Friday, 4 December 2009

Now for Adelaide

I think the first game of serious cricket that I watched live was at the Adelaide Oval. The NSW team happened to be in Adelaide at the same time as my family, and somehow my dad was convinced to take it along. I have memories of sitting in the stand there as a seven year old as the South Australians put up a big score, dreaming of working in the marvelous manual scoreboard. (Looking back, it turns out the main contributor, with 168, was a certain Andrew Hilditch.)

I'd heard the recent announcements of plans for the Adelaide Oval, which is definitely welcome news in various ways for the different winter sports, but I hadn't realised that work had already begun. It certainly is a change to a ground that has changed less since I was young than many others.

That first match wasn't a great one for the bowlers, although Tim May did pick up 7 wickets in the NSW innings. As far as the discussion on Test pitches goes, I think it's important that they have something for bowlers, but one of the great things about cricket is variety of different pitches and conditions. Cricinfo looks at recent Tests at Adelaide and calls it a "result-oriented batting paradise", which is an intriguing phrase. It's true that if we were forced to have identical pitches for each match, I might choose Adelaide as the prototype, but I'm glad to enjoy quite a few departures from its standard.

In any case, it is a fine day in Adelaide and it's great to have a day off for the first day of the Test. It takes more than negative press about a big win by a less-than-dominant side to take away my anticipation! I had a bit of a scare when Cricinfo had the starting time incorrect, but I settled down wondering whether the youngster Barath would continue his form, and whether Bollinger would live up to his claims.

Bollinger, with the help of some great catching, has started with two scalps, including Barath. Three more might well back up the loud bowler's words, although the journalist's question about "keeping his foot on the throat" of the batsmen fits better with the overall narrative of the series than to the nature of his battle with Gayle. Now the focus is on the rest of the batting order, and rightly so, since even Sehwag would be restricted if he received only the support Barath had in Brisbane. The Windies would welcome the return of Sarwan, and hope that Chanderpaul, Bravo and co. are a bit more prepared after another week.

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