The Ashes 2015 – First Test: Banter, Insight and Memory

G’day Sportsfans


Looking to get some incisive analysis happening on Day 1 in Cardiff. Going to juggle website banter and Twitter conversations.

Are you there?

Have you spotted Citrus Bob Utber? Is he in the lemon strides?

Anyone else about?

Are you in the lounge at home? Pub?

What was the first English Test match you experienced?

And anything else…



About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Rather envious of JG Norton and PJ Flynn right about now. The Ashes, Newmarket around the corner and Wimbledon as well.

    I always enjoy the series more when the first Test held at Lords. No sleight on the good people of Glamorgan CC at all…

    Does anyone know of any alternative commentary sites/options, like Test Match Sofa, but from an Australian perspective?

  2. First got right into the Ashes in 1981. The infamous Botham comeback Test. Stayed up all night listening on the radio, couldn’t believe that K Hughes was actually shielding G Yallop – a former Australian captain no less – from the strike!
    I was 15 years old, getting bitten by the cricket bug big time

  3. England have won the toss and will bat.

    Perhaps a blessing for the Australians.

  4. just discovered no Fox coverage – shattered, will have to find Ch9 on remote and request radio

  5. Cricket is on GEM in Australia. Origin on Channel 9.

  6. Watto playing. Hope you’re right about him JTH.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    I’m with Crio, bitterly disappointed it’s not on Fox. Might go the 774 audio instead of Slats, Tubby & Heals.

    1989 is my first memory of an Ashes series in England. Late nights for a 10 year old, lucky enough to be allowed to sleep on the fold out couch. That series really turned me into a devoted Test cricket fan.

  8. -falling asleep pretty early to Arlott’s glorious drone (and MacGilvray’s drivel) and then getting up really early for Richie’s BBCTV highlights reel…must’ve been late 60s?? (black and white TV kids!)
    -still shudder at listening to Botham’s bullying – in Pt Lincoln at that time – can’t let it go
    -Tugga’s maiden Test ton

  9. Australia might just be too good but ridiculously under the odds playing away. Laid them to win series at $1.45*
    *gamble responsibly

  10. First memories probably 1970. Boycott, Luckhurst, Edrich, Snow, Knott, Underwood, etc

  11. Illingworth I think back then not Underwood.

  12. another indelible memory is Australia (Slater) being 0/100+ by lunch on Day 1 ‘Gabba – series won.
    Today’s opp is to have Poms 3/jack in half hour and wounded.

  13. Rubbish bowling. Lucky first wicket.

  14. yep
    Hazlewood better suited to righties
    deck pretty docile, but give the duke ball another 30 mins

  15. NWeidmann says

    I’m unsure about the Watson selection, considering the amount of runs Mitchell Marsh made in the lead up. Before I get howled down, I know why he got picked, (his bowling) I just don’t agree with it.

  16. Thurston having an absolute blinder Qld 14 NSW 2

  17. Now I understand why the NSW media has been fighting the NSW team’s battles for them all week. #weirdmediaculture

  18. E.regnans says

    Dont follow that JTH.
    Up in Tweed River country now. Behind Gold Coast saw white cows today with “GO” spray painted in maroon on their flank. Others amongst them with matching “QLD”.

    N Lyon now with one.
    Loving the bowling changes. Proactive. Making it happen in absence of any rhythm. Terrible looking pitch.

    1989 also my awakening.
    Collected newspaper articles in a scrapbook all series.

  19. Luke Reynolds says

    Lyon will be bowling a heap of overs. Good to see him on early.

  20. crankypete says

    vague memories of the sock soakers from 68, but remember 72, Massie, Graeme Watson, Marsh tonking Gifford, as if it were yesterday.

  21. E.regnans says

    M Starc a box of chocolates.

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    Great delivery from Starc. Nearly unplayable. Good to see, his first spell earlier was ordinary.

  23. Thought having Lyon on early was a touch desperate! What would I know!

  24. Luke Reynolds says

    ER- 1989 also the start of my cricket scrapbooking days.

    Was going to say that Haddin was keeping well, unlike his 2009 Ashes tour….

  25. crankypete says

    The non-selection of MMarsh smacks of the 77 tour factions. Don’t tell me the core have all signed contracts with the Rebels, and MMArsh hasn’t? It’s become like Tom Veivers getting picked for his batting : (

  26. E.regnans says

    B Haddin stopped using his feet years ago.
    Dives theatrically for everything down leg side these days.
    Should have kept his feet with a R Marsh skip to the right. Diving miss lazy.

