Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Great Game

There is still no phone line at Schossadlerflug meaning that the only time I have to update the blog is during the quiet moments at work and since I'm still working on two shows simultaneously that time is proving elusive, hence the silence last week as I attempted to spin many, many plates at once. By male standards I am quite good at multi-tasking, what I do have difficulty with is changing gear in my brain from dealing with those who are in a mad panic because their project only has a few weeks to run and those who are in the quiet contemplative early stages of a project where everything seems possible and there is no rush. I have been driving myself quietly barmy over the last few weeks in try to cope with this dichotomy.

I did have a splendid Sunday though. I was fortunate enough to land a ticket to the fourth day of the England vs India test match at Lord's and though I was excited at the prospect the appalling weather had made a full day's play seem unlikely. I duly left Schossadlerflug for the 50 minute walk to the ground armed with a raincoat and umbrella in addition to my regulation cricketing panama hat to protect me from whatever elements the day could chuck my way. I also packed a tiny, modest selection of comestibles consisting of a large pork pie, 4 apples, a loaf of french bread, butter and big chunk of delicious organic cheddar. Though it was scarcely enough to keep body and soul together I decided to make the best of it.

The walk to the ground was beautiful. There was a delightful apricot coloured sunshine suffusing the streets and it was too early in the day for most people to be out and about so I had the majority of the city to myself. I past The British Museum, wandered through Fitzrovia then up Marylebone High Street onto Baker Street before walking along the underside of Regent's Park until I reached St John's Wood. There I met my chum KiwiBen and we headed into the historic ground and took our seats.

The Pavilion

Lord's was bathed in this magical light all day; I've said it before and it bears repeating, visiting Lord's is as close as I get to a religious experience. The history of the place is everywhere. The earth has soaked up nearly two hundred years of cricket, even the stones of the pavilion have been quietly absorbing the magic of the game for well over a hundred. For the day's play to then be as good as it was meant I could really ask for no more and can safely declare in hindsight that it was the best day's cricket I've ever seen.

England Batting

Both sides played superbly, there was drama and spectacle and a real ebb and flow to the teams' fortunes was evident throughout the day. From Michael Vaughan's middle stump being knocked flat by RP Singh to Kevin Pietersen's magnificent and measured century together with Matt Prior's dogged 42 that stabilised the England innings setting India an unlikely 380 for victory.

Sachin Tendulkar

Sourav Ganguly

The England bowlers were every bit as good as their Indian counterparts - there was no rubbish bowled anywhere. For a supposed second-string attack they acquitted themselves with panache and determination, never giving one of the finest batting line-ups in world cricket an easy time to score runs. The icing on the cake of the day was to see legends Rahul Dravid and especially Sachin Tendulkar bat. The ovation around the ground when the little master walked down the pavilion steps made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I've never seen anyone, not even Brian Lara, receive such reverential applause at the start of an innings. Tendulkar's tenure at the crease was brief, the magical Monty Panesar trapping him leg before wicket for 16 though not before we'd been treated to three of the sweetest boundaries it has been my privilege to witness. The day drew to a close with play being called off at 7 o'clock, Karthik and Ganguly resisting as best they could and a slightly tipsy, very happy crowd drifted through the gates and out into the evening sunshine ready for a leisurely journey home filled with some very happy memories.

Evening Over The Pavillion

Old Father Time Tells Us To Go Home

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