Unusually the game got underway at 9.48am on the fourth day to make up for the lost minutes last night. All very appropriate given the attendance of American sports marketing guru Dan Migala at this Test. Migala is the man who famously persuaded the Chicago White Sox baseball franchise to start their games at 7.11pm to attract 7-Eleven as a sponsor. Now he wants to ramp up The Big Bash, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.
“The analogy I would choose is taking a classic book and rewriting it as a screenplay to put it on the big screen,” said Migala, sounding not like the sort of man the public might find tedious while unveiling a plan based around reaching out to the public. “Cricket’s core will still be there but the Big Bash will reach a whole new audience.”
Despite the speak, Magala looks a safer bet than the last American to steamroll cricket – think more a Lalit Modi without the baggage. With American influence already prominent in England’s Premier League, it’s not inconceivable we could see Magala’s tactics employed closer to our shores soon if he successfully rejuvenates the Big Bash.
The Gabba has been a virtual sell out for three days, so it was a shame to see so many empty seats on day four just when Australia needed most support. One area of the ground has remained virtually empty all match – a large area reserved as a perk for those with membership of the Brisbane Lions AFL team, who also play at the stadium.
Keen observers of Sky’s slow-motion replays may have noticed that the stickers on Andrew Strauss’s bat have a pretty retro look to them. The bat is part of Gray Nicolls’s new Legend range that Strauss has been using on this tour, and are reminiscent of those used by that other Ashes-winning skipper Mike Brearley back in the 80s.
Beware back-pack owners, The Gabba is no place for you. No bags with more than one zip are allowed inside the stadium, but are to be left stored at the gates with staff who don’t even check them. Also not allowed are “Any item regarded as offensive or which could be used as a projectile or as litter”. So that narrows that down then.
Occasionally crowds can have too much of a good thing, and so it was when a section of the Barmy Army were forced to turn to the Press Box for amusement after growing weary of Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott’s understated dominance in the final session.