  27. Malcolm Ashwood says

    1st ashes memories are bits of the 71-72 series in aust and then vividly remember Massie 16 wickets at
    Lords,the furore of the supposes grass disease for the Pomms to win the ashes( I think ) at Headlingley and then a fantastic,5th test at the oval with,Sheahan and Marsh combining to draw the series.
    Lille and Thommo in 74-75 blasting the Pomms out.The fantastic commentary of John Arlott brilliant
    childhood memories.This test looks like a pretty average deck not looking forward to batting on it won’t want to be chasing many batting last.

  28. crankypete says


    BTW, why do we always hear about Headingley and not Edgbaston? Headingley was a miracle, great for cricket, but Edgbaston arguably Australia’s worst loss, morale shattered due to events in the dressing room. Brearley lucky again, as usual. Arsey man. The Bob Carr of cricket : (

  29. ABC cricket books putting scores in, 70-71 series. Remember my dad speaking in soft tones about Bill Lawry being sacked. Ended up studying statistics based on sporting stats intriguing me.

  30. E.regnans says

    I wonder how a transcription of IA Healy’s commentary would read.

  31. crankypete says

    Great memories from every series: Free George Davis; Mick Malone bowling and bowling and bowling; Yallop’s great knock at Old Trafford; Gower driving like the pure essence of cricket; Waugh and Lawson going the Tonk while sitting outside Max’s in Petersham the night the Honeys launched their single; Warne and May in tandem; Dizzy’s brilliant spell in ’97; Martyn’s eventual perfection; Warne, fullstop; thinking we might send the Poms back in on Day at Headingley in 09; Phil Hughes shepherding Agar… would like to see Ahmed get a 5-for this series. Looks like Root might give us something to remember… get Smith on, NOW!

  32. crankypete says

    Luckhurst, Fletcher, Hampshire, I hated those names, so English. but John Edrich was the worst, impenetrable.

  33. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Roots innings has eery similarities to ABs in 89 with the counter attack knocking the stuffing out of the opposition

  34. crankypete says

    Yeah remember when AB unveiled the pull in that first knock?I knew we were going to do OK.

  35. Back now, after gorging on Origin. What a performance!

    I’m thinking skip might throw the pill to Watto?

  36. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Has Haddin dropped the ashes ?

  37. This is it. Watto!

  38. Luke Reynolds says

    1 wicket from Watto right now would be far more valuable than 11/5/15/0.

  39. E.regnans says

    Pity JE Root is an Englishman.

  40. E.regnans says

    Very watchable.

  41. Luke Reynolds says

    If you take out the dropped catch, it’s been an immaculate innings by JE Root.

  42. Rick Kane says

    Three wickets fall while I’m not watching. (Outvoted so Criminal Minds it was until family went to bed). Then I settle in only to watch Root get on top of all our bowlers (incl Watto) from the moment he came to the crease. And allow Ballance to find his, ahem, balance. Not happy Jan. I’m off to bed, so the wickets will fall. Goodnight

  43. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Rick.Stay in bed. Good to get Ballance out.

    Our quicks have been both brilliant and horrible tonight. Jaffas and pies. Couple more here and we’re right on top though.

  44. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic ton JE Root, great to watch. Ranks with Steve Smith and Kane Williamson as best young(er) batsmen in the world.

  45. Rulebook – I had the same thought. It was like watching Warnie drop Kevin Petersen in 2005 and the Poms won the urn. Haddin may have dropped the Ashes.

    The start to this series already has a creep vibe.

  46. crankypete says

    7-336 day 1 2009. We should have won that one. Nevill…

  47. Bob Utber says

    What a delight seeit live. Yes Haddin may have dropped the urn but the “three Mouseketeers” we
    Here worse. Christmas came early for the pommy batsmen.
    Great stuff afficienados.
    Sorry JTH red trousers today! Yellow Day 2 – the tradition continues. Provided the weather is warmer than Day 1.
    Hard work sitting with the plebs.

  48. Bob Utber says

    The three Mouseketeers left a lot to be desired.
    Talk about bowling pies to the opposition.
    Freddie brown,s team in 1951-2. The last amateur skipper. Ruddy faced Freddie played with a silk cravat around his neck. Remember that Rulebook?

