Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

Australia v Pakistan, first Test, Lord's, third day

The weather dunnit

Day three starred pizza-filching wind, darkness, occasional rain, and a late cameo by the sun

Paul McLeod

Comments: 5 | Text size: A | A
Mohammad Asif found Marcus North's outside edge to give Pakistan hope, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 15, 2010
Brief flutter: Asif gets North, but then came Hilfenhaus © Getty Images
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The game
I live in Gibraltar, where all cricket watching involves lengthy travel (and England is usually well down the pecking order as you need an IPL contract to afford a ticket; plus the incessant, moronic chanting of the Barmy Army is to be avoided like the plague). This match was therefore an absolute godsend with affordable pricing and the guaranteed absence of that sinking feeling you get as the first endless chorus of "Everywhere we go..." starts up.

Team supported
Australia were playing, so obviously the other team, and Pakistan need all the support they can get at the moment anyhow.

Key performer
Notwithstanding how vital Salman Butt's presence at the close was, the key factor, both in terms of the match and the experience of the day, was the weather. For the first 75 minutes' play I was actively longing for the umpires to take the players off the field. It was raining the entire time, sometimes heavily, the wind was howling and it was as dark, if not darker, than on many of the occasions on the first two days when Messrs Gould and Koertzen couldn't wait to call a halt. Either this dynamic umpiring duo had totally taken leave of their senses, or more likely they had gotten a rocket from above about their fondness for the pavilion and over-corrected hugely. Although the sun came out for the latter half of the day, making batting much easier, the wind remained as strong (and cold, despite the claims of Simon Hughes on TMS that it was "pleasant") as ever, hurling debris about the place, forcing a fine catch from myself to save my pizza from going into orbit, and forcing the guy beside me to abandon the launch of his brolly, which had to retire hurt for the day.

One thing I'd have changed
Clashing with The Open. Who thought that one up?

Face-off I enjoyed
Doug Bollinger attempting to sledge Butt then having to furiously back-pedal as the Pakistan opener gave some right back, following him all the way down the pitch to make his point.

Filling the gaps
Switch radio channels for updates from St Andrews and pleasing news that John Daly hadn't found my money too big a burden to shoot a 66. Quick bite of lunch, then back to resume my post in the Upper Compton Stand.

Wow moment
Turned out to be a false dawn but Mohammad Asif getting rid of Marcus North immediately after Umar Gul had seen off Simon Katich momentarily raised hopes that Pakistan could get right back in the game.

Player watch
In the absence of a long stop, which wouldn't have been a bad idea with Kamran Akmal keeping, there wasn't a fielder within acres of us all day.

Shot of the day
Ben Hilfenhaus hooking Gul as he approached his unlikely half-century.

Crowd meter
A fine cricketing crowd, populated by people there for the love of the game. The vast majority appeared to be neutral, although there was also a smattering of followers of both teams, with the Aussies surprisingly outnumbering the Pakistanis from what I could see. A shamefully low turnout from the egg-and-bacon brigade in the pavilion, however. Don't MCC members like cricket?

Fancy-dress index
This is Lord's what, what!

Entertainment
Following the unfathomable belief that sports crowds like martial music, the Royal Marines band was on the field at lunch, and there was also some kind of jazz combo behind the Nursery End. Neither was of any interest to me. Excellent choice of food: I opted for pizza today, whilst my brother went for his second go at the peri-peri chicken.

Tests or limited-overs?
Is this a serious question? Tests by a distance.

Marks out of 10
I would say 7 going on 8. The weather - did I mention it was windy? - made this the least enjoyable of the three days so far, albeit still a fine day's play, with Pakistan showing a bit of fight finally in their batting. Seats in the Upper Compton Stand were absolutely superb. In fact, too good, as at times we were so behind the bowler's arm that either the bowler or the non-striker almost obscured the view.

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Although originally from Whitehaven in Cumbria, for the last eight years Paul McLeod, 43, has lived in Gibraltar, where he works as a cricket trader for Stan James bookmakers. This probably puts him among the frontrunners worldwide for most cricket watched in any 12-month period, albeit the vast majority via TV, so this trip to Lord's is most definitely a busman's holiday

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

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Comments: 5 
Posted by   on (July 17, 2010, 13:18 GMT)

A rare treat for those of us who still lament the demise of Wisden Cricketer's Vic Tripe.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2010, 2:31 GMT)

"Australia were playing, so obviously the other team" Typical of a smallminded cricket follower who has no idea of how great players such as Ponting, Hussey, Clarke and especially Watson are. Perhaps you are better off supporting the IPL!!!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2010, 14:24 GMT)

very sad that pakistan after a promising chase collapsed. they needed batsmen of inzi caliber to achieve the record chase score. anyway they lost all right but no disgrace in coming second best against the all time no.1 team inthe world.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2010, 13:59 GMT)

"In the first innings Pakistan collapsed to Shane Watson. In the second innings Pakistan collapsed to part time offspinner North," says Abdullah. "In the next test match Pakistan will collapse to Simon Katich and Michael Clarke."

Posted by   on (July 16, 2010, 10:19 GMT)

Pak started with boundaries and then catching practice as usual lol any way i am looking for my yesterdayz comments wish to accomplish world record

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