Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WACA Test Preview

It's noon on Wednesday December 15th, and that means I'm just 12 hours away from standing (or more likely sitting/lying) in the queue at the Member's entrance to the WACA, in anticipation of Day One of the 3rd Ashes Test, as Australia seek to prevent England from retaining the Ashes.

I'd rather be at Centurion, watching Steyn and Morkel bowl to Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. Sheer class on both sides there. However, my in-laws don't live in South Africa, and haven't travelled there for Christmas, so here I am in Perth, as ever. Truth be told, I don't mind at all. It's becoming something of a tradition - so much so that when I missed the WACA Test in 2009 (West Indies), it caused some consternation and my absence was noted on ABC radio. The global recession never made it to Perth, but when the bloke who travels 11,000 miles every year to the Test match doesn't make it, people start to wonder, apparently.

What's more, I've been pretty lucky at the WACA of late. Monty taking 5-for and Gilchrist's blazing century 4 years ago; India's first ever win in Perth including *that* spell from Ishant to Ponting in 2007; Duminy taking South Africa to victory in 2008 despite a tremendous Mitchell Johnson performance - these have all been special experiences. Hopefully Anderson, Swann and a couple of others can step up and delivery for me this weekend!

I'm also looking forward to seeing Phil Hughes in action. He's been talking a phenomenal game this week, citing Virender Sehwag as his inspiration, so at the very least I guess we'll see some excitement. Of sorts.

The pitch looks a lot greener than it has in recent years, but although it's steadily recovered some pace, it is not the WACA of old, and it's hard to see any of the medium pacers terrorizing batsmen unless Mitchell Johnson somehow gets it right on his home ground. I won't be wagering my mortgage on that though.

The Fremantle Doctor has also been making its presence felt all week. It's been the driest winter on record in Western Australia, and now we're in for a relatively cool Test match, with temperatures barely topping 30 degrees. Throw in a nice breeze, a true pitch, and one of the best sighting grounds in the world, and you've got to think that anyone who gets themselves in will have to work hard to get themselves out.

As far as my picks for the game are concerned, I think we're going to see Tim Bresnan come in for England and play the reliable stock bowler role, as well as adding a little bit of depth to the batting, as superfluous as that may appear. There will be purchase for Swann in the latter stages, and I'm really looking forward to watching him bowl live for the first time. The Aussies will be fired up, and there is everything to play for, but it's very hard to look past England taking it with a 50+ run or 4+ wicket win early on Day 5. You heard it here first.


Samir said...

Prediction: Perth test will be closer -- much closer -- than anyone has predicted. So enjoy the game!

Chintan Brahmbhatt said...

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