Test Match

David Warner and Joe Burns

It didn’t seem much like summer on the first day of the Test Match between Australia and South Africa. The sky was overcast and there was no sign that the sun might appear any time soon.  In fact there had been dire predictions that up to four days of the five-day match could be washed out.

Nevertheless I decided to buy a ticket for Day One and hoped that at least part of the day would be dry. I have a 100mm-300mm zoom lens for my camera which I have hardly used and I was looking forward to trying it out.

I was lucky enough to get a ride to Hobart with a friend that morning so I was there in good time and arrived at Blundstone Arena in Bellerive before the gates opened. This is my favourite time to be at the cricket, first thing in the morning on the first day of a Test Match because you can see the two teams warming up before the formalities begin.

Blundstone Arena under a cloudy sky.
Blundstone Arena under a cloudy sky.

At the ground

It always looks rather chaotic to me. The Australian team are a tangle of arms and legs as they run, skip and do stretches in one part of the ground while the South Africans  seem to he having an enjoyable time kicking a soccer ball around in another. In the middle of the ground the ground staff hover with coverings for the wicket in case it starts to rain and nearby the Channel 9 commentators are doing their pitch report.

 

I don’t recognise many of the players. Hashim Amla is the only South African I’m sure about and even some of the newer Australian players I’m not too familiar with. Two Australian players are in the team for the first time but at least I can recognise them because they are training in their brand new baggy green caps instead of the usual baseball cap. In these situations I generally opt to take as many photos as I can knowing that I will need to edit them later and I can check then to get names of anyone I haven’t recognised.

Note*: I know this blog gets a few visitors from South Africa so please accept my apologies if I have mis-identified any South African players and feel free to correct me.

I do recognise a lot of the commentators. Most of the Channel 9 team have been working at the station for years and all of them are former players. I also spot a former South African player, Shaun Pollock, doing commentary for his national television station.

After the coin toss to see who will bat first, the ” Welcome to Country” by the local indigenous community and  the anthems play begins with Australia batting first. What a disaster that turned out to be as wickets are lost immediately with the opening batsmen getting out for one run each. In fact the whole morning is like that with  the batsmen falling instead of the expected rain.

At the lunch break the ground is filled with the Milo Into Cricket kids playing multiple games of cricket while the ground staff and their tractor also reappear in case of rain. There was a light sprinkle that sent the players off for about ten minutes but not the downpour everyone had been predicting

The Australians lasted for less than an hour after the lunch break before they were all out for 85, over half of those runs made by the Captain, Steve Smith, who ran out of partners in the end and was left unbeaten on 48. After a short break for the pitch to be rolled the South African innings commenced. The Australians who were now fielding received plenty of “advice” from the small but vocal crowd. Bellerive is a small ground and as Test Matches are not accompanied by constant rock music and other distractions it is easy to hear the hecklers. There was support too of course, whistles and cheers for the few boundaries and the usual chorus of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi.” coming mainly from the wet area where some fans had their first beer soon after 9am.

End of Day One

I took a lot of photos but by 3pm I was feeling rather cold and as I didn’t want to miss the bus home to Geeveston I left. Of course as soon as I did the Australians took four wickets but they still ended day one badly behind. On the shuttle bus that took us back to the city the consensus seemed to be that we were rubbish but everyone had enjoyed their day at the cricket anyway.

The Result

For those who want to know what happened the rest of the match went like this:

Day  One: Australia all out for 85. South Africa lose 4 wickets by close of play.

Day Two: It rained all day and there was no play whatsoever.

Day Three: South Africa regrouped and built up a big lead requiring Australia to make 241 runs just to make South Africa bat again. They are all out for 326 At the end of Day 3: Australia had lost two wickets.

Day Four: Australia was unable to make enough runs being all out for 161. South Africa won by an innings and 80 runs.

Day Five: Not required. Australian players, coaches and selectors tearing their hair out trying to work out how to improve before the next Test Match in Adelaide which starts on 24 November.

