January 26, 2024

Second Test LIVE: Australia hunt final wickets after breaking Windies’ resistance

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Brettig: Test cricket can survive. If the Big Three want it to

Some hours before the first ball at the Gabba, word came through from New Zealand that the entire four ticketed days of Australia’s Test match in Wellington in March had sold out.

As the clock ticked towards 2pm in Brisbane, a big crowd filed in from Vulture Street and Stanley Street to the final Test of the home summer – and the first day’s cricket since the Brisbane Heat had taken out the Big Bash League.

Australian quick Josh Hazlewood appeals on day one of the Gabba Test.Credit: Getty

Irrespective of debate around using January 26 as Australia’s national day, there was no question that the day/night timeslot in Brisbane was a popular one, regardless of the lowly current status of the West Indies.

A roll-up of 23,602 was the best attendance ever for day one of a Test match against the West Indies at the Gabba. That’s more than came to see day one of the world championship showdown here in 1996.


A bigger crowd is forecast for day two, meaning the attendance for two days may well push towards 50,000 – comparable to Adelaide Oval last week and in line with healthy throngs for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests – before the remainder of the game is threatened by a cyclone.

Forgetting for a moment the provincial vagaries of staging international cricket in Perth, this summer has overall provided a strong reminder of Test cricket’s vitality in Australia, despite what was thought to be slim drawing power for Pakistan and West Indies.

At the same time, the enormous demand for tickets in New Zealand, both in Wellington and for the second Test in Christchurch, underlines the possibility of profitable Test cricket in more than the game’s three richest nations, provided the economics are balanced effectively by cricket’s leaders.

Read the full story here.


Conn: Humid conditions as the covers come off


Invasion Day protestors cause temporary Gabba lockdown

By Daniel Brettig

The Gabba was temporarily locked down as a handful of Invasion Day protestors were ejected from the ground about 70 minutes before the start of play on day two of the second Test.

A small group of protesters were visible outside the ground and a trio of them managed to get in before being ejected.

As a result, entry for other spectators was temporarily suspended while broadcasters were briefly stopped from broadcasting in the middle of the ground – per the Gabba’s security plan.

The Australian team arrived earlier than usual to avoid the protest. It took place around the same time as a major Invasion Day protest march took place in Brisbane, crossing Southbank near the Australian team hotel.


CA chair: The ‘challenges and pain’ of Australia Day

Cricket Australia chair Mike Baird has described January 26 as a day of celebration for some spectators at the Gabba, while also acknowledging the “challenges and the pain” that the day represents for Indigenous Australians.

At the end of a week in which CA chief executive Nick Hockley was in the spotlight for an awkward radio interview where he was asked about the governing body’s stance on Australia Day, Baird struck a balanced note to hospitality guests at the dinner break of the second Test against the West Indies in Brisbane.

Australian players before the start of play in Brisbane.Credit: Getty

“Can I just start by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging,” Baird told guests of the Queensland Cricket and Cricket Australia function in the Gabba Room. “As Kirsten [Pike, Queensland Cricket chair] said, it is a really important time to do that.

“Certainly on Australia Day … many will be coming here enjoying their sport, loving their sport, and obviously celebrating a great country. But we’ll also be acknowledging and understanding with our Indigenous communities, the challenges and the pain. We’ll be doing both of those things tomorrow.”


Baird did not express an opinion whether the date of Australia Day should change. But his words underscored political skill from his days as Premier of NSW, and also highlighted the difficulty of heeding all views in a debate that has only grown more febrile since the defeat of the Voice referendum last year.

CA plans to make mention of Australia Day, via a ground announcement before play on the second day, that will balance the concepts of pride and remembrance in a manner not dissimilar to Baird’s remarks.

Read the full story here.


Conn: Covers on with drizzle around


Green is allowed back in the huddle

From Cricket Australia earlier today: Cameron Green and Andrew McDonald have returned multiple negative Covid-19 tests and are clear to resume normal activities in the Test match against the West Indies in Brisbane.

Under CA protocols they had to use a spare dressing room and social distance from teammates while positive.


Poll: Who does the damage for Australia?


The forecast: It’s hot


Welcome to day two

Afternoon sports fans,

Day two of the second Test coming at you out of Brisbane – typical stinking hot Brisbane today – with the Windies punching above their weight once more.

At five for nowhere near enough yesterday it looked like we’d have a two-day Test on our hands. But circumspect, quality Test batting from Kavem Hodge (71 from 194) and Joshua de Silva (79 from 157) kept the Australians honest and the Test near enough to level pegging.

The tourists resume at 8-266 and 300 would be a fair effort, especially if they can cause concern in the evening session. Mal Conn and Dan Brettig are on the ground in Brisbane, I’m operating out of the seldom-used Crescent Head bureau and life is tough.

We’ll have the first ball at 3pm AEDT. For those that way inclined before then, Fox NRL is showing classic old NRL games – so far I’ve seen Dean Widders run 70 metres, Jason Taylor nudge over a field goal and a 36-year-old Cliff Lyons burn a defender on the outside. If that doesn’t get you in the mood then I just can’t help you.

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