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  Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 08:41 GMT
Special stage for Dizzy and co

The Adelaide Test is always a very special time for anyone who has any type of affinity with the game of cricket.

While the action on the field is intensely competitive, there is a strong sense of nostalgia here.

The large marquees behind the members' grandstand buzz for five days with people socializing over bottles of champagne and jugs of cold beer.

At times I wonder whether many of the marquee dwellers are there for the cricket or simply the party. I would suggest the latter in most cases.

Jason Gillespie
'Dizzy' could have a big game at Adelaide

With such a relaxed ambience you may suggest that it would be easy to get distracted from the main purpose of our visit every year to Adelaide.

But an Ashes Test match against the old foe is enough to sharpen anyone's mind.

And come Thursday morning the glasses of bubbly and cold beer will simply be a carrot for winning the battle over the next five days.

After the first Test in Brisbane we are obviously feeling confident but at the same time cautious not to underestimate our opponent.

It was interesting watching and listening to Nasser Hussain talk on Wednesday night at the Test match dinner.

His demeanour was very relaxed despite the events of the first Test.

From all reports he was also very calm and at ease with the world at the news conference earlier in the day.

Robert Key and Rod Marsh
I have a special interest in Robert Key

This is a good sign for the England team because it is very important having the captain in an upbeat frame of mind.

From personal experience I know what having a new baby feels like and there is no greater experience to put you in a positive, happy frame of mind.

As happy as I am for Nasser and his newly-born son Joel, I hope his confidence doesn't radiate into a symbolic gesture of a big innings to welcome his son into the world.

With Jason Gilliespie likely to be fit, I would be expecting him to make a big impact on this game in front of his home crowd.

Although he didn't take a bag of wickets in the first Test I would be very surprised if there isn't a big haul just around the corner for Dizzy.

He has looked so menacing for so long that fortune must surely turn in his favour very soon.

It will be interesting to see whether the England selectors opt for Robert Key after his excellent century against the Australian A team last week in Hobart.

I have a special interest in Robert as he has been working with my batting coach and good friend 'Noddy' Holder over the last few off-seasons in Perth.

From all accounts he is potentially a very good player who looks ripe for the picking in this England Test side.

Another big battle to look out for over the next five days is the contest between the Barmy Army and the Aussie supporters.

There is a famous grass hill here and the noise that erupts from it is quite something.

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