First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
This series has been billed as "payback" for the miseries India suffered in England. Being one of the many Indian fans who went through a phase of severe depression during the England tour, I decided watching the team win from the stands would serve as an antidote. Considering the performance in the first one-dayer in Hyderabad, I thought an easy victory was on the cards for India.
I also desperately wanted to witness the debut of Varun Aaron, who is from my city Jamshedpur, but I guess that will have to wait now.
For most of the game it seemed Vinay Kumar would get the title, for his spirited bowling performance. Then Virat Kohli walked in at a slightly tricky situation, and played an innings full of confidence and swagger. He turned the victory into a cakewalk and, for me, played the most influential role in the game.
One thing I'd have changed
The last time I had watched India play at Kotla, the match was abandoned due to poor condition of the pitch following a Sudeep Tyagi bouncer. The only thing I hoped was to get a full game, and I was relieved to witness that. I would have loved to see a close contest, something like the encounter in the World Cup, but will take the easy victory as the next best alternative.
Face-off I relished
Given that both teams are devoid of regular star players, there were hardly any match- ups worth discussing, unless you are really excited about Kieswetter v Vinay Kumar. Kohli against Graeme Swann was a face-off I thought would be interesting, but the moment Kohli stepped out and hit that exquisite drive through the covers, there was only going to be one winner.
In a relatively low-key and mostly uneventful match, there were few moments that really provided that "wow" factor. One that might qualify is the ball off which Vinay Kumar dismissed Craig Kieswetter, and the England scorecard read 0 for 2, leading to delirious celebrations in the crowd.
Shot of the day
I enjoyed watching Kevin Pietersen hit a straight six off Ravindra Jadeja and Kohli drive Swann. But one shot that stood out was a cracking pull by Kohli off Jade Dernbach. It was like a statement to the English bowlers to leave the short-pitched stuff back in England. You could almost sense a Gerard Butler-like reaction from Kohli, with his bat pointing menacingly: "THIS IS INDIA!"
Many people, me included, only realised a week ago that Delhi was hosting a match. The stands started to fill towards evening once people got off work, and India started their innings. Still, I do not think it was more than 70% full.
There were the odd attempts to start a Mexican Wave, and some feeble "India, India" chants. The fans around me were either busy on their phones, telling their acquaintances how to spot them on TV, even describing in detail the colour of their clothes, or taking photographs to display on Facebook.
One fan did a Ganguly, waving his shirt madly, hoping to feature on TV. I am not sure if his stunt worked.
Banner of the day
The only ones I saw were pre-printed by sponsors. One of them read, "A few losses do not bother champions" while another read, "Men in Blue will stick England in glue". Kindergarten stuff. Ironically, the second banner was torn in the middle and needed some glue itself
The comprehensive Indian victory served my purpose. I would have loved it if the stands had been packed, and there was a bit more excitement in the game.
Marks out of 10
7 for an easy Indian win and an exquisite Kohli century.
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