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First-person reports from the stands

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

Joke blazers, and the height of difference

What do you do when rain interrupts play for most of the day? Read the newspaper like never before, take photos, and enjoy the MCC hospitality

Peter Meade

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The umbrellas are out at Lord's, England v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Lord's, 3rd day, May 29, 2010
When at Lord's, buy a "rain stopped play" umbrella or five © AFP

The game
I was at the game because I watch as much cricket at Lord's as I can, and love watching England. I had thought day three would be the last day and that Bangladesh would probably lose by an innings.

Team supported
I was supporting England and in particular the three Middlesex players: Andrew Strauss, Eoin Morgan and Steve Finn.

For me, it's got to be a camera with a long lens. I love photographing sport. I also like to see what's going on around me and like to photograph it.

One thing I'd have changed
Well, two really. The rain and the farcical on-off play at the end of the day, when they went off for bad light two or three times. At one point a period of play lasted only two deliveries.

I judged the light by the settings I used on my camera and thought that when they went off for the first time, the light was better than when England went out to bat on Thursday. What was more irritating was that Lord's has lights, so the only reason they should have come off was rain. Unfortunately the organisers had decided that they weren't going to use the lights. Perhaps this is because the Australians said they could be used in 2009 and then complained that there were shadows .

Bit of interplay I enjoyed
After a couple of quick wickets, Finn was bowling at Mushfiqur Rahim and was taken for a couple of boundaries. I decided that this was a fight back and not poor bowling getting punished. It showed the kind of spirit that we wanted to see. Other than Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladeshis seem a bit meek. You feel it in the way they walk around; their heads are down, as if they don't want to be seen.

Filling the gaps
I had about four hours to fill when I got there. I had brought my iPod as back-up but didn't need it. I met some friends and we chatted over coffee for a while and then I went for a walk around the ground to see what was going on, whether there was anything to photograph and whether there was anybody I knew. I didn't bother going in the Lord's shop because I don't want any more replica clothing or a "rain stopped play" umbrella.

After walking the ground, I found an armchair in the pavilion and read a newspaper. When chairs and newspapers are in short supply and time is not, it's amazing what you will read. I read a long article on a retired fashion designer, another on a woman who was pregnant at 43, and another that was capable of turning me into a sensitive new man. Fortunately for my mental equilibrium, before I could read any more, they started serving lunch.

After lunch I headed outside to take a few photos. One of the media photographers spotted me photographing some people huddled under an umbrella and photographed me. I was disappointed not to see the shot on Cricinfo.

Another walk around the ground, more coffee, and then I found myself sitting next to Ken Medlock who was in charge of Wisden from 1960 to 1971. He kept a couple of us entertained for ages telling us about players from Bradman to Lara.

Wow moment
The rebound catch taken by Strauss off Finn. The ball bounced out of Matt Prior's gloves and Strauss just managed to grab it. There was a cheer when the catch was taken and a bigger one when the replay was shown.

Shot of the day
Mushfiqur's drive off Finn. The ball was pitched up and Mushfiqur punched an on-drive for four. Later in the over, there was another boundary through third man. I think that was a thick outside edge, but I'm pretending the little wicketkeeper wanted to take on the giant bowler.

Crowd meter
The ground was fairly packed although the pavilion had cleared. Most of the day, people were sheltering under cover. It was pretty clear that by the time play started a lot of time had been spent in the bars. Someone in the Grand Stand debenture seats tried to start the Barmy Army chant but got nowhere, and later there were attempts to start a Mexican wave under the Mound Stand boxes but that came to nothing as well. The most cheers erupted when the umpires went out for inspections and the most boos when Billy Bowden brought out the light meter and halted play.

Tests v limited-overs
Test cricket is the measure of a team. It's the form of the game that counts and the form that will last after all the limited-over formats have been reorganised and turned into meaningless advertising opportunities. I like 50-over games and my son will watch Twenty20 but it's Tests that count.

Fancy-dress index
Fancy dress doesn't get seen at Lord's unless there's a Twenty20. In fact, being allowed to wear fancy dress is one of the features advertised for those games. The real fancy dress at Lord's is to be found in the pavilion, particularly in the form of an MCC blazer. When one of my friends tried to go into the pavilion at the MCG (I think) wearing his MCC blazer, he was told "no joke blazers". Members also tend to wear ties that show they are a bit more special than the average MCC member. So if they can wear something that's not the ordinary bacon and egg, they will. I Zingari ties are popular, so are the Free Foresters, the playing members' ties, and anything you would otherwise think people were wearing for a dare. I was wearing the MCC/Middlesex tie which is a vile combination of broad red, yellow, blue and silver stripes. My wife said she would leave me if I bought the MCC blazer.

A sight to behold
I saw Finn standing close to Mushfiqur as they went out through the Long Room. There must be about 18 inches' difference between those two.

Entertainment at lunch usually takes the form of quick cricket or a band. Because of the wet outfield, the band that came along played its set somewhere at the Nursery End. I could hear the music but couldn't see the musicians. There is also a small jazz band made up of MCC members, which plays behind the pavilion. They always get a crowd, and were in fine form. I could hear them from my seat too.

The quality of the cricket was good. It was more a first-division team playing the one at the bottom of the second division. The England outcricket was an improvement on day two and putting Finn on to bowl at his preferred end also worked. The atmosphere in the pavilion, though, was pretty flat. I sat in the concourse, which was nearly empty.

Marks out of 10
2. All that rain and the messing about with bad light.

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Peter Meade is a freelance writer and photographer. He's in his third year as a member of the MCC. He's a qualified coach and umpire and has played his cricket for a village side in rural Berkshire and at Maidenhead and Bray. He has even managed to turn out for Berkshire over 50s on one occasion. His best bowling figures were 6 for 6 in a 20-over game and one of those runs was a harsh wide.

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Comments: 2 
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Posted by Farrukh on (May 31, 2010, 16:30 GMT)

I'm pretty sure the rebound catch was off Anderson and not Finn!

Posted by Dummy4 on (May 31, 2010, 3:49 GMT)

another bright sunny day is required for bangladesh to get a positive result

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