 

I took far too many photos to put in this post but if you would like to see more head over to my Flickr photo stream where I have a cricket album to see the best ones, well the ones I liked best anyway. As an exercise in photography I think it was a worthwhile day. I got used to handling my big lens and most of the photos in this post were taken with it on maximum distance. I cropped most of them and in most cases the results were acceptable. It was also a good opportunity to practice sports photography. I found that I could focus and press the shutter faster. Some photos were too blurry to be useful but as I took over a hundred during the course of the day I did expect that some would be no good. I probably missed more close up shots because I didn’t feel comfortable taking a photo if the person was looking at me. Allyson is much better at that type of photography than I am. To end this post I’m going to share a few more of the photos that she took at the Michael Clarke book signing the day before the Test Match began.

Author: Taswegian1957

Born in England in 1957 my family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. David passed away in 2015 and I'm here on my own now but I have Cindy the dog and Polly the cat to keep me company. I currently co-write two Wordpress blogswith my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and a "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania.

11 thoughts on “Test Match”

  1. I’m not here to comment on the sport as I don’t know anything about it, but I love your images. It’s great that you could use your 300mm lens that day and I am impressed by the results even if it was cloudy. But I am also impressed by the first photo in your post, it’s a nice wide photo and the stadium looks so great in your picture 🙂 Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I see it the same with my 70-300mm, it’s doing the job but of course I would like to try out a prime lens too. On the other side I must admit that it’s nice to find the subject by zooming from wide to long, that’s something we wouldn’t be able to do with a prime lens 😉 It’s not professional what we do, it’s a hobby where we try to find out what we can do with what we have, in the results are good.

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      2. That is true and on this occasion I was changing rapidly from taking photos of the players on the field to more close up views of the commentators as they passed me on the way to the media centre. I would not have had time to change lenses so the zoom was perfect.

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      3. This is actually something I wondered while researching about prime lenses on YouTube. I asked myself if I ever get used to a prime lens. Zomming in and out was especially helpful when I shot bird photos, and in many cases I wouldn’t have shot a photo at all if I wouldn’t have been able to zoom. I actually tried this after researching, I had my lens set to 300mm and tried to use it for an hour, I missed a lot of shots. Spotting the bird on the frame at 70mm and zooming to 300mm to take the actual shot is such a great technique, I really would miss it with a prime lens 😀

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      4. Of course a professional would have multiple cameras with different lenses attached I expect or perhaps photos would be planned in groups eg. first hour will be candids and close ups and second will be action shots. This would probably work for something like sports photography but birds would be less cooperative. 🙂

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      5. That’s true, I sometimes watch soccer, especially if Germany plays, and some of the photographers look like christmas trees, with several cameras strapped to the shoulder. Others are just lying on the ground with their super long primes that cost as much as a car, like military snipers basically (laugh). I think they gain the experience to use these prime lenses, or as you said, they are probably not working alone and spam shots from different angles. I’d be interested to see a “behind the scene” documentary to learn how they work during sport events.

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      6. Yes I would as well. As a side note members of the public are not allowed to take lenses over 300mm into cricket matches. I assumed they probably meant prime lenses but as I had my standard lens on when I went through security before entering the guard was either uninterested or didn’t notice the big zoom in the camera bag.I certainly was not going to mention it.

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      7. I think it’s the same here, but depends. It’s three years ago since I’ve been in the Hamburg soccer arena. But back then I watched HSV playing versus Bayern München and remember a sign about photography that listed what to do and what not. But I didn’t own a DSLR anyway at that time. But it seemed they had rules too.

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  2. Your post today was wonderful even though I have no idea what a Test Match is. The interchange with Dennis in the comments section was useful; I want to do photography as a hobby, and I want to learn more. Your post has been a learning experience, and I thank you for it. What is a prime lens?

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    1. Hi Carol a prime lens is a lens that only has one focal length eg 300mm as opposed to a zoom which has a range of lengths is the simplest way I can explain it. Modern zoom lenses are very good but a lot of professionals and serious amateurs like the prime lenses for being faster and sharper. Dennis has some great photos on his blog and loves to share his photography ideas as do several of the other blogs I follow.

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