Gabba Test – Day 2: What the…?

Well, this has completely buggered things up hasn’t it.

I mean I am happy we are doing well, the series is alive, Mitch is wonderful, blah blah blah.

But. I had a whole piece planned, in advance, about today’s play. A ripper, a belter. A great Day 2 review, all pre- written and prepared, all set to go.

I thought that as I’m batting with Luke Reynolds, (a bloke who from his articles knows a fair bit about the game, seems to still play it and has a cricket cap on his good looking head for Christ’s sake in his photo), I better come up with something good.

People who know what they are talking about will talk in their reviews about the pitch, how we are bowling, picking the gaps, strategy and all that bumpf. I’ll be left exposed like a dodgy tailender, McGrath or Reid like in the face of quick bowling.

So, preparation being the mother of something or other, I thought, ‘I know, a funny piece’. Something witty, pithy, full of chuckles and knowing nods, something that I can write in advance, yet make it seem like I just whipped it out (so to speak)

Like a smarter funnier bloke than I once said, “some of my best ad lib lines were planned well in advance”

A cracker of a review, a brilliant article, that will be appreciated by the amazing Almanac crowd. Something that will make JTH look to me on the reserves bench next book launch when Gideon or Francis do a late hammy in the green room during their vocal warm up.

So what happens? We do well that’s what bloody happens! Incredibly well in fact. Suddenly, having only been able to follow the cricket at work on cricinfo with their ball by ball commentary, now I need to write a proper piece!

The funny one? The clever original one that pays homage to a comic classic to tell a story about how crap we played and are? Well, it’s still there in draft and I doubt that there won’t be another chance during this series to publish a piece about how poor we were on any given day in the series. But clearly, not on Day 2 of the First Test.

So what happened? Well, we played like the Poms and they played like us.

Haddin scored quickly, not strike rotation or refusing to take singles when he played it to a deep fieldsman. For a change, it was about team, let’s score as much as we can, make the most of our time, personal milestones be dammed. I like that, very old school, as is our Brad.

Johnson is the ultimate two-face cricketer. Taken off after 3 overs of dross, the four ball machine in overdrive, he returns with really brute deliveries that make the batsmen hop and play poorly. He takes wickets by making the batsmen think twice about what could happen, not playing each on its merits. An enigmatic cricketer if there ever was one, like the Poo or Fev, we just don’t know what to make of him and how he uses his talents, but he has no doubt been the man of the game so far, with bat and ball.

For a change, the pressure is on at both ends. Harris and Siddle make it hard to score, giving Johnson the chance to come back with a clearer head. Lyon is brilliant with pressure and then wickets.

Cook out with a soft hands defensive shot, Pietersen playing aggressively, Trott’s and Prior’s poor form continues, Root as well. Carberry becalmed after a good start. Bell’s the prize wicket after last series. Approaching tea, the issue of making England follow on is actually being discussed. What sort of bizarro world cricket match is this!

Johnson is fearsomely quick and causes real awkwardness for the batsmen. We catch well in support of our bowlers, pressure maintained.

Broad threatens to play villain and hero again, but we prevail with a stunning turnaround.

The players on both sides look the same as they did in England, so what’s going on? We are well ahead, at stumps on Day 2? The Poms will suck on a goji berry smoothie and wonder what happened.

Whatever happened, it mucked up my afternoon.

Oh, and I am of course happy we did well. There.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Sympathies Sean. Had to shelve your brilliant article, and then I was forced to cancel your tickets, so you were stuck at Tullamarine with a kit bag full of creams and nowhere to go.
    I understand Sunbury C Grade are looking for a medium paced change bowler on Saturday. I had you taped as a batsmen. Can you trundle? Ring and I’ll give you the club secretary’s name.
    Story of your life really.
    I had the same experience with an Eagles piece I half wrote a few years ago. I was so nervous about writing for this august publication, I used to think about witty scenarios and intros. This one had everything. Bagged the ex-wife; sucked up to the Avenging Eagle; self deprecating; witty lines – all to be capped with the expected triumph.
    And they played like the Tigers in Cairns.
    They had let ME down. It was personal. Never gave my pieces a moment’s pre-game thought after that.
    Let the day tell the story.
    As Mitch Johnson knows – spontaneous crap generally works out better than pre-planned crap.
    I reckon Craig McDermott stands at long on and yells out numbers 1-6 and Mitch bowls them.
    As John Lennon said “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
    Great piece. Don’t unpack the kit bag.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sean totally agree I too had thought out my article in advance of how crap we are only to ruined also . In retrospect we had all forgotten that the , Gabba wicket always quickens up on day , 2 and how benign the pitches were in the , UK . What the pleasant surprise was how much the pomms panicked and how brittle they were , 6 for .9 is bizarre . When checking a shield score on the , CA website the test score read
    Aust 295 V Eng 1 50 need , 46 to avoid the follow on again in reflection this call nearly put any bookmaker to shame corrupt or otherwise ! What idiot wrote , Cricket is dying ?
    Seriously hopefully day , 2 goes on to be the launching pad for what the game in this country desperately needs , Go Mitch I never doubted you pigs arse !

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Sean. ‘Johnson is the ultimate two-faced cricketer’ is the most accurate description of Mitch that I’ve heard.

    Good batting with you. It’s not often I get accused of having a good looking head.

  4. John Butler says

    I’d hang onto the draft Sean. I’m sure it will have its day at some stage in the summer.

  5. Pressure from both ends – dead right.

  6. mickey randall says

    After a decent period of success, England sat on a plateau, and are now in decline. After a period of average and dreadful cricket, Australia, finally, is on the rise. Was today the day of intersection for the two lines on the graph? I hope so.

  7. Dear Mr SC

    Likewise, at work with Cricinfo as my guide. Suddenly emails coming in, people popping their head into my office asking if I could believe what was happening and a single shout from a nearby workstation. Friday afternoon got good in the blink of an eye because as you neatly summarized: “we played like the Poms and they played like us”. Let’s hope this is a harbinger and not just a single crease in the universe as we have come to know it!

    Great piece, it spoke for us and about us.

  8. Well played, SC. I went into the Murray Goulburn AGM on Friday arvo just after The Poms lost their second wicket. Came out 21/2 hours later and they were 9 down. I was convinced there would be more aggression shown by the farmers in the audience than by our bowlers – my arvo turned out surprisingly sedate while all the action was at the Gabba (surprisingly).

  9. Sean,

    At least you had time to change your report.

    Can I please have back my Day 1 memo????

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