Bangladesh v England, 2nd ODI, Dhaka

A fusillade of egg curry

Andrew Miller samples to delights of the day-night match in Dhaka, and finds out that it's not just at Lord's the gatemen are jobsworths

Roving Reporter by Andrew Miller

November 10, 2003

Text size: A | A

A Bangladeshi queue is a thing of beauty. Five hundred bodies long and growing, it ripples around the stadium perimeter with a Zen-like serenity - always orderly and utterly unrushed, waddling past the jostling of touts and the tooting taxis with one aim in mind - to reach Gate 19 and get into the ground. They would do well to get a move on ...

Dhaka has been engulfed by big-match madness. It is the busiest day's cricket that the country has seen in months, and it beggars belief that every single punter is being herded towards the same entrance. With no restraints on their movements, the flag-sellers and ticketless hordes are in a far better position to gauge what's going on within, as they hustle towards the unmanned barriers and peer through the tunnels at every suggestion of excitement.

One can only assume they are not relaying their findings, because events within the ground are unfolding at an unseemly haste. Bangladesh have slumped to 7 for 4 inside the first ten overs, and the match might be over before the shouting has begun. I wander over to the VIP entrance, to find a suitably VI gateman who can explain the reasoning behind this asinine policy. But, predictably enough, my way is barred by a bevy of security men. "Gate 21, gate 21," they chorus as they spot my press pass, and the top of my water bottle is confiscated for good measure. Quad erat demonstrandum.

It may be madness, but there is no doubting it is methodical. As the stands fill up like grains in an egg-timer, so too does Bangladesh's total. Every scoring shot brings a standing ovation (from punters grateful to have witnessed any play at all), and soon the floodlights blink to life. The innings and the day are drawing to a close, and it is almost time for the day's fasting to come to an end as well.

Darkness descends quickly when floodlights are masking the night sky. All of a sudden, the pitch is a luminous green and the players are marching around in their X-marks-the-spot shadows. This is the moment that the crowds live for, with the bonus that they can at last indulge in some comfort food. The Western Terrace is its usual hive of samosa salesmen and bhaji buyers, but this time it is iftar that they are serving up, and the feeding frenzy has to be seen to be believed.

No sooner have I poked my nose out of the tunnel, than a banana skin whizzes straight past it. The target, however, is not me but the Y-shaped ring of barbed-wire fencing that keeps the fans from the pitch. A huge cheer goes up as the first person lands an object in the basket, but having completed one objective, it is time to up the ante. The next task is to bounce a bottle off the heads of the two ballboys manning the edge of the pitch. One fling comes perilously close, and is flung back with terrific gusto. Another bristles past a ferocious security guard striding towards the scene, who replies with a bark of unheeded orders. And then, into the melee, comes a wicket.

That does it. If they were hungry before, they certainly aren't now. A fusillade of egg curry rains down on the poor souls in the lower tiers. The lower tiers reply with a volley of bottles and bananas, and before long the stands are dotted with bonfires as the match drifts away and the fun really starts.

Did I say this crowd was serene?

Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo. He will be accompanying England throughout their travels in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Related Links

    A year of triumph and disaster

Martin Crowe: Misbah, McCullum, and the ICC's efforts against chucking were the positive highlights in a year that ended with the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death

    Two fortresses called Brisbane and Centurion

Numbers Game: Australia haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988, while South Africa have a 14-2 record in Centurion

Zimbabwe's decade of hurt

The Cricket Monthly: Ten years ago 15 white Zimbabwean cricketers went on strike. The game has not been the same since
Download the app: for iPads | for Android tablets

    'Lara v McGrath was a great battle of our generation'

Dravid and Manjrekar discuss Brian Lara's adaptability

Was it right to play the fourth ODI?

Ahmer Naqvi: Why there really is no point in the PCB trying to get international cricket back to Pakistan

News | Features Last 7 days

The perfect Test

After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.

Kohli attains batting nirvana

Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat

Australia in good hands under proactive Smith

The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game

What ails Rohit and Watson?

Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena

Karn struggles to stay afloat

The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

News | Features Last 7 days

    BCCI's argument against DRS not 100% (164)

    Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough

    Karn struggles to stay afloat (114)

    The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

    Kohli attains batting nirvana (110)

    Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat

    When defeat isn't depressing (57)

    After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test

    What ails Rohit and Watson? (49)

    Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena