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Welcome to Canberra, international cricket

The LEGO men. Click for more photos

Fans gather for the 3rd ODI at Manuka Oval

Fans gather for the 3rd ODI at Manuka Oval, between Australia and the West Indies. Photo: Melissa Adams

Cue the music ... bah, bah, bah, bah ...

Cue the aerial shots, the sweeping vistas, the superlatives ...

It's time for the cricket.

Oh look, there's my backyard.

Welcome to Canberra, international cricket.

As the helicopter swoops over Black Mountain like a magpie, taking in views across Parliament, the Australian War Memorial, down Anzac Parade, Channel Nine commentator Mark Nicholas lauds our fine city in its centenary year.

"It's a special day for cricket in Canberra, a special day for the people of Canberra," he says.

Fellow commentators Ian Healy, Mark Taylor and James Brayshaw join in.

The weather's beautiful, the pitch an absolute belter, the people of Canberra have spoken, they all add.

We're all wondering what picture they'll paint of our town, this television circus that follows the cricket. Will they get on the band wagon with those of us who'd like to see regular internationals here in Canberra? Let's hope so.

But early on at least Canberra is speaking for itself. The ground's 80 per cent full at the toss - a toss done with a special $5 silver coin from the Australian Mint - and the crowd's already in fine form, in fancy dress.

It's a fizzer when the first ball, from the Manuka end, is a wide from the West Indies' Kemar Roach but the Canberra crowd doesn't care. (And for the record, the other end was the Telopea Park end.)

The view from stump cam is scenic, across the old caretaker's cottage, with trees lining the back fence.

Richie Benaud is reminiscing about a match he played against the MCC, for the Prime Minister's XI, 50 years ago to the day on February 6, 1963. Sir Robert Menzies was prime minister and the Bradman Stand, full today, was unveiled to another appreciative crowd.

But back to the live action, and Mark Nicholas starts talking about the new Manuka lights and how they sparkle.

In the opening overs at least it looks like Canberra is set to do just that.

Follow the live blog from Manuka Oval

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