Australia v West Indies – MCG Test, Day 2: Corporate (box) Cricket

Australia 3/551 dec. (UT Khawaja 144, SPD Smith 134*, JA Burns 128, AC Voges 106*) v West Indies 6/91 Stumps Day 2

I’d always looked in at those inside with some disdain. Surely that wasn’t a ‘real’ experience of attending top level sport? I was very happy in the outer with my pie and chips. With the swirling MCG winds and fellow hardcore fans.

Helen the hostess brings another Crown Lager directly to me in my comfy leather seat. Followed by more canapes. The view is great from long on, level 3 in the Great Southern Stand. The window is open. I’ve ventured to the dark side, found myself in a corporate box for the very first time. And thoroughly enjoying it.

My youngest sister, Rachel, is with me, at the cricket for the first time ever. As Steve Smith and Adam Voges plunder a toothless West Indian bowling attack, we work through the Australian team to see who she knows. The list stops at 3. Smith, Warner and Siddle. I don’t try the same drill with the Windies’ squad.

Plenty to choose from for lunch. The barramundi is a highlight. A man could get used to this. Steve Smith strokes his way to an effortless century against an uninterested opponent. Were the West Indies any better in 1930/31 when DG Bradman peeled off 152 in 154 minutes at the MCG as Australia, 8/328 dec. bowled out the visitors for 99 & 107 to win by an innings and 122 runs? A Test century is a Test century and there have always been weak teams. But that is no excuse for the Windies apathy.

As good as the company in the BOC Gas box is, there’s some people to wander out and see. The Almanac’s DJ Wilson lets me know he’s nearby. I introduce him to Rachel and as always I enjoy our conversation about sport, writing and life. If there wasn’t other people to see and more free corporate box beers to be had, I could have easily sat and talked to the tall man from Brunswick for the rest of the day. AC Voges brings up his ton and Australia declare once the total passes 550.

We walk right around to mid wicket at the Punt Road end. My old school mate AM Hewitt is hosting in a corporate box. His twin BA Hewitt (best man at my wedding) is there too, as is Simon, Andy and a few blokes I hadn’t met, Dean, Jake and Monna. Very different atmosphere in this box. The boys are on the punt. Doing well, backing winners in Devonport. Nathan Lyon finally takes the first wicket for the day after a Windies opening stand of 35.

James Pattinson, after an ordinary start, comes back and strikes with the wickets of Chandrika followed three balls later by Marlon Samuels. Samuels looked like he could be anything as a youngster on the 2000/01 tour. He’s still around, just, and he’s turned out just a good average player. Don’t expect we’ll see him again after this tour.

I’m usually anti foreign beer but the Peroni’s are sliding down well. From our side-on position P.Siddle is impressive as he charges in relentlessly. Though from our spot we question whether he is bowling no-balls as he appears on or over the line every ball. But we are a long way further away than the umpire. But do they only bother to check now when a wicket is taken?

Lyon takes the wicket of the attacking Blackwood, Siddle dismisses Ramdin via a fine Joe Burns catch then bowls Holder with a super leg-cutter next ball. We call back to the BOC box with 6 overs remaining, but they’ve all gone. Seen enough.

The Windies are 6/91 at stumps in the most lop-sided day of Test cricket imaginable. Darren Bravo, possibly the only genuine Test cricketer in the team, hangs on. Even at 40, Shivnarine Chanderpaul still would have defended his wicket dearly and has not been replaced in this team since his omission. Surely more value than 34-year-old Samuels.

Claire, my step-mother, drove us down and is back to pick us up after a day of shopping and lunching. The long history of inappropriately timed roadworks on the West Gate Bridge continues, with the journey from the ‘G to Point Cook taking an hour and a half as the bridge is cut down to two lanes. Rachel sleeps from Altona onwards, the corporate beers and sav blancs taking their toll.

Steve Smith, Adam Voges, the Australian team and the corporate box were the winners on the day. I’ll still frequent the outer, but will look with less disdain at those behind the glass, and look forward to my next chance to grace the leather chairs.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Well played, Luke.
    it is all very well being a man of the people, but occasionally one must savour the finer things in life, surely?
    And it is a chance to see how the other half live!

    I hope e.r. didn’t mind playing second fiddle to a corporate box!

  2. Foreign corporate beer, Luke? Wash your mouth out with Australian craft beer, immediately! Otherwise, sounds like a great day mixing the social with the cricket. Test cricket at its finest in its own funny way. Samuels is just taking up oxygen – the West Indies need to pick guys who want to be there. Shiv is averaging 45 for Guyana in first-class cricket this season, so as you say at least he would put a price on his wicket. Good stuff!

  3. Well, you can only play the hand you’re dealt, Luke.
    And that reads as though you played it exceedingly well.
    Good on you for breaking out of the class structures and making it over. Hats off.

    Though, after my one and only MCC Member’s experience, the more I discover about these “exclusive” clubs, the less magical they appear. Same people, same habits, marginally better dress code. Just as with the private – public school divide.

    Smokie – As a general principle (though sometimes difficult to defend), social research always comes first.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke you picked the perfect day to enter the Lord Voldemort side a game with no emotion involved in it what so ever so you might as well have been on free beer.i have had the experience 3 times and it is to plastic for my liking at the footy don’t dare barick my thoughts may be influenced in that I am 0 out of 3,
    Crows,Redbacks and Aust side all losing convincelingly to quiet for my tastes.i was coaching a boy at Pac and eventually I very politely asked him why he was playing and he replied,Malcolm you have been far more patient than I would have been to me I hate the game and my dad is making me play I reckon he tried more than,Samuels.How did,Rachel pull up today ?

  5. John Butler says

    The sounds of seduction Luke?


  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Smokie, always nice to see how the other half live!

    Dave, washed my mouth out with a few Australian Craft Beers when I got home, think I got rid of the taste!

    ER- the social research was interesting, though you had the best seat in the whole arena. Look forward to my next trip back to the grandstand.

    Spot on about the quietness Malcolm. From all reports Rachel pulled up well.

    Maybe JB, it starts with a ticket to a corporate box…..

  7. Well played Luke. Glad you enjoyed your day out. Sport from the corporate box often seems despite the largesse, to be disconnected and almost a matter of endurance. Those in the box look like the queen after she’s watched an hour of tribal dancing.

    As Smokie suggests once in a while is educational.

    Thanks for this.

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Mickey. The day was very educational. Wasn’t sure I’d ever make it to a corporate box. Glad I went.

Leave a Comment