Gabba Test, Australia v India – Day One: From the sauna, 57 Mt Pleasant Street

Ladies and gents welcome to this after hours, after play, after acceptances, after all session in the sauna at 57 Mt Pleasant Street, where I’m joined by Hall of  Fame legend and former Test groundsman, designer and patent-holder of the two-in-one jock-strap, ‘Slippery’ Stan Archer to talk cricket. Cricket, Stan, the proper kind. No contrivances, no colourful pyjamas, just a best-of-two-innings rumble against enigmatic India in the sub-tropical heat of Brisbane prior to Christmas. Day one is done and dusted. How did you see it, Stan?

Thank you very much, BJ, and isn’t it a pleasure to be here in little Newmanville. That Newman really is tiny, isn’t he? How did I see it? India smashed us.

Smashed, Stan?

Look they won the toss. That helps these days, far far too much. But I heard IA Healy today saying, and, incidentally, being paid to say in unbiased terms: “it’s probably a good toss to lose,” and get this, “at least Australia has managed to do that.” He’s ahead of his time.

Hmm. Smashed. What are they?

4/311. Yes, smashed. And look, it’s no surprise.


No. Look, India went close in Adelaide. And they strengthened their team, bringing in the captain, and we simultaneously weakened ours, losing the captain, and the two horse race tightens.


And you leave out two thirds of the pace bowling posse that won you matches, employing uncertain, worried, speculative bowlers in their place.


And on top of that, you select prawns with no objective claims on a Test spot, based on any criteria you care to name – barring nepotism – and you come unstuck.


It’s the selectors I’m concerned about.


Don’t forget we had GJ Maxwell batting at #3 two Tests ago. And now SE Marsh is in the side again. Hardly been banging the door down, hasn’t he? I haven’t heard a single tap.


It’s an outrage. What about EJM Cowan? He’s in the runs.


But his dad isn’t an Old Boy. No stories about him in the commentary box.


And what about the over rate today?

Yes. 83 for the day.

Did it rain? Were the footmarks in need of constant repair? Did a calamitous fall of wickets hold up proceedings? I’ll tell you: no, no and no.

What caused the hold up, Stan?

Pissweak Australian fielders held it up, BJ. Fielders drinking, eating icy-poles, drinking more, in between balls, in between overs.

I thought we had drinks breaks for that, Stan?

Exactly right, we do.

But it was a hot day.

Hot? That was nothing! Nothing to what’s coming, BJ, in our climate changed world. We need to harden up.

So no individual drinks?

None. They can wait. We used to wait. And so can the umpires.

Oh the umpires have made a couple of mistakes, haven’t they, Stan?

Well of course they bloody well have. They’re human aren’t they? Don’t start me on that DRS conversation. That’s what we humans do. We make mistakes. And we’ll make just as many with the DRS as without. It’ll just take longer and give people the illusion of control; of more information.


When really it’s all crap. It’s a con. It’s a con on the scale of selling bottled water in Melbourne.


I mean, water better than anywhere runs right out of your tap in Melbourne.


Flushes most toilets, too.


Yet people fall for buying it in scandalous plastic bottles. It defies logic.

Yes. You’re pumped up, Stan. Tell us about India today.

Ahhhh, BJ. India. Should have lost no wickets. Should be 0/311. They’ll be disappointed to be four down. There’s a good deal more runs here for them tomorrow too, with the pitch quickening up. And Australians falling again embarrassingly to soft tissue injuries.


Yeah, look, you don’t mind a player breaking a finger, but these hamstring tears show me that athletes have replaced cricketers in this country.


Did you ever hear of DC Boon pulling his hamstring?



Best performance of the day?

M Vijay made 144 out stumped. That’s hard to top.


But out stumped. Rushing the bowler, N.M Lyon. Upon such rushes of blood entire Test matches can turn.


And AM Rahane not out 75. With RG Sharma 26 and MS Dhoni next man in. They could make 600.

What about SPD Smith today? His first as captain.

Well apart from the toss, the over rate and the leaking of runs in the last hour, he did beautifully.

Did he?

He’s a New South Welshman, so that’s enough.


Yes. In this team, BJ, if you’re not from NSW and you’re not a Marsh, you can only be MG Johnson or CJL Rogers.

Is that right?

It is. But look, it’s going to be a beauty, BJ. This Test series is already better than I’d hoped.

A beauty indeed. How do you see it unfolding from here, Stan?

Oh look, I’m not one to pass on pitch and weather conditions, BJ.


But I’m looking forward to the rest of this match. Test cricket is flying, BJ.

It is, Stan. Let’s all keep an eye on the ‘Gabba tomorrow. Turn that heat up, can you? Bye for now.



Be sure to read some of our other Almanac cricket pieces HERE.



About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Soft tissue injuries? Has SDank been lurking around the dressing rooms?
    Ease up on SMarsh until he’s had a couple of innings. Class player when his confidence is up. Better than Rogers and Watto (not hard).
    I think they train our cricketers up for a heavily muscled 6F scamper down the Newmarket straight; when they need a bone and muscle TJ/Bart 2 mile prep.
    It all points again to the incompatability of the short and long forms of the allegedly ‘same’ game.
    Sprinters aren’t stayers and vice versa.
    Thanks ER.

  2. SMarsh reportedly a top bloke.
    I know a few of them, but I also know they’re not Test cricketers.
    94 first class games for an average of 37.
    Stats are limited, sure, but he’s not the future, nor the present. So why is he playing?

  3. Enjoyable reading as always, E R.
    And some very pertinent points well made.
    The over-rate was a disgrace.
    The non-selection of Harris – our best bowler – curious.
    And the “injuries”? Too much white-ball cricket, not enough red-ball cricket.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Stan and BJ in the sauna! Look forward to seeing where they end up next.
    Smokie has nailed it with the last line of his comment.
    Great work again ER.

  5. Average 36 in first class cricket.
    How many times is he usually dropped per innings?

    44.6 overs “Aaron to SE Marsh (32) no run, dropped! Change of angle nearly paid off! That might have swirled in the air a bit and wrong-footed Rahane at leg gully. Marsh took on the short ball, and he top-edged the pull high in the air. Rahane had a long time to get under the ball, and he moved around a bit and wasn’t quite in position when it finally dropped to him. Slipped through his grasp, more through his fingertips and not his palms. He was grabbing at it in the end.”

    46.5 overs “Yadav to SE Marsh, OUT, taken! That was back of a length, angled across and it bounced extra. Marsh went at it with an angled bat and it flew over first slip’s head and Ashwin timed his jump perfectly and grabbed it two-handed, over his head
    SE Marsh c Ashwin b Yadav 32 (70b 5×4 0x6) SR: 45.71

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks OBP yep not enough red ball shield cricket ( although the players obviously missed some cricket in the build up to the 1st test re P Hughes justifiably )
    Totally agree on these bloody drink breaks every 2 minutes ridiculous .
    Personally have drs in the hand of 3rd ump to over rule the howler ( would have been busy ) . S Marsh has always looked good but fails to nail the big scores .

  7. Thanks OBP
    I do wonder about Old Boy networks.
    Team skills and being a good bloke are very important traits – B Haddin, G Bailey, come to mind – but so are runs.

    Will we see EJM Cowan back in the side ahead of next year’s Ashes tour?

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