England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 3rd day

Day of mixed emotions for Indian fans

Saturday at Lord's was marked in diaries months in advance by die-hard Indian fans. It was a big day for them, some of whom had traversed continents to witness a possible historic moment - Tendulkar's 100th century

Nagraj Gollapudi at Lord's

July 23, 2011

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar steadied India after the openers fell, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 3rd day, July 23, 2011
Indian fans turned out to watch the old firm at work © AFP
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Players/Officials: Rahul Dravid | Sachin Tendulkar
Series/Tournaments: India tour of England
Teams: England | India

The little mobile shop of cricket365, the betting agency, was a beehive of activity on Saturday morning. Fans streamed in even two hours before the scheduled 11 am start and many stopped to read the white board listing the odds. The most obvious one was at the top: Sachin Tendulkar's century fetched odds of 4/1 while Rahul Dravid, who like Tendulkar was without a hundred at Lord's, was at 6/1.

As both men came together to bat the margins reduced with Tendulkar going at 6/4 and Dravid at 6/5. Still the shop kept attracting many fans. According to a cricket365 official about 200 Indian fans placed bets on the duo's maiden centuries at the home of cricket. "I can say there was a substantial amount of money that was bet," the official said, without revealing figures.

Saturday at Lord's was marked in diaries months in advance by committed fans. It was a big day; both in the context of the match as well as for thousands of Indian fans, some of whom had traversed continents to witness a possible historic moment - Tendulkar's hundredth century. Some did not mind paying large sums of money - enough for a return air ticket to India - just to witness a day's play. Some were first-timers, excited to be part of the occasion.

Despite the first four days being sold out in advance, the MCC's ticketing office got a lot of queries but could sell only about 200 tickets that had been returned. Three quarters of those went to Indian fans who shelled out anywhere between £30 and £85 per ticket.

Just as the large pints that overflowed across this historic venue, the Indian fans' emotions, too, ebbed and flowed as they anticipated something special from the trinity of Tendulkar, Dravid and VVS Laxman, playing together in a Lord's Test for probably the final time.

Last year Suresh Shankar, a 47-year-old entrepreneur, sold his business to IBM. One of the first decisions he made then was to follow important India cricket tours. He watched most of India's big matches in the World Cup earlier this year, including the tied match in Bangalore against England and the final in Mumbai.

This time he was in England only for the Lord's Test. "It is the most significant moment in India's cricket history," he said, talking about the batting trio's last outing at the ground. "It is the passing of values, sportsmanship and their ability," he said when asked what prompted him to make the trip.

At 12:28 hrs when Tendulkar walked out to a standing ovation, Shankar couldn't stop himself from sending his wife a message. "When 25,000 people stood up to cheer one man, it was a goosebump moment. I had to tell her that," he said. For Shankar and millions of others, Tendulkar is the greatest sportsman across all sports; big money then becomes a small matter.

Vikas Manoor, a 29-year-old software engineer, travelled to watch the Tendulkar-Dravid combine and bought a ticket only for Saturday. He arrive from Edinburgh on Friday night and paid a whopping £250 for a ticket in the Mound Stand, where the original price was £80. "I didn't mind that. I also paid £120 for my travel, but I wanted to always see Dravid and Sachin bat together," Manoor said. "I have always been attracted to Sachin. For 22 years he has done things consistently. I could not stop myself from being here."

Sumira Chaudhri, a Canadian-Indian lawyer, was travelling through Europe in celebration of being called to the bar in Toronto, . She got hooked on Indian cricket after following the Indian team's triumph at the World Cup. "When I heard that India were playing in England I decided to come over from my trip to Europe," she said.

She felt sad, like many, that Tendulkar failed to reach that elusive hundred. "I was hoping Sachin would get it. But then I am happy Dravid got it. He is the best Test player," she said with excitement.

Gnanamurthy Kugan, a heart surgeon, was animatedly listening to his 12-year-old son Kavin, who was recalling his observations from the training session he witnessed when Sri Lanka were at Lord's earlier this summer. Kugan has been in England for 25 years and is a regular visitor to Lord's. "I am disappointed about Sachin not getting it. But it is good that Dravid has," he said while Kavin listened intently.

Rajesh Marwah has been coming to Lord's since 1986. Originally from the north Indian town of Ludhiana in Punjab, Marwah now lives in the Hounslow suburb of London and is in the business of household removals. "Brown man with a van," Marwah, head covered in a plain, sky-blue Lord's bandana and wearing an India ODI T-shirt, said when I asked him what he did for a living.

By the time I met Marwah again, after tea, Tendulkar had already departed. But Marwah was not disappointed. "If Tendulkar starts slow, he would never get to his landmark and I knew that. I could sense his pressure, which was more about India responding well to England's big total," he said with an assured tone. "I am not worried. I know he will make the century in Edgbaston."

