Cricket coverage all at tea….


By Bug cricket writer Don “Crashed” Gordon-Brown.

Day-night Test cricket needs to be banned immediately. It’s spoiling my eating habits and has brought on a bad case of indigestion.

Here’s the problem. I’ve lost all faith in what the breaks in play in day-night Test matches are called any more. It’s putting me off my food.

Malcolm Knox in The Sun-Herald today writes about how Australia knocked over the Kiwi innings in Perth before “lunch” yesterday.

Knox  is an exceptional cricket scribe so I’m backing him to the hilt even though for some bizarre reason I thought the first break in a day-nighter was called tea followed by the 40-minute dinner break.

I’ll explain soon why both terms upset my tummy but I’m more than happy to back Knox  in on this: if he’s confident that for this inaugural day-nighter at Perth Stadium, the first break after two hours of play that began at 1pm local time is called “lunch”then  I say bravo!

As a humble lad raised in Queensland, lunch, dinner and tea were clearly defined. Lunch and dinner were clearly defined as the same thing, and it’s what mum called you in to eat at … eer … ahh… lunch time. Middle of the day a la table dining.

Only stuck-up southerners who had obviously emigrated from England called tea – the main meal this Queenslanders had in the evening that generally involved meat and three overcooked vegetables – dinner of all things.

So I’m happy if “lunch” is being taken just a little bit late in Perth, although I’m a little concerned as to why all those fine fit young men are having their lunch so late local West Australian time. And what did all the poor buggers eat before play started. Brunch? And quite a substantial one?

So who can I turn to clear this up once and for all? My tummy is starting to rumble.

A quick check of Wikipedia turns out to be no help at all.

It proclaims: “In Test cricket, lunch (or, in the case of day/night Test matches, dinner) will last for 40 minutes and tea for 20 minutes.

So, Wikipedia is clearly of the view that the session breaks in day-nighters are called dinner that used to be lunch, followed by tea that remains tea. This I can live with as a Sunshine State lad, but surely the esteemed Mr Knox hasn’t edged behind in a monetary lapse of concentration as he faced up to current day-night breaks-in-play terminology?

But Wikipedia, whom I would normally trust as much as Joe Burns or Travis Head getting two starts in any one innings, seems fairly confident. Who else to check with?

Firstly, you’d have more chance of stopping Steve Smith captaining Australia from slip beside Tim Paine than finding enlightenment on the Cricket Australia or Perth Stadium websites.

The latter site is keen to sell you tickets but session times – and what the breaks are called after every two hours of play – seems of little importance to them. I guess patrons don’t really care what the breaks are called when they’re chowing down on overpriced hot dogs and pies.

Who else then?

I find myself in the unfortunate position of seeking out Fox Sports online for possible clarification.

Under a heading “Why’s the tea break so long? Fans confused by Perth’s day-night session times. Here’s how it works”, an unnamed writer explains that while this trans-Tasman battle may be a day-nighter, the session times “have been tweaked”.

Yes, Fox Sports at first glance seems to thinks, like me, that the first break in a day-nighter is called tea, even though Perth calls it “lunch” and Wikipedia calls it “dinner”.

But maybe not. It’s all very hard to explain – and I hope I’m not making a meal of this. Meanwhile the tummy once again makes its presence known.

Fox Sports continues: “The advent of a day-night Test saw the 40-and 20-minute breaks flipped to accommodate the “dinner” segment of a day, which on a traditional day of Test cricket, would normally stand for lunch.”

Huh???  Is it tea or dinner or simply not cricket? Make up your minds, Fox Sports writer!

“In Perth, though, the schedule is different, with a traditional lunch break following the first session, which runs from 1.00pm local through to 3.00pm.”

Okay, it’s lunch over in the west. I’m getting a handle on this… finally. I think.

Fox Sports again: “A tea – not dinner – break follows the session session, which ends 5.40pm local time.”

Having the long break in the heat of a Perth afternoon makes sense even if Fox Sports doesn’t.

And, yes, I know. I know. Why am I taking any notice of a writer who talks about the “session session”? The guy should be sectioned.

But my childhood at least has me agreeing with the tweaking that’s gone on in Perth. Lunch, be it taken late at 3pm, is still a lunch, and tea – the meal, not the beverage – should always be enjoyed around 6pm.

I close my eyes and see mum’s delicious rissoles and three vege boiled beyond recognition in the time-honoured English way even thought she was Aussie born and bred. I put any additional tummy rumbles down to those wonderful memories.

And well done, Malcolm Knox. I never really doubted you.

I won’t feel the need to reach for the antacid until the next day-nighter somewhere else in Australia, where presumably the first break will be a mere 20 minutes for some tea that will most definitely not include three, juicy, plump rissoles and three veg because there simply won’t be enough time to enjoy it, followed by a 40-minute “dinner” break held a good four hours too late.