Australia v West Indies – First Test, Day 1: An exhibition of Sandgropers

by Citrus Bob Utber


It was always going to be an interesting Test match. A brand new West Indies against an indifferent Australian side. The Indies were humiliated in their one lead up game and Australia were not that good against in the recently concluded series against New Zealand. Would it be a no contest?


The game did not get off to a good start with more people outside the ground than in.

Some patrons were told that if they rocked up at 10.25am they could walk straight in. Walk straight in – right. Right into a huge crowd of keen cricket followers who were all going to miss the first ball bowled.

The TCA are trying to do everything right to retain Test status and people can’t get into the ground for the first over. I’ll give them one more Test.

Local indigenous singer Bree Langridge sang the national anthem in what I would regard as the “right tune” and it was very noticeable that the Australian boys locked their arms and sang with great gusto. Stood with Langridge’s parents at the time and they were like cats on hot bricks.

Langridge is appearing in the musical “Cats” in Hobart and it was interesting to note that Hobartians seldom get a leading musical in their town and even this one only goes for four days.

A bit different for the West Indies lads who come from 15 different sovereign nations and therefore did not have anything in common with the song being sung.

Had a long hard look at the statues of those most eminent of Taswegians D.C.Boon and R.T.Ponting before the game… A little bit disappointed with the RT statue as his face is nearly completely hidden and the sculptors Gillie and Marc probably missed a great deal in their caricature whilst DT is Boonie to a tee and you can recognise him from a mile of beer cans and a great work of art from sculptor Stephen Walker AM

What was surprising was the lack of the two players statistics around the plinth which when you look at cricketers worldwide say a lot about the two geniuses. Here they are:-

D.C.Boon             7422 runs at 43.66 21 hundreds 32 fifties Highest score 200   99 catches

R.T.Ponting       13378 runs at 51.85 41 hundreds 62 fifties Highest score 257 196 catches

Australia won the toss and batted on a wicket that showed no terror for Warner and Burns although it was a green top.

Things looked ominous for the visitors as the batsmen pummeled the bowling to all parts of the field. At 70 the bowlers were going for 7 an over.

Already looks like a full hand for the Australian batsmen in the series with not an hour played.

No sooner written down than Shannon Gabriel bowls Burns (33) with a beauty. 1/75

Amazing in whatever walk of life you tread a statement will come back to bite you.

Warner’s 50 comes up with 10 fours of 40 balls.

Smith (10) bad form continues and he plays back to a good one from Warrican to be well caught by Blackwood in the slips. 2/104 and the Windies have hit back well after the original onslaught.

Holder whose bowling tactics have been questioned comes back into the attack and is moving the ball appreciatively but it is the spinner Warrican who comes to the party when Warner (64) tickles one through to the keeper Ramdin 3/121.

This much maligned team has come to the party with a great limbo of 3 wickets and the session could be regarded as even.

Took a walk around the ground at lunch time. A beautiful day here at the home of the Clarence Football Club but the crowd is very disappointing. If it wasn’t a school excursion day the crowd would be very sparse indeed.

Adam Voges has controlled the game since lunch and at the drinks break he is 65 out of a score of 3/193

The commentators are very critical of the bowling rate and I must agree. 2 overs in 12 minutes on drinks were disgraceful.

Voges is in superb form and Shaun Marsh is providing a perfect foil to him. The 100 partnership comes up off 120 balls. Voges has scored 85 runs from 80 balls and his batting has been punctuated by fours all around the ground. His century is the fastest ever by an Australian against the West Indies in regard to balls faced.

The two Sandgropers play through the session and Voges reaches a superb 100 two balls before tea.

Scoring at a run a ball and sixteen delightful boundaries it has probably been the best innings of the summer by an Australia batsman. A truly delightful performance by the veteran.

Shaun Marsh on 42 has played soundly without giving a chance and is playing a good cementing place in the team innings. At tea the Australians are 3/257 and in complete control. It was like centre-wicket practice for the Sandgropers.

Marsh’s 50 comes up shortly after tea and the Aussie duo are now dominating proceedings. To add to the Windies woes Shannon Gabriel is off with an injured ankle.

