Day One, win the toss Dan, just F*&%en win it.
As always before warm ups, I asked Dan what he's going to call. I already know the answer, "what I call every other time!" I'm not telling you what he calls, but he's above 50% for successful toss wins. After a 30 min delay because of a damp wicket on the block (more about that in a sec) we're out there bowling, just what we wanted to do. It's now our jobs to be good enough not to get to excited on a greenish, quickish one and keep bowling OUR lines and lengths. This can be the hardest thing to do sometimes. You get the result you want with the toss and things just don't go to plan. Nerves, form, whatever, sometimes chances like this one are missed. We started well, real well.
Overnight another storm riped through Brisbane. Parts of this state, Queensland, have been ravaged by high winds, heavy rains that have torn roofs off, brought down trees and flooded properties. It ran into my hotel window last night around 3am. Wind and rain waking me up, lightning and thunder keeping me awake. Unbelievable force, was a little bit concerned about play today after so much rain. Was told later there was 6 inches of rain over night. These winds tore off a cover from the block at the Gabba. This was the cause of the delay. The pitch next to the Test track was very, very soft. Not save enough to play on. Groundsmen out there with leaf blowers trying to hurry up the drying process from the time we arrived at the ground. Dan went out for the toss at normal time, 30 mins before kick off. It's one of those nervous times. We all want to bowl first. This toss could determine the result of the match. How, Southee and I were standing in the tunnel looking out to see who gets interviewed first on the TV coverage. If they speak to Dan first, we bowl, Ricky, we bat. Nothing happened, Dan comes walking off. Delayed start. During this time Tim, who's 19 remember, playing in his second test, comes out with a beaut. "Any danger, I'm F&*%ing shitting myself." He just wanted to know what were were doing, right now. As we all did, but kept it in and under cover a little.
Dan's back out to the middle, coin goes up, Mark Nicolas goes to Dan first. You little beauty!
Into the fourth over, Tom (Martin) and Pest (Southee) have started well. Hayden hangs is bat out at one from Pest and it takes forever to reach Rossco at 1st slip. It looks like he grabs at the ball a few times before it reaches him and then it goes in, safely. Great start, good catch. The joys of catching behind the wicket on decks with a bit of pace in them; you stand back a bit further and have a little more distance to pick up the ball and move. Then the 19 year old picks up Katich in his next over. He's on fire, and so are we. What an amazing start. First ball of Timmys 4th over and he's sitting on a hattrick after Ponting nicks a ball that climbs a bit on him to How. Another very good catch, Tims got three, we've got three!
This brought Clarke to the crease to join Hussey. And these two batted real well. Ran hard, waited for balls that were close to them to score off and were patient and left well. We toiled away for 25 odd overs with these two. They put on 73 before Hussey left one from Tom that was angling back into the lefty and Rudi agreed with our appeal and we had our breakthrough. This wicket for Chris Martin meant a lot. He'd missed the tour to Bangladesh with a dodgy hammy, and has come back strong and got success!
Symonds now out to the middle. The bad boy come good!? He certainly can change a game by himself. And was looking like doing so too after hitting Elliott for three fours in a row to finish an over. I was coming on to bowl the next one from the other end in a new spell, little bit concerned that we had just let him get away and would dominate for a while. A maiden first up to Clarke. Felling better already than I did in the first spell. Things we just starting to click. Dan brings himself on for his first bowl of the day. And then I have 'Roy' to bowl to. "Right," I thought, "I'm going to have a crack at him here." Bouncer first up, he sways. A good bouncer, good height and direction. Not adjudged to be above shoulder height, that means I still have two that I can bowl. I'm going to go again. He takes it on, and it's dropped. Oh no, have we just let this one get away. I decided to then really dig one in short, and if he wants to take it on, it's going to be real high. It was above Symonds head, he swing, connects and it heads out to the midwicket boundry. They run four, nothing wrong with that, but then Baz tries to throw the stumps down with the return through from the outfield, he misses, and so do the guys backing up. An EIGHT is scored. A what? Yes, 8 off one ball. That's what I like to consider 3 overs worth of runs. And it happened in one ball. Grrrr. I was a touch grumpy. Back to length for the next ball. He's nicked it, Baz takes it, we've got him. Joy, elation, and anger run through me. I'm not sure which one comes out first, but I tell you I celebrated that one. Almost breaking one of Baz's ribs with a huge angry hug. That was what I needed. A wicket always makes you feel better. As I write this a rather large jolt of cramp has just torn through my left hammy. I hate cramp. Anyway.... Watson, same length as Symonds, same result. Happy days!
That's a couple for me, but I'm coming to the end of my spell, starting to get a little tired. The outfield is sand based. This is great if it rains, as it just drains though. We wouldn't have been able to play today had it not been for the sand based outfield. The flip side to this, is that you are actually running on sand. And that's not easy. It really takes a toll on your legs. During this spell both my calfs just start to ping with cramp as I'm running in. Every time I take off from the ground the calf does its work, propels me forward and then just sparks up with a little tweak. I need more fluids and a rub. I finish my spell at Tea and head to the massage table for a quick calf rub. Access to these sorts of things are important.
We finish the day well, with the clouds coming in we knocked the tail over and got ourselves off the park. Jesse halting Clarkes match to a ton. Clarke has shown all our boys how to bat.
Seven without loss when play is stopped because of bad light. The end of one of the best days of cricket I have ever been a part of. Test cricket can be so much fun. Although you don't have to tell me it can bite you on the arse real quick!
Tired now, about to run a bath and soak for 20 or so mins before heading to bed.