  49. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I do remember reading about it,Citrus Bob

  50. Peter Flynn says

    Haddin stood 2 steps too deep and had a ‘mare’.

    Footwork was poor.

    Joe Root is a really good bat. Exemplary footwork.

    Balance is a shocker/hack. There are many ways to get him out. LBW is the most prudent. However, fair play to him because he gutsed it out.

    Liked Stokes. Starc’s send off was typically inane, boorish and wankerish.

    My question is how many of the current Australian would you consider to have a good record in Test matches in England when the series is alive?

    I like the look of new England up against Captain Mainwaring et al.

    I think Australia will struggle here.

    7/343 was a terrific effort by England on a pitch that I haven’t made my mind up about yet.

    Citrus Bob is a great man.

  51. Need to bowl the Poms out for under 400. A long way under if possible. But then we need to make 500 plus. Big ask.

    Rogers 30
    Warner 5
    Smith 90
    Clarke 39
    Voges 72
    Watto 7
    Haddin 0
    Johnson 35
    Starc 23
    Lyon no 2
    Hazelwood 1
    Extras 20
    Total : 324

    How badly did they miss Rhino’s steadiness?

  52. Dips,
    are you by any chance an accountant?

  53. crankypete says

    yes they missed Harris but they should have been preparing for that eventuality all summer. he was cooked 18 months ago in SA. and Siddle was never the man to step into that gap. there’s 10 faster, better, younger seamers who could all have been options.

    Lyon innocuous again after the early wicket, and doesn’t really tie an end down. he is a 3rd innings specialist. Would have liked to see Smith or Voges or both.

    Anyway, early days but English happy to have runs on the board I suspect.

  54. Starc got 5 for at 5 an over. Does one cancel out the other?

  55. E.regnans says

    I’d take the wickets, Dips.
    But I’d like to see only one bloke leaking at that rate.
    Attack lacking a PM Siddle / MG Hughes builder of pressure.

    Especially now that the Poms have been New Zealand-ified.
    Reverse sweeps from #11?

  56. E.regnans says

    Terrific swing bowling.
    CJL Rogers plays late better than most.
    Needs to.

  57. Good work from the openers to get through that little session

  58. Pretty good catch that. Although he would have seen it early – from the bowler’s hand no less.

  59. Smith has not located his off stump yet.

  60. Gee, Smith walks a long way across his stumps.

  61. E.regnans says

    Test just settling down now.
    Like a wild bush horse, ridden in.

    5th session.

  62. Pitch doing enough to suggest that batting won’t be easy on the weekend.
    Australia really need a decent first innings lead here.

  63. E.regnans says

    Very impressed with Mark Wood’s use of the crease.

    Terry Gannon preached exactly this for many years at Northcote CC and in later years at Banyule CC.
    Bowling a game of angles.

  64. Very impressed with trumpeter’s ‘Come on Eileen’.

  65. Two days in and England has won both days. We need something special now from (wait for it………) Watto!

  66. Dear John,
    You’re a man of influence. Do something about the scheduling please!

    I was house bound, so watched the footy. Flipped to the cricket during the ads and breaks, also to the TDF, whilst trying to get some tennis (less worried cos we are getting on in that tourney and so no Aussies). Anyway, I’m a bit worn out, having to jump from high energy footy. To more sedate cricket. To mystifyingly quiet tennis. To grueling bike riding.
    I would like them spread out. You know, in serial form so I can get the pace and theatre of each. Anything you can do is appreciated.


  67. Poms are no good. We must win.

  68. You can’t nake a dumb cricketer smart.

  69. E.regnans says

    Poms are bowling well.
    What was SR Watson on overnight?

  70. beer

  71. E.regnans says

    Might as well.

    JM Anderson giving a clinic in swing bowling.

  72. What a shocking innings by Haddin. Made Anderson look unplayable by sitting on the crease every delivery.

  73. E.regnans says

    Agree crio.
    Real absence of adjustment to English (& Welsh) conditions.

    Totally outplayed.

  74. I’m back to the footy.

  75. E.regnans says

    Australia bats again today and we’re in business.
    JR Hazlewood disciplined start.
    But BJ Haddin has overstayed his welcome.

  76. Joe Moore says

    Is there any conceivable reason why Watson plays ahead of M.Marsh again this series?