An hour after the day's play, about 50 Indian fans gathered at the Nursery End of the ground. As Dravid made his way to the media conference with a smiling face, they rushed to get an autograph. One person caught the eye: a middle-aged woman wearing a saree. She was at the back of the charging fans' brigade and halfway through her stride, she gave up. But she had a smile on her face, happy at having caught a glimpse of Dravid in person.

For the fan, it is an emotional journey full of anticipation, patience, pitfalls and hardships, passion and dreams. And on days like these, for fan and player alike, some dreams get fulfilled and some don't.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 25, 2011, 17:44 GMT)

@zxaar, what's that amusing thing you were saying about century count? That's exactly how Dravid's Fans don't think. BTW, did you see how Sachin played with a pathetic strike-rate and couldn't even draw the match unlike how Dravid did with that brave effort in 2007? After Sachin was given a life by the umpire he scored 1 run off 40 balls before he was finally helped back to the pavilion. He is a genius. No doubt. But he is an even better choker. Did you look at his face? It was pale like a sheet. He chokes big time. Defending for long and saving is not his cup of tea. That's Dravid's forte. Neither is Sachin able to play a long innings with some tempo. Don't you think Sachin should retire because his dipping averages will get you worried ;)

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 25, 2011, 14:33 GMT)

I think Sachin should retire because he is neither able to set the tempo with a long innings nor able to save the match with a patient and long innings. He is just playing with a pathetic strike-rate to increase his average ;). I wanted him to get a hundred at Lord's but enough of this hype about 'lords' 100th 100 at Lord's.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 24, 2011, 19:21 GMT)

@zxaar, so now you've gone from praying for Dravid's failure to his retirement. Bro, isn't it your problem that you hate Dravid? Too bad that Dravid has to retire. And you think Sachin will not retire? Good for you. I agree that Dravid's conversion rate isn't the best in the business. Yes, I'll cherish this moment at Lord's for the rest of my life. Gotta feel for you ;). I pray and hope Sachin gets his hundred in the second inning. I dislike Sachin for a reason. I don't hate him. He let India down in SA in pursuit of his averages. His 50th century is the most disgraceful of all the centuries he made. He and his fans have to live with that fact well documented in the history of cricket. He screwed it up for Mumbai Indians in IPL as well. Cometh the landmark, cometh that dreaded push and jog for a single. I too want Sachin to make lots of records. He is an Indian after all. But there has to be a sense of awareness for the team's needs and honour of the country. Dravid is a class apart.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 24, 2011, 13:51 GMT)

@Mrbox, sorry for ENG missing #1 spot by chance. Unfortunately ICC never gives #1 spot by chance. Don't you think India was unlucky with Zaheer's injury and some wrong decisions? I know it's part of the game but wud ENG have scored so much if India was not unlucky? This will come into consideration when you really talk about rankings. Ishant is bowling better than Broad now. What do you say?

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 24, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

@@CrickFan82, see how Ishant is back with his confidence. It's all matter of confidence for Indian bowlers.

Posted by BHARATLIFE on (July 24, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

Oh Ishant is making every one eat their words eaaaahhhhh. HAHA . India is back , but however, if we were able to bowl well we, could expect the opposition team to do the same to us usually. So this bounce and turn, could be a pin chasing anything over 350. The only way we could atleast think of winning this is to bowl them out before tea for 150 tops....We should appreciate everyone from our team No.1 . It is not because of individuals,please let us concentrate on India's Victory.....

Posted by Mrbox on (July 24, 2011, 10:43 GMT)

England is the best test cricket team and india got that place by chance. i wish england should win it by 2-0.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 9:51 GMT)

That is what India is All about ten year ago, India depend only on one man Sachin Tendulker nothing has changed after ten years India still depends on one many...Zaheer Khan

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 7:54 GMT)

This was bound to happen.england played lanka with the same 11 and were ready for india.the indian players played the ipl and rested during the w.i tour.then they were expected to make an impact in such an important series without any match practice.well,zaheer is already out and sachin and gambhir performed poorly.if weather does not intervene england will become the no1 team at the end of this series.i won't be disappointed because england has always put test cricket on the highest pedestal.while i believe s.a is the most skilful side,i would like england to be no 1 because of their respect towards test cricket.and india had the better of batting and bowling conditions in this game and was comprehensively outplayed.so excuses like this is the 1st test is not cutting it anymore.indian players and the bcci should get their priorities right.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (July 24, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

great performance by harbhajan zero when bowling and batting lol

Posted by BHARATLIFE on (July 24, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

We want India to Win.....The players do not play for records and nor they should. Now the concentration should all be on the match, we were this close to being stripped of our No.1 status many a time, and we should stop concentrating on individuals and think , India has played well and they need a fighting finish.........That is what a true fans looks for , India retaining No.1 and winning the series......

