Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Australia v Pakistan, first Test, Lord's, 1st day

Soaking up the history and rivalry

Rain can't dampen the spirit when there's some competitive cricket at Lord's

Oliver Reid

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A
Ricky Ponting battled hard to ensure Australia went to lunch with only one wicket down, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 13, 2010
Ponting had a nice little battle with Aamer © Getty Images
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Choice of game
Lord's: There in itself is a great excuse to travel up from the South Coast to the big city and see a Test match, second only to being able to say I was at a neutral Test at the most iconic venue in cricket. As a lover of the summer game, and being an Australian a long way from home, to me the only place that compares to the MCG with its history and tradition is Lord's. Every time I find myself in England in the summer, I always make the pilgrimage to the ground for a match.

Team supported
Australia, of course, but I must admit to having a little bit of a crush on Pakistan. I was always a huge Imran Khan fan, and most of all I love the passion shown by Pakistan in all forms of the game. Whether it's a wicket or a loud appeal, they always seem to throw all their emotions into the game.

Key performer
The Pakistan bowlers were right on top of the Australians early on, and took well to the overcast conditions. Mohammad Aamer had a great running battle with Ricky Ponting, and Mohammad Asif had the prize wickets of Michael Clarke before tea and Simon Katich after the break.

One thing I'd have changed
The weather. I was all excited when I woke up, so it was not nice to see the misty haze of rain. And with dark clouds overhead for most of the morning, I had a bad feeling we weren't going to see any cricket at all.

Interplay I enjoyed
Aamer v Ponting. There was a great little battle in the ninth over: Aamer rapped Ponting on his pads but the appeal was turned down. He stared at the Australian captain, and the next delivery was pulled for four. Aamer followed it with a short-pitched ball, which Ponting ducked. He then got two more runs out of the over with a clean square drive.

Filling in the gaps
At Lord's, this is easy. I spent time soaking up the history of the ground, saw many former cricket greats walking around the ground - Merv Hughes, Justin Langer, Jeff Thomson, Shane Warne. There is also a smooth jazz band playing next to the Nursery End, which will cheer up an Aussie who feels his team should be doing better.

Wow moment
Clarke, coming in after the loss of Ponting, made an instant impact. He took on the bowling early after being dropped once. He passed Katich's score with a couple of drives and a flick to the fine-leg boundary.

Player watch
Being in the Compton stand, we were a bit of a distance away from the players, but it was interesting to watch, through binoculars, how Afridi captained the side: with lots of shuffling of the players around in the field, and shouting and waving to the pavilion.

Shot of the day
As mentioned above, Ponting's pull off Aamer. It was classic Ponting. It had the crowd on its feet as he showed his class, dangling off the back foot, swivelling to strike it clean to the boundary. As they say, "Four the moment it left the bat."

Crowd meter
As it was a Tuesday, and a drizzly one at that, the stands were certainly not full. But the Grand Stand, the Mound and the Compton Stand seemed full enough with a variety of passionate Pakistanis, boastful Aussies, and the odd curious Englishman. The Pakistan fans started to really get into the match after tea, and at Katich's dismissal they could sense more wickets to come.

Tests v limited-overs
Having seen so much limited-overs cricket recently, it was interesting to see how the crowd would react to the longer format. But from chatting to many people, I found they all seemed keen to see the return of the whites. I enjoy Tests and ODIs equally. When you watch a Test, you start to get a feel for the game and can sense the pressure build as a batsman reaches his fifty or when a bowler beats the bat three or four times in an over. The "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd are also enjoyable as the players battle it out.

Spectator alert
Early on, as the misty rain cleared and play began, something caught Shane Watson's eye. It was a lovely lady in the Members area wearing a bright pink coat. She was informed by the umpire to take it off or move, and that had the stands giggling.

Marks out of 10
8. Nothing can compare to a day at Lord's. The crowds are knowledgeable, and the place makes you want o walk around and just soak up the aura. The cricket was great for a first day, with plenty of wickets and great spells of batting to go with it. Despite the delayed start, I enjoyed the day, with only the sun letting me down.

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Born in Australia of English parents, Oliver Reid currently lives in Hampshire with his cricket widow and supportive wife Selina. He has played club cricket in both Hampshire and Victoria and enjoys watching cricket at the greatest of venues and the smallest of villages. Oliver also runs a cricket blog, The Cricket Observer

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Comments: 6 
Posted by   on (July 14, 2010, 14:31 GMT)

this team desperately needs Younis Khan. Just look at the collapse that took place today...

Posted by hassan8899 on (July 14, 2010, 13:31 GMT)

good and nice blog Oliver.

Posted by m.a.khokhar on (July 14, 2010, 13:06 GMT)

Haha yea it wa sfunny moment when lady tokk off her pink coat at that moment one of the comentator also comment that " she might have been in trouble had she wearing a pink bra .. then Ramiz Raja was laughing bout it

Posted by Vivek.Bhandari on (July 14, 2010, 9:14 GMT)

Cricket Widow...?? OMG...what's this Mr Oliver...?? :D, I hope your better half doesn't read this...:D :D

Posted by spannercrab on (July 14, 2010, 8:54 GMT)

Good on ya Oliver, it's good to see an expat Aussie reporting on the cricket from the old dart. I enjoyed reading your summary of the game and the ambient atmosphere at the ground, however there is one tidbit of information that would've come in handy....the score. I can understand you might have overlooked this part of the game when elsewhere at the ground a lady was taking care of her coat, which is perfectly understandable. But unless you can produce a photo of the lady and her coat, the score is a much, much more important bit of information when reporting via the internet. Cheers

Posted by   on (July 14, 2010, 7:20 GMT)

I too enjoyed when that lady was told too take of her coat. David lloyd was gone mad after the lady took off her coat..

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