The cheapest of suits

2nd Ashes Test

Adelaide Oval

by Steve Ingham

Day 2

People the world over can’t speak highly enough of the Adelaide Oval, so myself and 11 friends headed off across the border and back the 20 years and 30 minute time difference to find out just how good this ground really is.

After having spent Day 1 standing on our toes jostling for a position to see any of the cricket, and being stuck in the middle of the Barmy Army when we were 3/2, we were determined to make Day 2 our day, hopefully Australia’s as well.

 

At 8am we had 11 chairs lined up across the top of the hill at the River End. As it turned out, $5.74 a chair had never been better spent. The next 2 and a half hours we discussed, dissected and predicted, all with a Hot Dog, Calippo and Farmers Union for breakfast.

By the time the players made their way on to the field, this picturesque oval was completely full. Not a blade of grass at either end was full, the old scoreboard and tree back drop in front of the Barmy Army looking every bit as good as described by commentators for decades.

As Doug the Rug charged in, we mused as to whether he used shampoo on his head or got his carpet steam cleaned. Two balls later, it was long forgotten as The Rug had knocked over England’s Captain (STRAUSS… OUT!) and despite only having 240-odd to defend, they were 1/1 and memories of the second innings in Brisbane had almost disappeared.

For the next 30 mins, as the sun warmed up, the shade line in front of us crept closer and closer towards us, meaning as hot as it was now, it was only going to get hotter, we thought the power of the Baggy Green was back! Despite X-Man (or X-Pac depending on what he was doing) missing a run out, and Huss dropping Trott, we were still quite chipper about getting this middle order in quickly.

Unfortunately for us, Alistair Cook had other ideas. He was once again so patient and such a fine example of how to bat in a test match. With players so fluent in shot options and innovations from the advances in the shorter versions of the sport, Cook is still a traditional test match batsman. He waits and waits and plays his shots along the carpet. Backing up from his majestic 230 not out in Brisbane, he was in no hurry here and making our bowlers work and work and work, and to be honest, for the rest of the first session they don’t look like getting close.

At a much needed Lunch (Beer) Break, the Poms were 1/90 and Cook and Trott both now set in the 30’s. Suddenly, the Gabba memories were back and all anyone could talk about. By the resumption of play, the shade had well and truly gone, along with the confidence of any in our touring group. We’d seen this story, and how it plays out only a week earlier! As Ponting went defensive and even went the bodyline-style 3 men on the fence lets-bounce-them-out tactic, we sat there and wondered if we could do better ourselves. It seems everyone still at the ground is of an English persuasion and they aren’t afraid to remind us how bad we have suddenly become!

As Cook and Trott both go past their half centuries, de ja vu has well and truly set in on the hill until whilst off for some much needed refreshments, relief at last, Cook is out! But wait, he refers instantly, clearly not out. That hurts more. To tease a starving man by giving him a nice juicy steak, and taking it out of his mouth before finished chewing. This review system is horrible when it doesn’t go your way!

The next hour is some of the more disappointing cricket Australia have played in years, until finally Ryan Harris breaks through with removing Trott, allowing us the joy of (another South African) Kevin Pieterson to the crease. He is cheered or booed by all 36000 in the stadium and seems to love every second of it. Doherty immediately comes into the attack and is immediately attacked by KP. That was the hope and plan, and it works, he gets spanked all over the place.

Next milestones in us applying sunscreen for the 75th time in the day, followed by Beer #50, Hot Dog #10 & annoying Barmy Army Song #1000585. Its also been about 8 years since Alistair Cook when out we think.

There is no doubt that at the much needed stumps, the English have well and truly outplayed us. A 72 run lead with 8 wickets still in the shed, KP finding form sitting close to a ton, and the in-conquerable Cook 136* and building on that amazing form of Brisbane. He has now hit 438 runs this series in 3 hits and looks like he has plenty more in him tomorrow. Well done Poms, as much as it hurts to say, you are all over the Aussies like the cheapest of suits.

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