Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Australia v Pakistan, first Test, Lord's, 2nd day

Eggs, bacon and pumpkin

Food, fashion and Awkward Situations for Men feature in this fan's report from Lord's

Peter Allsopp

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A
Shahid Afridi launches a straight six during his short onslaught, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 14, 2010
Shahid Afridi: sparkling even in the midst of a collapse © Getty Images
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Choice of game
I picked this match based on the fact that a neutral Test was being played at Lord's for the first time in 98 years, and knowing that it would be easier to get tickets to watch Australia at Lord's now than in an Ashes Test. I was also interested in seeing how Pakistan would perform after witnessing the Sydney Test earlier this year. On the second day, I was hoping Australia's bowling attack could make amends for some poor middle-order batting earlier in the game.

Team supported
I always support Australia. However, I am not one-eyed, and look forward to an exciting and absorbing Test.

Key performer
Notwithstanding the pasting he took from Shahid Afridi, Shane Watson was the most influential performer, with Mitchell Johnson and Salman Butt tying for second.

One thing I'd have changed
During the early part of the day the conditions could have been better, but overall we had a pretty good day's play. I would have liked Ricky Ponting to have got another life as he has not yet made a Test century at Lord's.

Interplay I enjoyed
Johnson bowled really well without a lot of luck. However Watson's delivery to dismiss Butt was a ripper, and his five wickets in the innings were memorable. Afridi must get an honourable mention for his quick-fire 31. You always feel he can take the game away from the opposition.

Filling in the gaps
During the lunch break, we walked around the ground and looked at the Australian reserve players having a net session. Danny Wallace's Awkward Situations For Men kept us amused during the rain spell. My sister was interested in the quality and variety of other spectators' lunches, particularly the person who had gone to great effort to bring in dressed lobsters with the trimmings. And there was an older group of gentlemen behind us in the stand, discussing at length the joys of shopping for their "naughty" lunch at Tescos, particularly the pork pies.

Wow moment
The pavilion at Lord's. I have always been fascinated by it when viewed on television but the collection of portraits of cricketers is amazing: Beefy smoking a cigar (at Headingley) in the Long Bar, Viv in the Old Library, and my favourite, the painting of the Queen meeting the Australian players in 2001 outside the visitors' dressing room. Watson's delivery to dismiss Butt was a close second.

Player watch
Doug Bollinger fielded on the boundary near me, as did Johnson. The crowd was staid (no heckling or autograph requests), but late in the second session a member of the crowd asked Dougie to give him a wave. A bemused Bollinger sheepishly raised his hand. The Australian 12th and 13th men were sitting near us and appeared to be busy making Gatorade and checking the field in order to interpret signs for equipment requests - they must take special courses in field interpretation in order to be 12th men. Later in the evening, the most moronic of chants - "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi" - went up from the Nursery End.

Shot of the day
Afridi hitting a cracking six off Watson after facing just four balls.

Crowd meter
The ground was fairly empty but you expect that mid-week during the school term. It was a good-natured crowd, considering it was a neutral Test. The Pakistanis were better supported than the Australians. The support for both teams was warm and never reached the heights of home crowd support. Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus were given greater support than most of the other players.

Accessories
I took my laptop with a wifi connection to log on Cricinfo.

Tests v limited-overs
I love Test cricket. There is something about a game that goes on for five days and remains gripping to the finish. The limited-overs game is also cricket but there are far too many meaningless tournaments, and it is this aspect that often leaves me cold.

Fancy-dress index
There was no discernible fancy dress, apart from a variety of MCC ties, blazers, and hat bands. The outfit that caught my eye was of a well-dressed member, who when seated exposed egg-and-bacon socks between the bottoms of his trousers and a pair of desert boots. There was a much larger contingent of pink- or salmon-coloured trousers than you would ever see at a Sydney Test, perhaps reflecting the difficulty of matching the egg-and-bacon with other colours.

Entertainment
The traditional bacon ciabatta was offered for breakfast, but the day was punctuated by the popping of champagne corks. Not being a fan of New Orleans-style jazz, I was in the minority, with a large number of crowd members enjoying the music near the Harris Gardens. A great delight was the induction of Imran Khan into the ICC's Hall of Fame. Growing up in Sydney, I saw Imran play for New South Wales (he is credited with teaching young fast bowlers there how to make a ball "go Irish"). At lunch, for the second day running, I had the pumpkin feta and spinach pie - outstanding!

Overall
Lord's is an experience that every cricket tragic should enjoy at least once in their life. The atmosphere was good without being boisterous and the cricket was absorbing throughout the day.

Marks out of 10
9.5. The early wet weather detracted from the experience but it got better as the day drew on, and play went until well after 6pm.

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Peter Allsopp lives on a mango farm about an hour south of Darwin in Australia. He travelled to England to watch the first neutral Test at Lord's in 98 years

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Comments: 4 
Posted by   on (July 15, 2010, 16:17 GMT)

i am really like afridi batting and wish for pakistan to do something honourable in this test match

best of luck afridi

Posted by   on (July 15, 2010, 16:08 GMT)

If a batsman in either teams scores a hundred does it goes on the "Honors Board" at Lords?

Posted by shaantanu on (July 15, 2010, 13:18 GMT)

basharat i guess peter was commenting on the second days play.so maybe u should not grudge him abt not mentioning asifs name......being an indian n a NEUTRAL supporter it was really enjoyable to watch 2 absorbing days cricket.more so with the prospect of a dour n boring cricket series coming up with sri lanka.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2010, 8:33 GMT)

I THINK PETER ALLSOP HAD FORGOOTEN TO ADD ONE NAME IN HIS LIST OF KEY PERFORMERS AND THAT NAME IS MOHAMMAD AAMER WHO HAS DESTROYED THE MIDDLE ORDER OF AUSTRALIAN BATTING. AS A TRUE SPORTSMAN AND NON BIASED ARGUMENTS, WE SHOULD APPRECIATE AND ADMIRE HIS BOWLING. HE IS THE FUTURE PROSPECT OF PAKISTAN TEAM TO SPEARHEAD THEIR ATTACK.

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