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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 17:06 GMT
Inside view: Brisbane
Stuart Law
Stuart Law
Australia and Queensland batsman, now at Lancashire

In Test matches at the Gabba, you should usually bat first if you win the toss but for first-class cricket it's the other way around because of the pitches used.

The toss at Brisbane in 2002
Hussain surprised many by opting to bowl first in 2002

So why did Nasser Hussain choose to bowl first when he won the toss for England in 2002? I can let you have the inside story.

I was talking to Andrew Flintoff in the tunnel at Allan Border Field, Queensland's home away from the Gabba, before the Test match when Nasser came up and asked me: "If you won the toss what would you do?"

I was captain at Queensland at the time and said: "If I win the toss at the Gabba I'd bowl".

We'd had a fall-out during our time together at Essex and he was very arrogant in the way he asked me.

Never one to back down from a fight, I just said that's what I would do - he never specified Test or first-class cricket.

It was funny stitching him up, I quite enjoyed that!

That Gabba wicket in 2002 was one of those pitches where you look at it and see a lot of green grass, it's rock-hard and you think it has got to be good to bowl on.

Stuart Law in action for Queensland
If the weather is humid in Brisbane, the ball will swing

But if the bowlers don't bowl in exactly the right place all the time you'll go around the park.

The Gabba is probably the quickest and bounciest pitch in Australia now. It's a very fast, level outfield, it is like a billiard table over the outfield.

A lot of that is due to the groundsman Kevin Mitchell Jr, who I think produces the best cricket wickets anywhere in the world.

He's got the sunshine and regrowth in Brisbane, so he should have no excuses but to produce real good pitches.

If he gets it right, on its day it is like glass, the ball glides through.

Guys like Flintoff and Steve Harmison will look forward to bowling on it as much as Kevin Pietersen will batting on it.

The guys who have batted at Old Trafford, which is probably the fastest pitch in England, should be ready for batting anywhere in Australia.

It won't be hot and humid in November, the rainy season is usually in January.

If the weather is humid in Brisbane, the ball will swing. But the Kookaburra ball will usually swing for the first 20 overs at the most.

After that it's a hard slog. That's when line and length and consistency takes over.

Stuart Law was speaking to Pranav Soneji.

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SEE ALSO
Ashes venues - Brisbane
27 Oct 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes coverage 2006/07
01 Nov 06 |  The Ashes
BBC Ashes archive
02 Nov 06 |  Classic Ashes
England in Australia 2006/07
15 Dec 05 |  Future tour dates


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