Monday, 19 May 2008

Lord's Test, England vs New Zealand 2008

Lord's Test Day 2 2008
There is no greater experience for a cricket lover than watching a Test match at the home of cricket, Lord's. Whereas watching cricket in Sydney is synonymous with sunstroke, sunburn and body odour, a day at Lord's is all picnics, boater hats and polite applause. Even when you see very little cricket because of bad light, as we did, it is still a nice day out.

Part of this may be the fact that it is quite upper class and the ground only holds around 25000 people. For the first time ever, I actually heard someone say "What-ho old man". It was a special occasion for us (my birthday), so we were happy to pay the £60 ticket price each ($AU 130 and falling...), but these were the cheapest tickets on offer. Most of the crowd were in suits, and walking to dinner through the rather exclusive St John's Wood (Kate Moss lives there), these same chaps could be seen letting their hair down with their chums at Gordon Ramsay's gastropub - you could tell as they had taken their ties off. Much of the crowd had prearranged picnic baskets containing Veuve Clicquot and the best French cheese, which they ate in the shadow of the WG Grace statue whilst on the phone to their fund manager. There is something quite wonderful about the whole upper-class-ness of it all - and something a bit wrong. The Lord's tradition of mustard-striped ties and plummy accents makes it very special, but also very out-of-reach for most of us. The class system is nowhere near dead in England!

Anyway, to the cricket, and whilst I normally think that it is a privilege to see top class cricketers in action, when the cheapest ticket on offer is £60, they can play in some poor light! I looked out the window of the restaurant at 9pm and thought to myself that I would play in the light on offer at that time, and have done, let alone how light it was when they went off countless times throughout the day. Given that the English were wearing their new bleached bright white outfits, surely the batsmen could see the red ball with that as background! The new uniforms made the kiwi creams look dirty. Apparently it is so the ECB can sell more Test shirts on the high street - white is more fashionable than cream I take it.

Lord's Test Day 2 2008
Sidebottom bowled really well, and Vettori batted with guts - until for some reason he left a straight ball that took out his middle stump. Cook and Strauss looked very comfortable against the Kiwi opening bowlers - they were very rarely troubled, so I don't know why they accepted the offer of poor light from the umpires. Given the bad light, and that Vettori cleaned up the English batting line-up the following day, it would have been great if Vettori had brought himself on a bit earlier. We may have seen more play and more action.

One interesting thing I learnt about the NZ team was about their opener Aaron Redmond, who was making his debut. His father Rodney played one test, in which he scored 107 and 56. He couldn't adapt to wearing contact lenses and retired. Aaron scored a duck...

So, even though we only saw 50-odd overs play, we read 3 newspapers, the programs, had one bottle of champagne, too many chips, a whole chicken, a bottle of dry ginger ale and a little sleep in the afternoon. A perfect day at the cricket! And certainly it's about time Lord's got some floodlights and the cricket authorities worked out how to play cricket in bad light. Pink balls, flood lights, day-night tests, it doesn't matter. Let's just get some more game-time. It was strange that the players were going off in the light they did.

You can see my photos from the day on my flickr site.

Lord's Panorama


1 comment:

bathmate said...

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