Gabba loses fear factor
Composed knock ... Hashim Amla makes short work of the Australian attack during the opening day of the first Test at the Gabba on Friday. South Africa's No.3 was 90 not out at stumps. Photo: AFP
The myth of the green Gabba monster grows fangs before each Brisbane Test, and the build-up to this series-opener against South Africa has been no different.
The myth was all the more seductive this year with the best fast-bowling attack in the world, and a pack of exciting, confident Australian quicks hell-bent on matching them.
In the end, Michael Clarke resisted the urge to select four fast men and stuck with the spin of Nathan Lyon ahead of the left-arm pace variety of Mitchell Starc. The Proteas, though, broke with tradition and added a fourth seamer, Rory Kleinveldt, to the fancied trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, leaving leg-spinner Imran Tahir on the sidelines. By the time the first session had elapsed, with Hashim Amla looking completely unperturbed, it was clear this Gabba Test pitch was not the hissing, spitting green monster it was cracked up to be.