  77. Tigers won.
    Hazlewood is bowling well.
    Dare I say it? We leaked too many runs in England’s first innings, about 80 too many.

  78. Malcolm Ashwood says

    We need rain

  79. Just started here in Adelaide. Great catch Clarkey! more needed.
    Tell you what that footage at lunch, Bob Simpson had a great pair of mitts.

  80. Rick Kane says

    Watching Apocalypse Now or as I like to call it, the first test

  81. Peter Flynn says

    One Ashes Test win in England in 14.

    The Bully Boys don’t like it when they are ‘bullied’.

    Starc had Old Mate plumb LBW but forgot to appeal because he wanted to mouth off.

    This is a typically poor Australian side in England.

    The side for The Oval should be quite different.

    Please don’t play 2 inconsistent left armrest ever again.

    Predicting the game will be over at 4:43pm.

    Loved watching Fed.

  82. Very cranky about the Aussie performance because I just don’t rate the Poms. But it seems to me that they want it more. Old mate Haddin is probably finished. Old mate Watto has been finished for ages. And old mate Warner needs to shave off his Dirk Diggler and get serious.

  83. E.regnans says

    Do you reckon JM Anderson would be running on the pitch if England were due to bat 4th? #rulestretcher

  84. E.regnans says

    And whacko- MM Ali bowls to JM Anderson’s (illegal) foot marks at DA Warner’s off stump.

  85. E.regnans says

    A win not beyond Australia at lunch. Survive JM Anderson & SC Broad’s Dire Straits routine; score from the rest.

  86. E.regnans says

    Looking a bit beyond Austtalia shortly after lunch.
    Survival v SC Broad not achieved.

    Why not bat outside the crease to combat this outrageous swing?

  87. E.regnans says

    I’ve been set straight on my JM Anderson footmarks mischief.
    Greg Baum says: “@e_regnans Actually, it was the other end, I have to say.”
    Sorry JMA. Bowling superbly.

  88. E.regnans says

    4/9 from last 36 balls.
    It’s a marvellous display of controlled swing bowling, it really is.
    Have to admire the craft.

  89. ER, what’s the best Cardiff weather/rain radar site? Have not been sated by Google search.

  90. E.regnans says

    UK Met Office

    They’ll have searchable city forecasts with almost hourly forecasts. Radar too.

    Maybe more appropriate to dial a miracle-worker.

    Deplorable lack of application and nous for 4 days.

  91. Rick Kane says

    I can tell you it’s raining in my heart (he says a little too melodramatically)

  92. Rick Kane says

    Watto talking to Johnson while waiting for the third umpire review: you can literally hear him mouth the word fark. And with that he’s gone. Sadly more Omo than Osmocote.

  93. Spotlight should also be on the skipper.

  94. crankypete says

    Maxwell. MMarsh. Nevill. Cummins. Coming on down…

  95. crankypete says

    what’s with Clarke not bowling any of the part-time spinners? bizarro?!!

  96. Rick Kane says

    On a scale of one to Shane Warne (one being relatively benign and SW being grotesque, bizarre, disturbing and unreconstructed) how bad/sad is the Warney Marshalls battery ad?

  97. Rick Kane says

    That’s it, the end of the first Test in picturesque Cardiff. Well done England, our arch enemy. Australia, WTF! We barely walked the walk … talk the talk? Not so much!

  98. Peter Flynn says

    Hilarious when Watto succumbed.

    It’ll hose it down tonight.

    Brazen Beau 7th at Newmarket.

    Well done Daniel Menzel.

    Looking forward to a terrific Men’s final tomorrow.

  99. Appalling lack of application, lazy, disorganised defence, horrible game plan, very questionable tactics, and a disturbing lack of overall cohesion…………………..sorry, thought I was on the Cats v Roos thread.

  100. PF you predicted England would win the Test by 4.43pm. What was the local time when we were all out?

  101. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A pathetic arrogant performance lack of application with both bat and ball. Keeping wise Haddin ranks about number 5 and re Watto if they bought back public stoning it could be the greatest fundraiser ever

  102. Peter Flynn says


    I reckon it was about 5:15pm but can’t be sure.

    Terrific execution of plans by England.


  103. Peter Flynn says


    The rain has set in.

  104. Warner can’t see the ball! Playing for the Lords slope?

  105. Wattos dumbness must be contagious. Stupid shot Warner.

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