Steve Waugh-A Perfect Day (2003)
Featurette-Countdown To History-The Final 8 Overs
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||68:40 (Case: 70)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I've got a bit of a problem - and it's all to do with a stupid attempt by me to write myself into a place in history. You see, I attend as many sporting events as a spectator as I can, so that if something really amazing happens and is captured for all eternity on television I will always be able to say "I Was There On That Day, when so and so happened". I've seen a couple of classic moments; a Test Match Hat-Trick and some defining moments during the Sydney Olympics are among my personal highlights. I've always wanted to be in the crowd when a moment is captured on television and played back in fifty years time. I want to say to my grandkids "that's me there in the sixth row, behind the guy with the big ears". So on Friday 3 January 2003, I was taking my seat at a major sporting event and hoping like hell something dramatic might happen. Unfortunately, I was sitting down in Perth to watch the Hopman Cup tie between two countries that I have already completely forgotten. I figured we might see some decent action, but to tell the truth it was quite boring, so I tuned my small radio that I always take to these sorts of events to the ABC and listened to the cricket. It was the second day's play of the 5th and final Ashes Test in Sydney, and England were looking the goods for the first time this summer. The 40,000 or so lucky punters that filed into the ground that morning had little idea that one of the most dramatic moments in Australian Test Cricket history was about to unfold as the day progressed, but unfold it did right before their eyes and this disc captures that moment forever. Meanwhile, I was stuck watching some rather boring tennis, with my radio pressed to one ear and my wife berating me in the other for not paying attention.
Steve Waugh, the man with the second most important job in the country, that of Australian Test Captain, was playing in what many might have considered when the match started to be his final Test Match. The man had been under immense pressure for some months about his playing future. His twin brother, Mark, had been dropped before the Ashes series started in Brisbane some two months before and the pressure was mounting on the older twin to score some runs. Patchy form leading into the last test and the unusual announcement from the national selectors that Steve only had their guaranteed support until the end of the Fifth Test fuelled speculation that Waugh's spectacular and fighting 156 match career might well be about to end. England batted first on day one and compiled a very useful 362. The usually rampaging and dominant Australian team went into day two with the unusual task of actually having to make a decent run chase. They got off to a rather bad start, losing Hayden, Ponting, and Langer in quick succession, to be 3 for 56. Damien Martyn was joined by the man of the moment, Steve Waugh. Waugh only needed sixty-nine runs to reach 10,000 test runs (only the third player to do so) and a century would also allow him to join the great Sir Donald Bradman with an Australian record twenty-nine Test centuries. Couple this with the fact that he was essentially batting for his very survival in the team, and the innings took on mythical proportions that had the purists salivating as he strode onto the wicket to a thunderous ovation. Suffice it to say, Waugh played like a man possessed and quickly passed 10,000 runs which brought another standing ovation from the sell-out crowd. As play was drawing closer to stumps, the realisation that he might actually get a century whipped the crowd into a frenzy. With his score on 95 going into the last over of the day, the stage was set for a memorable moment. Channel Nine delayed the evening news for over half an hour to keep with the coverage, and when Adam Gilchrist managed to give Waugh back the strike for the last ball of the day and the captain needed just two runs for the ton, the crowd noise was deafening. The rest, as they say, is history as Waugh smashed spinner Richard Dawson to the boundary for four runs to bring up a magical century off the very last ball of the day.
Steve Waugh - A Perfect Day captures many of the highlights of the whole Ashes series leading up to the second day of the Fifth Test, with a significant proportion of the running time dedicated to that one day. The day's play is shown in highlight form and is interspersed with the interview thoughts of the various participants and commentators involved. You will hear the intimate thoughts of Steve Waugh as he discusses what he was thinking during many of the important moments during the series, including the dramatic Steve Harmison over during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne when a migraine, a no-ball, and the noise from the Barmy Army produced a rather memorable six balls. Waugh talks candidly about his magic day in Sydney and how the script could not have been written better had he tried. Fellow batsmen Adam Gilchrist chimes in with some humorous thoughts, as does funny-man Andrew Denton. Commentators Mark Taylor and Richie Benaud add their bit, and we hear from the ever-gracious England captain Nasser Hussain. Self-confessed cricket nut, Prime Minister John Howard also adds his thoughts.
This is a lovely video transfer, benefiting immensely from the modern digital broadcast equipment that was used to capture it. It is presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced. All the cricket highlights are straight off the digital widescreen broadcast and will likely appear to be far superior quality to what those of us see as the norm. Those of us without the aid of a digital set-top box, that is. If I needed another compelling reason to fork over the cash to get one, then this is certainly it.
All the footage is sharp, detailed, clear as crystal and even more pleasing is consistently excellent throughout. The close-up interview footage is particularly impressive. You can make out every line on Richie Benaud's face that isn't hidden by make-up. There are no shadow detail problems, no grain, and no low level noise. The colours are also very nicely rendered with green being the obviously dominant shade. Richie's beige (or is it bone, ivory, off-white, or taupe?) jacket comes up especially nicely.
There are no MPEG artefacts and video artefacts are also absent. All up, this is one clean image with no problems to report.
There are no subtitles available at all on this disc, which is disappointing.
This is a single layered disc only, so there is no layer change with which to contend.
There is only one audio soundtrack on the disc, it being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at the bitrate of 320 Kb/s. It is certainly well up to the job required of it without being too flash or over-the-top. The dialogue is the important part and that provided by either the live-to-air commentators or the interview subjects is excellent, with clear and precise levels and no apparent problems.
There is a little background music to introduce the various sections. It is a sort of acoustic guitar twang and is pleasant enough, without being too obtrusive.
There is no surround nor subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
If you suffered from the same problem as I did and were unable to actually see any of the footage live, well, here is the next best thing. The last eight overs of the day from start to finish, with no edits. Running time is 33:55 minutes. Stick it on and pretend that it's January 3 all over again.
A couple of glossy and flash animated credits for the disc authors.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is not available in Region 1 and is unlikely to ever appear there. The local disc is certainly the one to buy.
So, like me, you weren't one of the lucky 40,000 that were at the SCG on January 3, 2003? Then this is the next best thing for sure. It captures all the atmosphere, the tension, the drama, and the emotion of the participants perfectly. It really was 'A Perfect Day', and this is a perfect way to record it. If you were one of the lucky few at the ground, well I'm as jealous as hell and I hope you fully appreciate what you witnessed that day. Things like this just don't happen very often.
The video quality is excellent - sharp and crystal clear 16x9 enhanced widescreen. The audio does the job required. The sole extra is perfect if you want to ever re-live the moment in full uninterrupted glory.
I just reckon Steve Waugh might watch this a few times himself, just to make sure it really did happen, even though Australia ultimately lost the match.
Recommend for all cricket fans.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|