Blowing hot and cold
Australia are blowing their own trumpet, but the Barmy Army can't... Bumble blogs from nippy Brisbane.
Last Updated: 24/11/10 11:09am
This is not normal Brisbane weather. You wouldn't be out of place with a jumper on here.
It's hit Michael Holding hard. He's turned off all the air conditioning in his hotel room and is moaning that it's too cold. It's definitely cooler than normal out here.
I would think there's a clue to the Test match in the weather. It's been cool, overcast and very wet. The wind has been blustery and much cooler than you would usually expect in Brisbane; it's usually very wet and sultry.
The pitch always has a tinge of green and the groundsman has been saying he needed a lot more sunshine. He hasn't had that, so the suggestion is that the first Test might be a low-scoring game.
We won't know about the bowling conditions until we get going, but it's not as friendly for the batsmen as you might expect.
I haven't seen any of the England players, but from what I can gather they're in good spirits.
Australia seem a little bit undecided about who should be in their side. We all know they're nowhere near the team that they were and I fell the pressure is growing for Ricky Ponting and his players.
Australia have a fantastic record in Brisbane, but will that weigh on the shoulders of the current crop? They don't want to be the team that loses a Test match to England at The Gabba.
It's so important to put a show on in the first Test match. You're looking to get a result and both teams will be aiming for a strong first session to try to set the tone for the series.
You need to settle your nerves and get into the game. The first few hours will be crucial.
Everyone can't wait to get things going - myself included.
I got here at the weekend and the last few days have mainly consisted of sleeping and getting over the jet lag.
It's a good job I haven't had much chance to go out because the exchange rate has made things very expensive for us Brits. It's about £6.50 for a beer and about £18 for a pizza. Not good.
The Sky Sports commentary team had a full rehearsal on Wednesday, minus Shane Warne who is still in Melbourne and will be on a 6am flight to Brisbane in the morning.
DRS is being used for the first time in an Ashes Test in Australia, as is Virtual Eye - the New Zealand-based rival to Hawk Eye which is being used in this series. We're still waiting to see how well it will fit in.
Myself and Tony Greig also did a lunchtime round table with Ian Healy and Ian Chappell. We did our best to wind them up.
But the Australian pundits are still full of bravado. I watched a programme on TV with Allan Border, Brendon Julian and Mark Waugh all saying Australia are the better team and will win the series. Just as you'd expect.
However, some things do change. This country is increasingly becoming very meticulous and methodical about things. If you drop a cigarette butt you get fined 200 dollars, which is a good idea.
But sometimes I think they might go a bit too far in their attempts to be prim and proper.
I met up with the Barmy Army trumpeter on Tuesday night, who was summoned to a meeting with Cricket Australia officials and has been issued with a protocol letter determining when he can blow and when he can't.
How things change. When I played in Australia they could throw bottles and ice at you. Not long ago they put a pig on the pitch, but now this chap can't blow his trumpet!
Because the Australians like things to be right, I was particularly surprised to notice a cock-up with the sight screen at The Gabba. You see, when you turn the sight screen round, there's action pictures of three Australian players on the other side.
One of them is Doug Bollinger, who of course has been left out of the team for this Test match, but what makes it worse is this picture clearly portrays him as a right-hand bowler!
They like things to be right - but then they print pictures of their players the wrong way round!
So finally I reached my century. One hundred thousand followers on Twitter. It's been emotional.
I'm in the six figure club now. Let's move onwards and upwards. You can keep up to date with things @Bumblecricket.
Good luck staying awake everybody!
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