Posted by zxaar on (July 24, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas "Blessed are the souls at Lord's who watched this top notch century from the willow of Dravid." ---- yaa this is true. Dravid does not score centuries like Tendulkar does so naturally it is better to watch, if it was tendulkar everyone is already bored of him scoring 100s. Too bad Dravid has to retire. If he could play 100 more tests he might have matched Tendulkar on century counts. Who knows.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

Rahul Dravid, the epitome of Cool, great play,we are proud of you

Posted by Kashi0127 on (July 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT)

I predict Tendulkar would not get a single hundred in this English tour. Though I personally wish he does it soon - I am sick every newpaper in India predicting on the eve of evry match that is is going to be it!

Posted by ssenthil on (July 24, 2011, 6:09 GMT)

All praising Wall, Just for a Self Assessment, Had Dravid caught the 3 chances came in to his way, had India would be in a spot of bother? NO. So prevent is better then cure and Dravid is licking his wounds with the century after he dropped 3 catches and England returned the favour once to him. His last 2 overseas centuries are came after being dropped else we won't score a century and Putting India in a worst position and scoring a century won't be last long in REAL cricket lovers mind

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

@gravitas pls stop doing this tendulkar dravid comparing things, appreciate both if one fails and other does well dont degrade te other, im saying this cos im a hardcore dravid fan, pls dont do this both r very valuable to the team they r the reason we r in this position today :) so lets appreciate both bro :) ty and wht a fine innings it was from dravid lovely stuff :) hoping hed cash in on this gud form and gud luck :) well done

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

I am an absolute fan of "The Wall'. He is really the complete Test batsman. How wonderful to watch him play. His style is so classic and will always be timeless. Never mind all the other big hitters..etc etc.. Dravid is liquid poetry !!

Posted by Chncricfan_2k0 on (July 24, 2011, 5:54 GMT)

Oh wat a player, its a treat to watch when U R on song..Dravid you really a bravehearted savior, a real figher.lets look at the stats..out of his 32 tons 31 had come for saving or winning the match for India..You are absolutely devastating for the English team.even they could have great respect for this genius of cricket.If he did not score the ton yesterday means, Im afraid to think about India's situation now.As usual Sachin always fails on big occasions, so there is no meaning of comparison between Dravid and Sachin..I expect more runs from Dravid's willow this series.!

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 5:48 GMT)

@zxaar, why are you getting sensitive about Sachin's relative failure? Both batsmen are greats but it is a little painful to keep hearing that Dravid should retire! Yesterday Dravid showed that he is right up there! The Wall will play till he feels like giving up Tests! Please savor every moment in the field that we see Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag at the batting crease. And a little less of trash talk against these batsman who would have fitted in Test Cricket in any era!

Posted by Test_Match_Fan on (July 24, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

sorry Sachin fans, but Dravid and Laxman are the greatest Test players of our times. Their centuries have all been either match winners or match savers. How many of Sachin's come in that category? I am sorry to tell you almost never has he scored a century when it mattered.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 24, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

@zxaar, let me save you from the suspense. No, no. I didn't mean any of those things. Just reminding myself and fellow bloggers that on big occassions like Series decider in Pakistan, setting the tone in Adelaide, historic series win in Windies, world cup finals and now the latest Lord's, Sachin either failed miserably or was absent. BTW, I don't wish for Sachin's failure in the second inning or throughout the tour unlike how you are praying for Dravid's failure. Gotta feel for you. ;)

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 24, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

i m really disappointed by our batsmens . except dravid and mukund no batsmen looks comfortable against english seamers . the most disappointing dismissal was of laxman , what was the need of playing that short at that time when he was not settled properly on the crease . also here in india the media is giving more importance to sachin's century than saving the match . please enough about sachin , they should focus on the test match rather than sachin.he will definitely hit century in this series (although not in lords). only rain can save india now.

Posted by duende81 on (July 24, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

By a long shot, the cricket headline i recall having read most number of times, has to be "The Wall Stands Tall".

Posted by landl47 on (July 24, 2011, 4:17 GMT)

Although of course Indian fans were happy to see Dravid's hundred, wouldn't their primary emotion be shock and distress at how thoroughly England have outplayed their team so far? This is not a lively, bouncy wicket, so no excuse there. They simply couldn't handle the English bowlers on a flat track. I rated this and the Oval games as India's best chance of getting a draw. Now it looks as though they'll have to work awfully hard to escape Lord's without a loss.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 24, 2011, 3:46 GMT)

@CrickFan82, I definitely agree with your one point "character is very important" and India has that. After watching ENG bowling today I felt nothing great about their bowling except Broad. Broad's bowling was very good. Since Indiana are getting used to ENG conditions second innings should be bit different. It's better everyone stops Sachin 100th 100 mania.

