Warner has ‘matured’ in his approach while Labuschagne is making the most of his opportunities. I hope we don’t overburden him with expectation.

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