Long Day’s Journey to the ‘G

This would have to be the most eventful first day I have encountered for a Boxing Day test match.

I arrived at the Mildura airport on Christmas Day en route to Melbourne via plane for the big game.  Total travelling time of 1 hour and five minutes. I kiss the ground at Tullamarine seven and a half hours later and arrived at my abode at midnight.  A great start.  Full credit to Virgin’s whore of a sister as she was pleasant right throughout the whole affair. Not so for some of the clients who would be sleeping like a virgin all night.

Boxing Day arose from a grey Christmas hangover and the crowd rolled in the same way – slowly.

They say the Indian expatriate population in Melbourne is over 95,000 and most of them were at the ground particularly those of Hindu and Muslim descent. Anglo Saxons were less prominent.

Ever the opportunist The Pup won the toss and chose to bat. Cowan on debut scored his first test run with a tentative push, his other two scores in the first session came from exquisite cover drives. Fast Eddie reminds me of an old fashioned professional player.  Don’t give a sucker an even break and only hit the balls that you have too

His hand signals were also worth watching.  No way he would run when he put up that big mitt.

His partner Warner is all working class. Belligerent with smiting the ball his main weapon.

Warner as the senior partner dominates the partnership until rain intervenes. First ball after he is gone.  The crowd has been looking for a new hero in the batting and he was now on his way to the pavilion.  Warner(37) is the type of son every mum would like; there is just something about him.

Marsh comes and goes a victim of the chicken show.  A flash uncontrolled outside the of stump.  New chum Yadav has them both.  His credit card is running hot but he has got two Boxing Day bargains.

Ponting enters the colosseum to the roar of the patriots. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down?

He and Cowan survive to lunch which is extended through rain.

Plenty of curry for the Aussies at lunch as they come out running. At the first break they have moved the total to 138/2.  Ponting is imperious and receives a standing ovation for his fifty. Fast Eddie has given wonderful support.  His maiden fifty comes up moments later. He is right for the remainder of the series along with The Punter. Pressure must be now on Mr Cricket, although as he points out he can roll his arm over and has taken more wickets at the top level this season than he ever has before!

Talking to one of the Indian language correspondents there are over 40 different media organisations in attendance.  He said how difficult for all the local groups dialects to be represented at the Tests.  There are over 100 different dialects within the sub-continent of India and all most of them do not have the where-with-all to travel outside their own country and so the natives of their area miss out on the scores.

Ponting (62) goes to a beauty from Yadav.  He has gone a long way to taming the Lion and its thumbs up as he makes his way back to the change rooms.

The Pup enters the arena but somehow the southerners  still not have come to grips with his leadership role. Those damn Yankees from deep south.  Who knows when the next skipper will come from Victoria. The only one I can think of is Chris Scott, or maybe Joel Sellwood.

Since rising to the role of the most important person in Australia The Pup  has gone from strength to strength and the captaincy has seen the development of an adventurous leader without all the bells, whistles and bingles.

Clarke(31) plays on to Khan just as he was getting set. At 4/205 Mr Cricket comes to the wicket to join the unflappable Fast Eddie. OUT! First ball  and Mr Cricket could be on the way out. But was he out?  The bloodhounds will be baying.

Khan has come back with an inspired spell and is causing all sorts of problems.

Cowan (68) goes caught Dhoni of the bowling of Ashwin and the Indians are well back in the game.  Once again the middle of the innings has become a disaster.

No referral system.  Replays show that both were safe.

Siddle and Haddin settle in and Haddin looks like he is in the mood.

70,068 through  the gate.  A good crowd considering the early morning precipitation

Siddle(34) I admire he gives his all for his team and along with Haddin(21) he is still there at the close of play.  Australia have recovered to be 6/277 due to their fine partnership.

India are probably slightly on top given their batting strength but they will need to dismiss this pair early and clean up soon afterwards.  Sharma and Khan needed the run and should come up fresh in the morning

Tomorrow is another day and the expatriates will be looking for a Tendulkar ton. Off to bed for me it has been a rather long 24 hours.

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.

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