Posted by coolahamed on (July 24, 2011, 3:28 GMT)

India will struggle definetely in other matches as well...sRI LANKANS DONE BETTER...

Posted by AnotherCricketFan on (July 24, 2011, 3:07 GMT)

@zx - The topic of Sachin and his lack-of-contribution towards India's meaningful WINS have been dissected and discussed to death. Passionate fans can mold the data to show that without his innings India would not have fared well as do Saurav's fans on Saurav's contribution to all the great Indian ODI wins.

But the truth is, one may disagree, it has been widely known that Sachin has not contributed to victory as folks like Sehwag, Dhoni, Raina and even Yuvraj have.

But stat will give him the top spot in the most runs, most centuries but on the quality measurement - if one such can be done by Rajesh (did I get the name right) one surely feels that Sachin will not fare on the top.

Whereas Rahul will! And I am not his fan. I love to watch Sehwag and surprisingly enjoy watching Dhoni / Raina.

Posted by SLsupport on (July 24, 2011, 2:55 GMT)

I think more indians were commenting on Eng vs Sl series.They must have got sick of their team.

Posted by zxaar on (July 24, 2011, 2:27 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas "I can imagine the pain of Sachin fans for Sachin failing again on a big occassion." ---- what do you mean by failure at big occasion. Do you mean like averaging 56 in ODI finals or do you mean it to be top scorer or second best scorer in 3 of the world cups he has played. What way Dravid has done better than Tendulkar on these so called big occasions? This is just a match. Dravid will fail in next and tendulkar would score a ton. Off course for you that would be a normal match because dravid failed.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 24, 2011, 2:23 GMT)

Blessed are the souls at Lord's who watched this top notch century from the willow of Dravid. What a pity! He has to retire one day! Thank you Dravid for treating my eyes with this knock and at the sametime for saving India from the ignominy of a follow-on.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 1:29 GMT)

Enough about Tendulkar ! Lets just focus on the cricket, please !

Posted by CrickFan82 on (July 24, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

India could have played better. English batsmen were too boring to watch in their first innings, leaving a lot balls but ok they did their job well. India didnt really play well. only 2 results possible in this match, draw or a India loose. I dont see England loosing. But this Indian team is better than the English or the Australian team. they have a strong heart and character.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

Indians Play well in india and in England they cannot cope with bouncy pitches.Rahul is technically a very sound batsmen and a treat tyo watch and so is sachin.

Posted by Sandeep.Oza on (July 24, 2011, 0:32 GMT)

One of the finest cricketers of our era... the way they play, the values that they have incultated and most important the respect for cricket and playing for India its just we learn and cant stop admiring them... thank hevans to be born in the era of such a great team...

Posted by Praxis on (July 23, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

That was such a fine innings from Dravid, one of the last remaining true test batsmen. No need to create any hype about him, let everyone be busy waiting for Tendulkar's 100th ton and this man will keep digging his team out of trouble. Can't see anyone replace him in the near future.

Posted by shilsen on (July 23, 2011, 23:20 GMT)

As someone who's an Indian fan but primarily thinks of himself as a fan of good cricket, I enjoyed myself tremendously today, and actually got almost exactly what I was expecting to see. Some spectacular shots but also a lot of playing & missing from Sachin (after the first over to him, I expected him to be gone at any time); one of Dravid's innumerable invaluable innings where he fought through a tough position with grit, dedication and, also, a number of attractive strokes; some solid pace and spin from the English team; and India coming a cropper when facing good quality seam/swing/spin early in a tour. This has set up the rest of the test and, potentially, the series very nicely.

Posted by byrappagopinath on (July 23, 2011, 22:38 GMT)

Wall(As Rahul Dravid is called) is really a "Great Wall" of India. But for his unbeaten CENTURY, India would have been forced to follow on! This is one of his best innings and a crucial one too.The way he played the England bowlers need to be emulated by other members of the Indian team. The Wall is still very strong even after playing for 15 years!! At the age of 38 years the Wall has proved to the Cricketing World that the ability of playing quality Cricket is not affected by ageing. Rahul Dravid's contribution to Indian Cricket is Invaluable!!!His name will be written in the board of Visiting team's Dressing Room in Lord's for scoring a Century. "Long Live Wall"!

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 23, 2011, 22:24 GMT)

Not everything in cricket needs to be about Tendulkar.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (July 23, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

I can imagine the pain of Sachin fans for Sachin failing again on a big occassion. But hey, that's life. You've got to live with that. Let's hope Sachin gets it in the second inning and helps India in saving or winning just like how Dravid's historic century helped avoid the follow-on.

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