My Test Debut

I walked out onto the MCG pitch on a melting Boxing Day. The crowd roared on my approval as their home town hero. I breathed in the smell of the freshly mowed lawn. It smelled like diesel. My palms were sweating badly, and my bat weighed a million tons. I walked across the chequered squares while looking through the crowd. I saw a little boy. He had blond hair and was dressed in Australian colours. This reminded me of myself as a kid. My childhood dream was to play for Australia and I hoped that he could follow his dreams as well. He was cheering me on like every other member of the crowd.

I was brought back down to Earth when my batting partner called out, “Are you ready”. I replied by saying, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” We had just started to walk over the centre wicket. I was now hurrying to warm myself up as we entered the pitch. “Good luck,” my partner said with a grim smile.

I stood at the crease. Nervously I marked out my middle stump. Meanwhile the tall, brown-haired Mark Wood stood ready at the top of his run up. It was now or never. I tapped my bat down on the crease. Beads of sweat lined my forehead, I felt like throwing up. My test debut, opening the batting and facing the feared Wood!

Wood started to steam in. The crowd’s clapping was getting quicker and quicker. He released the fastest ball that I had ever seen. It came rocketing at me. It was a perfect ball. I was hesitant whether to play or not. I decided to play. Disappointment arose when I realised that I had nicked it. I hastily looked behind to see if the wicketkeeper had caught it. I saw the ball was easily pouched into the wicketkeeper’s gloves and he was happily high-fiving his teammates. Devastated, I walked off the pitch.

I could not believe I was out on my first test ball until…

I heard a roar… I turned around to see the crowd on their feet and calling my name. The umpire’s right arm was held out horizontal. That only meant one thing - a no-ball! I wasn’t out! I walked back to the pitch, relieved.

I was ready this time. Wood was steaming in again and it was another great ball. This time I knew that I should leave it. It missed the stumps by a foot and landed neatly in the wicketkeeper’s gloves yet again. My hands were shaking and it felt like it was 100 degrees! If only I could get off the mark.

The next ball was full on the stumps, but I drove it down to the boundary for four runs. The first runs in my Test Career. I felt relief wash over me. Suddenly the pressure of the last week fell off my shoulders. I could relax and find my rhythm.


23 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
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