Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v Australia, third ODI, Delhi

Good hair night

What's better than watching India beat Australia? Wearing technicolour frightwigs while watching them beat Australia

Yash Jha

Text size: A | A

Want to do a Fan Following report for the remaining games in the series? Details here.

Yuvraj Singh lofts during his half-century, India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Delhi, October 31, 2009
You want effortless? You got it © AFP
Enlarge
Related Links

India v Australia is reason enough for an Indian cricket follower. The added bonus of the game was, it was the first international day-nighter in Delhi. I went with a group of school friends, and was seated in the ONGC Hill Wing A, right next to the ITC End stands.

Favourite player from the two sides
In the absence of Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh was the man I had my money, and hopes, on. Even if today's knock was somewhat subdued by his usual standards, he made sure that all of us admirers left the Kotla satisfied.

Key performer
The man himself, Yuvraj Singh. He came in with the game on tenterhooks, and with the Aussies looking to run away with the momentum after Mitchell Johnson's sensational run-out of Sachin Tendulkar. The nerves were beginning to fray among the crowd, and the fear of another one of those famed Indian collapses was very much in the air. But Yuvraj, along with MS Dhoni, managed to smooth things over with his amazingly responsible knock that won him not only the Man of the Match, but also the hearts of many a Delhiite. His tight spell, which fetched the breakthrough wicket of Shane Watson, was also crucial.

Face-off I relished
Yuvraj v the Australian attack. The Australians, for the first half of Yuvraj's innings, looked as though they had found a way of keeping him quiet, and Yuvi was struggling a fair bit. But the way he clobbered the attack towards the end had the Aussies dumbstruck. So sorry, Ricky. Better luck against the West Indians when you go back home.

One thing I would have changed about the game
The pitch, maybe. The Australian batsmen, definitely! Apart from Michael Hussey, none of them looked like they were playing a limited-overs game. For a large part of their innings, we in the crowd thought it was to do with the pitch, but the ease with which Yuvraj and Dhoni batted towards the end of the game made it quite clear that there weren't too many demons in it.

Shot of the day
The six Michael Hussey hit off Ashish Nehra. It takes a herculean effort to smash an Indian bowler into the stands on his home ground and get applauded by the audience. And herculean that effort sure was. Take a bow, Mr Cricket.

Wow moment
Our man Yuvraj's stunning six off Moises Henriques. It was timing at its very best - an almost gentle flick that sent the ball flying over the boundary boards. The pressure was beginning to mount on India's run-chase, with about 100 runs to get off the last 17 overs, and that shot made us go "wow".

Crowd meter
It was incredible to see the Feroz Shah Kotla jam-packed for perhaps the first time since it was revamped. And there's no guessing who the 40,000-odd supporters were rooting for. The Oz Army, if there were any of them around, seemed to be on silent mode. We wouldn't have let them say too much anyway!

Accessories
We went fully loaded, with full-sized Indian flags, horns, wigs et al. The wigs were part of our strategy to blind the Australians. As it turned out, we didn't need to, but nonetheless the orange, green, blue and red spikes, standing approximately a foot tall, endeared us to all those who had the privilege of being in the same stand as ours.

Crowd favourites
We screamed and shouted insanely for every Indian player. Sachin, Yuvraj and Dhoni were acknowledged with the loudest cheers. But the clear-cut winners in this category, sorry to say Team India, were the Foster's girls. And boy, were they worth screaming for!

Fancy-dress index
I think it's fair to say that my friends and I, with our "blink-and-you'll-not-miss-it, blink twice-and-you'll-not-miss-it, go anywhere-but-you'll-still-not-miss it" hairdos managed to occupy the gaze of those around us for a considerable amount of time during the Aussie innings. That guy with Sachin and the Indian flag painted all over him was there too, as he is at all of India's matches. They say Sachin arranges for his passes. We hope you saw us too, Little Master.

Marks Out Of 10
8, I guess. The skeptics might say it was a bit of a boring encounter, but for a true-blooded Indian supporter, nothing beats the thrill of watching the Australians get beaten first-hand. But yes, it wouldn't have hurt to have a better pitch.

Want to do a Fan Following report for the remaining games in the series? Details here.

Yash Jha is a 17-year-old from New Delhi. He studies at St Columba's School… oh wait, studying is what he doesn't do at school. He has been an ardent follower of the game from about the time he was strong enough to hold a bat; ardent enough to have visited the Kotla for every international game over the last eight-odd years at least.

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
More in Fan Following
RSS FeedAll
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet