Tough day at the Adelaide Oval

Adelaide Test – day one – December 3, 2010

By Peter Argent

It had been a tough day, in the early morning Qatar destroyed an Australian world cup 2022 soccer dream.

There had been issues including Kevin Peitersen’s “Tweet” gate, some texts that inferred when Mitchell Johnson was dropped, he wasn’t told face-to-face.

Interesting exchanges went on at the press conference with Ricky Ponting, when he suggested “the press should ask Andrew Hilditch why Johnson was dropped.”

On top of that local legend Tony “Pilko” Pilkington retired on the eve of the game after four decades of radio, manly in Adelaide, where he dominated the morning timeslot.

Still, there is something magical about the first day of an Adelaide test – especially if it’s an Ashes encounter.

It is more that a game of cricket for many; it’s a major event for the South Australian sporting community.

As expected you run into a myriad of friends and acquaintances going to, around the updated coliseum and (usually after a couple of beverages) leaving the venue.

Many people you only see during this annual social interlude.

With the wet winter in this overgrown country town (that’s a positive in the writer’s eyes), many streets are full of vibrant purple Jacaranda trees – the new grandstand has re-invigorated the members’ area at the place of worship – the famed home of game in the city of churches is in pristine condition.

The Footy Alamanac was launched at the Adelaide Lutheran Football Club last night (Thursday December 2), this year minus Paul Kelly, but with cricket writing luminary Gideon Haigh and historian Bernard Whimpress in attendance.

There is much discussion about the make-up of the men wearing the “baggy green” for this contest. It has been common knowledge that Mitchell Johnson was dropped from the final 12 more than 24 hours before the match started.

Northern suburbs lad Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger had been rumoured to start, especially as my cricketing comrades from the eastern states, Andre and Steve saw Taswegian Ben Hilfenhaus at the Sebel Hotel, (across from the from the Intercontinental where the cricketers were staying at on North Terrace in the CBD ) drinking with his lady, looking despondent.

The pair of them has seen the first couple of days in Brisbane, giving out many insightful comments.

Actually this is Andre’s third successive Ashes test, after spending a couple of interesting days at the Oval (but don’t ask him about the corporate package he purchased).

After a hearty breakfast in Hindley Street, this trio of cricketing devotees made the walk through the parklands, down King William Road, past the entertainment centre to the Mecca of leather and willow in South Australia.

On top of everything else, Jeff Thompson or “Thommo” as the Australian cricketer fraternity call him, called the current national bowling attack the worst he’s seen in 30 years.

The Adelaide pitch had that typical flat straw look to it, which suggested runs, runs, runs…..

The start was nothing short of dramatic!

The Western  Australian who now wears the ‘Baggy blue” was run out from the fourth ball of the day, in a poor piece of running between wicket, which would have been unacceptable at under 14s cricket where both batsmen were at fault and Simon Katich was ball watching.

Following this diamond duck, the very next ball, in his 150th test Ricky Ponting followed Steve Waugh’s example and made a golden duck, caught at second slip but a Jimmy Anderson outswinger.

When an unfit looking Michael Clarke pushed a ball to backward square leg for a single the scoreboard read Australian 2 wickets for 1 run.

This must rate with the most dynamic first over in a test in living memory!

Then, to top off that, in a dominant display by Anderson he has Clarke in no man’s land on the crease, neither going forward nor back, being also caught by Swann.

We’re now 3/2 from three overs.

As expected the “Baggy Greens” via Mr Cricket and his protégée got the home team to lunch at 3/94.

After passing his half century and smashing a big six off Swann into the members, Watson became Anderson’s third victim just after the lunch break, while we were enjoying a Watervale Riesling at Jolly’s Boathouse on the picturesque Torrens.

North did something worse than being dismissed early, being sent packing for 26 after getting a start and facing 93 deliveries.

It was a limp dismissal.

Mike Hussey played with his usual passion and endeavour, before being beaten by an excellent delivery by Graeme Swann, seven short of what would have been a well compiled century.

Hadden batted with the same intent as he did in the first test, but in his return game, Ryan Harris endured a suspect first ball, lbw decision.

The last five wickets fell for 38 runs as the brittleness of the Aussies’ tail was exposed.

In all, the 245 from 87 overs on the Adelaide Oval road wasn’t good enough against the old enemy……

From the one over from the Northern Jets all rounder and premiership player Harris, England was 0/1 at stumps.

The near capacity crowds of 38, 615 patrons was the biggest since bodyline.

A couple pieces of opinion to ponder!

1.     Cameron White is generally regarded as the best captain in Australia – they need to find a place for him in the national side, as he is this country’s best leader going forward!

2.     From what was seen in the Adelaide nets, the real concern is how are we ever going to take 20 wickets in a test match.

3.     The umpire referral system in being incorrectly used but both sides.


  1. “…enjoying a Watervale Riesling at Jolly’s Boathouse on the picturesque Torrens.”

    Great to see you upholding the Adelaide stereotype, Peter!

    What do you think a “par” score would have been? What should England be aiming at on this wicket?

  2. John Butler says

    England will be thinking 400 plus.

    35 degrees. Aussies feeling the pinch already. A pace attack of 3 first change bowlers. A spinner in his 2nd test.

    The selectors may be pondering the axe, but they should start with themselves. This situation has been 18 months in the making.

    We’re going to need a lot of luck, and large doses of English incompetence.

  3. Peter – point 2 above near the end of your article – spot on. The Poms aren’t that good, we’re just continually letting them off the hook.

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