The Windies have used their bevvy of slow bowlers in an endeavour to quicken up their bowling rate but they still are well behind the eight ball. We could be here until the start of play tomorrow. The skipper could be out for the next match unless the rate improves.

When you think that they used to bowl 90 plus eight ball overs back in the sixties and seventies

Like many I feel sorry for Jason Holder the Windies captain. The 24 year old was thrown into the position of captain due to the attitude of a group of money-hungry stars. In his two years at the helm he has incurred the wrath of umpires for slow over rate and has been suspended before.

If the ICC had any teeth they would ban the usual suspects from the Windies from all forms of cricket until they sort out their differences with the West Indies Cricket Board of Control.

The march continues with Voges and Marsh safer than a Dustin Martin night out. Marsh reaches his 100 of 151 balls with nine fours. Initially he played a fine foil to Voges but took control himself later in the day. This made it difficult for the bowlers who had little idea in how to control this avalanche of runs.

Thank you Dirk Nannes (ABC) for asking the question “is Australia the only team to wear creams?” I have been asking this question for the last five years and most people had never even observed this history making change amongst the nations playing Test cricket. Yes, we are and have been for some time. No doubt our player’s uniforms have Australian wool in them.

With Marsh’s form at the moment it will be interesting to see if Usman Khawaja (if fit) is picked for the next Test. After all his last Test produced a century. Not the first player however to be not picked after making a century in a test. Mmm – who was it?

The crowd of 5927 apparently was about what the administrators expected but I would have thought with some more promotion 7,500 would have been satisfactory

Voges and Marsh continue with their onslaught. If ever two batsmen complimented one another it has been these two. They have complimented one another perfectly throughout the length of the partnership.

At stumps Australia are 3/438 with Adam Voges 174 and Shaun Marsh 139. They have put on a exhibition partnership of 317.

The West Indies had endured enough pain during the day but it was not finished as their Phys Ed staff then put them through a strenuous recovery session

About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Jason Gillespie never played another Test after his night watchman double century in Chittagong in 2006. Stuart Law got a 50 not out in his only Test in Perth. He was an injury replacement for ………? Reckon you are a bit tough on the Windies stars. 80% the Windies Board’s fault from my reading. Would you work for a quarter of what you can get elswhere?
    Grand comprehensive match report as usual CB. Good way to catch up on the day. I thought the match started tomorrow. Ho hum.

  2. Peter Warrington says

    They will drop Burns for sure. And arguably he deserves it. Alt slot him in at 6 if MMarsh surplus for Mcg.

  3. Mark Duffett says

    Dirk Wellham another to make a hundred in his last Test?

    I’ m not sure what more could have been done to promote the game, even I was aware of the ‘Don’t be a Daryl’ campaign though I rarely watch commercial TV (other than cricket) or get a newspaper. There was a fair bit of publicity via ABC local radio, at least, as well.

    Maybe too many people are cheesed off with the electronic scoreboard that seems intent on depicting absolutely everything (people in the crowd, the sky, draconian crowd control edicts, etc) except a legible full scorecard.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Citrus Bob while I agree with getting rid of the toss so visiting teams get the choice there must be adequate propper warm up games mind you teams who are dumb enough to rest there bowlers before the test matches so they come in under done dersrve no sympathy.Over rates bring in run penalties.In local tut ticket here in Adelaide you are penalized points if your over rate is behind guess what teams get on with it.The WI are gone as a cricketing nation it is a tragedy ( cricket wise ) thanks,CB

  5. Mark Dirk made a ton on debut at the oval in 1981. Played another 3-4 tests after that but failed to come on at test level. Good shield cricketer .


  6. Guess I left myself open for comment about the state of Windies cricket but it has been volatile for many years.
    In relation to players being dropped rather than retired from Test cricket after making a ton. The two that came to mind are Simon Katich and John Benaud. In fact Benaud was told he was dropped from the team during the Test in Melbourne and then went out and made a century. But will Khajawa come in automatically?
    PW – I agree on Burns as an opener is not safe. 6 is his spot but of course M Marsh will make mince meat of the bowlers today if he gets a hit.
    Thanks guys maKes a hard day’s work bearable.

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