Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v Australia, first Test, Chennai, second day

Fluent Sachin, dancing Clarke

The Chennai crowd was entertained by some attractive footwork and hipwork

Narayanan Subrahmanian

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A
David Warner makes a spectacular leaping save, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 2nd day, February 23, 2013
David Warner: Australia's wow factor © BCCI
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Choice of game
When the fixtures for the series were first announced, Chennai was scheduled to host the last Test. I thought it would be wonderful to watch the climax of what surely would be a tightly fought contest. But the fixtures were reversed and Chennai got the first match, I thought getting to watch that would be better as it normally sets the tone for the series, and that it would be more interesting than a possible dead rubber.

Team supported

Key performer
Everyone had come to watch Sachin Tendulkar bat and they got what they wanted. It had been a while since he played a flawless innings at the international level. All that changed on Saturday. He was decisive with his footwork and started off with three boundaries off James Pattinson. Even when not hitting boundaries, Tendulkar played with assurance and freedom. He middled almost every ball he faced and looked watertight while defending.

Pattinson had had a very good series against India at home, but since then injuries had limited his international appearances. Here too, he was impressive. He was the quickest of the Aussie bowlers and was rewarded for looking to bowl at the stumps more as he got all the three Indian wickets to fall on the day. He was taken off the attack too quickly on more than one occasion. Maybe Michael Clarke wanted to preserve his strike bowler from breaking down in this scorching heat.

One thing I'd have changed
The burning heat took so much out of not only the players but also spectators like me who sat without any shade. But hoping that the Chennai sun would beat down less at this time of the year would be a waste of time. The most irritating thing for me were random ad clips shown during replays on the big screen. But maybe in these times of full-fledged commercialisation of the game, we can't expect to see full replays at grounds.

Wow moment
David Warner was always quick to field the ball, and on one occasion he almost got Tendulkar run out, but his throw was a bit off target. On another occasion, he flew through the air and came up with the ball in one hand to stop a single.

Shot of the day
A cover drive by Virat Kohli off Nathan Lyon was exquisite, because there wasn't a big gap between the cover and the mid-off fielders. Kohli played against the turn and managed to find that small gap. Thankfully, I got to see the full replay of the stroke, so that made it my best shot.

Crowd meter
When I reached the stadium, there were long queues of people waiting to buy the daily tickets, so I thought it would be jam-packed inside, but there were a lot of spaces in different stands left unoccupied. That doesn't mean the crowd was not noisy. As expected, the loudest cheers were reserved for Tendulkar, be it when he fielded near the boundaries or when he came out to bat.

The interactive dashboard at the ground provided the crowd a chance to show their affection to the players with text messages. Clarke was an instant hit when he obliged to their demands by showing off his dancing skills. Could you imagine Ricky Ponting doing that? Maybe influenced by their cool captain, the other Australians also started to loosen up a bit and entertained the crowd.

It was not a high-scoring day of Test cricket. Australia started the day by batting very cautiously and lost wickets when they looked to accelerate. Only 64 runs were scored in the first session in 38 overs. The Indian batsmen played more positively, but they were also not taking the attack to the opposition, instead waiting patiently to cash in on the loose deliveries. But as long as the cricket is compelling and competitive, no one cares about the scoring rate.

Marks out of 10
8. It might have been more fun if there had been a larger crowd.

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A typical kid from the '90s, brought up watching cricket on TV, Narayanan Subrahmanian has spent more than half his life watching the game and thinking about it. Now he has found the joy that live cricket experiences can offer and wants to write more about this integral part of his life. He blogs here and tweets here.

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Posted by Dummy4 on (February 24, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Watched the dhoni's action live on chepauk today, it was a stuuning experience. And a special thanks to the clarke and warner for their dance based on the fan's request. Clarke and warner were amazing characters , they absolutely made the crowd roar for them . And to bhuvi for his solid defenses , his every defense were applauded. It was a great day.

Posted by Ganesan on (February 24, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

When I visited Chennai a few weeks ago I drove by Chepauk and the stadium looked beautiful, reminding me of the days when the stands were packed and we had to go at 6 in the morning to get a decent seat in unreserved stands. But things have changed and 5 day tests are too long to follow, even on internet, let alone going and watching. Who has five days to waste watching a match. No wonder the crowds are not there. Make the matches short and entertaining and crowds will come. That's why T20 is fun with lot of crowd. Any sport where you have to spend more than 3 to 4 hours to watch will be dead soon, unless you have a lot of dead beat people with nothing else to do with their life.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 24, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

Cometh the hour, cometh the Man. So goes a famous saying. Crowd came to cheer Sachin. They left more than happy with what Dhone delivered. Dhoni stood tall and took charge. Made us all very proud. It is up there along with VVS's batting at Eden, Hazare's feat at Adelaide, or Mankad's 184 no after being dropped from the tour and recalled from his Lancashire League commitment! I grew up applauding Russi Modi's 203 n.o at the same Chepauk against an OZ team lead by Hassett and his team mates were Pepper, Carmody and the like. The team stopped at Chepauk to play an unofficial test and the Ozzies were returning home after the Army commitments to fight the Germans. That was in 1945-46. My grandparents lived on Car Street about 1 km away and all my siblings were born in the Gosha Hospital adjoining the Cricket ground towards Pycroft's Road!

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