Monday, November 27, 2006

Four and a Half Days at the Gabbatoir-The Sequel

The hype has been dissipated and normality has been restored. Andrew Miller dissects the Execution in the Gabbatoir. From Cricinfo.

The Poms are Down Under and they are getting pummelled, just as they have been in every series in Australia for the past 20 years. Forget about 2005, because the locals most certainly have. The Gabba today was an empty shell of a stadium, echoing only to the defiant last stand of a re-enfranchised Barmy Army who had come, it seems, full circle. It was at this venue, in 1994-95, that their legend was born, once again in ridiculously futile circumstances.

That match, in fact, was an eerie precursor to this fixture. It featured, then as now, a woeful first delivery of the series (Phil DeFreitas's long-hop versus Steve Harmison's double-wide); a dismal first England innings (167 plays 157 - CJ McDermott 6 for 53, GD McGrath 6 for 50); a surprise Australian refusal to enforce the follow-on (Mark Taylor was the innovative captain back then); and a spirited late rally from England's batting (Hick and Thorpe added 160 for the third wicket; Collingwood and Pietersen 153 for the fourth).

And had Shane Warne not been usurped by Stuart Clark in this morning's final session, he might well have equalled or bettered the 8 for 71 he took to condemn England to defeat on that distant occasion. It's a familiar tale unfolding, and one that the Gabbatoir, to give it its worthy nickname, is fond of recounting. Australia are unbeaten at this venue since West Indies visited, at the height of their powers, in 1988-89. In the 18 Tests since then, there have now been five draws and 13 wins - four by an innings, three by 10 wickets, and the rest by margins in excess of 100 runs.

It's a record as chilling as the task that now awaits England.

The End. Cue the Dirge.

At least the beer is cold, the weather warm and sunny and although the Barmy Army Trumpeter has been banned in Adelaide, he is welcome in Melbourne and Sydney. Life goes on.


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