Watching Mitchell Johnson tear through the English batting line up in their first innings at the Adelaide Oval was one of the most exciting sporting moments I’ve experienced in a long time. My cricket side was batting and I had just played one of the worst innings of my life, yet I kept creeping back into the rooms to see what was happening.
It was extraordinary to see a bowler seemingly scaring opposition batsmen out at Test level. Seeing Stuart Broad standing next to his off stump while his leg stump sat back at an unflattering angle brought particular delight. Cricket is once again a talking point, with people happy to discuss the sport and, most importantly, looking forward to watching the next match.
The last time I remember so many people being all abuzz over what they were seeing I was, interestingly, watching a Test match at the exact same venue. It was after my final match of the 2006 calendar year, and I stayed back at my cricket club for our Christmas Party. Happily, the Perth Test Match was on the TV, and a rather talented wicketkeeper-batsman named Adam Gilchrist was playing the most spectacular innings of his life.
My poor brother Dave was doing the duties behind the bar and I remember him craning his neck to try to see what all the cheering and laughing was about. What was going on was pretty simple, or at least it was for Gilly, as he smashed a century from only 57 balls. The cheering and laughing was about the poor ol’ Poms getting repeatedly lifted over the mid-wicket boundary.