No mojo

by Hamish Townsend

Day 4

There was not a moment of Day Four which will be remembered in any highlights reel, next to nothing happened for the entire day. However, when the story of the 2010 Ashes is written day four at the Gabba will be marked as the day Australia discovered, unless they change something quick, they cannot win this series.

Australia bowled without imagination or venom from first ball to last. Some of that may go down to the pitch, which flattened and slowed. Nothing swung and few balls took off from the considerable cracks snaking on a length from the left-hander’s off stump.

England started the day in deep trouble; 202 runs behind, two days to survive, a pumped up Australia and several men with large question marks over their form and talent. They ended it 1/302, having negotiated a docile attack in a workman like fashion.

Strauss and Cook scored centuries, but never looked troubled or did anything amazing.

Trott will probably get a century as well, he’s looking good.

On a quiet, overcast and cool Brisbane morning the three lions took up the challenge with calm grit. The balmy version also outnumbered Australians in the crowd three to one.

As usual in Brisbane, Police nearly outnumbered the crowd. Brisbane loves authority more than mangoes and this year’s latest layer of crowd control was the bizarre idea of forcing everyone with a bag, with more than one zip, to check it in to a cloak-room. I just stared open-mouthed at the women on the bag search desk. She was embarrassed and apologetic and I had a long queue behind me.

No officious twerps were going to spoil my day, I was at the Gabba for a test. It was officially the first day of summer.

I climbed the stairs at the Stanley Street end and found myself in the very back row surrounded by the older, less balmy army. Given the state of the British economy it may be the last mass tour to Australia for a while. According to the ABC this legion is half the size of the 2006 tour. By 2014 England would have lived through four years of austerity budgets and it will feel like 1985 all over again.

Speaking of 1985, Harms noted on day 2 the visiting young ladies appear to have taken their fashion and attitude cue from Samantha Fox. In my section it was like Bournemouth comes to Maroochydore shopping plaza, which may be the same thing, but cheaper.

A bloke in his thirties in front of me had a head which turned sharper than Warnie on a fifth day in Sydney as he took in every wobble and imagined every tan line. He was so obvious his girlfriend spent the entire morning with a raised eyebrow. She wasn’t to worried, she knew he was punching above his weight just holding on to her.

With a wife 81/2 months pregnant and an energetic two year old to look after there was no way a full day at the Gabba was ever going to happen. The end of my first shift came close to lunch and I peddled back home to give the family the rundown.

How was it?


Really? What happened?



It was like a test match from the old days and I loved every minute, bowlers trundled in never threatening, the batsmen left everything outside off stump.

A day to do nothing on which nothing happened… luxury.

I watched Strauss bring up the easiest hundred of his career from the couch as both my ladies rested. Hilfenhaus was bowling straight to a seven and two field and the Poms picked him off at will. It was that kind of day.

The only bowler to get a wicket was Marcus North.

Watson could not find a length, he was cut to boundary over and over. Siddle asked some questions but bowled too many pies. Doherty’s just starting out and I think he bowls too fast for Brisbane, no loop or drift, but he is accurate.

Johnson is the real worry. He has long been my favourite Australian bowler, there is something almost amateurish about his inability to bowl a solid line or tie a batsman down. He just gets people out.

Today he was all Mo and no Jo.

England decided to not touch anything that went across them and stuck to the plan. It left Johnson without his major weapon and took him till the end of the day to go around the wicket.

No matter how many runs are scored a test match victory is only achieved by the team who can take twenty wickets. I don’t believe Australia can achieve this feat.

Maybe today will really be remembered as the day England realised it as well.

About Hamish Townsend

Hamish Townsend was born and raised in Geelong, supports the Cats and lives in Brisbane.


  1. Good summation Hamish,
    It truely was an ordinary day for the locals. I was driving most of the day so the highlight was Kerry get stuck into Agers over his less than illustrios bowling career the best being that “He took the shine off the new ball”.

  2. Also heard the Aggers Duke of Edinburgh story.

  3. Tony / John,
    The Aggers Duke of Edinburgh story was brilliant, and in a few short minutes confirmed to me why it is so much more enjoyable listening to the cricket on the radio.

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