First-person reports from the stands
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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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