Life is full of decisions

Here’s how Day One of the 1st Test of the 2002-2003 Ashes series panned out:

9:00 am I bumped into my good friend Rob Brennan down at the punt this morning. He said, “So what do reckon the go will be Dave? Win the toss and bat?”. Absolutely Rob – it’s Brisbane. Beautiful pitch, one of Australia’s openers is the best batsman in the world and playing on his home turf and the best spinner in the world is leaner and meaner than ever. Easy decision.

10:30 am (Eastern summer time): Hussain wins the toss and elects to bowl. Interesting decision. English Tabloids immediately pen their headlines for the end of play. “NASSER YOU …..” is the headline with “FOOL” or “GENIUS” to be inserted at about mid-way through the evening session.

Langer out for 32. 1/68. Simon Jones draws first blood but only after Australia gets away to a good start.

Hayden played a lusty pull shot which carried nearly all the way to the boundary but was very well intercepted by Jones. He caught the ball on the run right on the boundary. He had the presence of mind to prop, hurl the ball over his shoulder, keeping it in the field of play before tumbling over the boundary. The matter was referred to the third umpire, with most commentators expecting Hayden to be out. He was ruled not out and the one run taken stood – no four or six.

The rule reads that the fielder must control the ball (which he had clearly done) AND the player must be in control of his body – which Jones was obviously not. Which was lucky for Hayden.

Simon Jones, England’s great white hope, ruptures a knee ligament in the outfield. Will be out for 6 months.
Hayden makes 10th Test century (from 124 balls).

Hoggard drops Hayden at 1/206 off Caddick (Hayden was 102). They take 2 runs. Hayden launched a big off drive which presented a high, swirling chance at mid-off. Hoggart’s attempt to catch it resembled a movement from the Australian Ballet Company more closely than a Test cricketers attempt to catch a ball. Having completed several pirouettes and with head still spinning, the ball hit the grass. The ball may even have touched his hands on the way down.

Ponting makes his 13th Test century (from 157 balls)

Vaughan misfields allowing the ball through his legs for four.

Next over, Vaughan drops Hayden from White at 1/283 (Hayden was 138). An absolute sitter.

Next ball, Hayden hits White for four.

Key drops Hayden at 1/296 off Giles (Hayden was 148). They take 2 runs. Hayden 150. Difficult chance leaping high in the air. Saves four.

4:55 pm Australia 1/300 from 69 overs (run rate 4.34).

Ponting bowled by Giles. 123 runs (194 balls, 12 x 4, 2 x 6). 2/339.

Partnership of 271.

Close of play. Hayden 186 and Martyn 9.

With more than 360 on the board, Australia already has a respectable score. And with just two wickets down, the expectation of a belter of a track and with a demoralised England a strike bowler down, building a mammoth score seems almost certain.
When England does get a chance to bat, and that may not be until Saturday, they will need to dig deep. Capitulation in the first innings will surely mean their end in this match and probably the series. Which is a great pity. Really. I mean it.
Will Hayden pass the double hundred? Three hundred may not be on Hayden’s mind but although he was dropped three times, I’m thinking three hundred. And 186 x 2 = 372 – what a coincidence – just four more runs and….!

…………..

And now a quick quiz:
What is Matthew Hayden’s highest Test score?
Who was the last Australian to score a Test 200?
Who was the last Australian right-hander to post 200?

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