August 26, 2013
Choice of game
No one wants to miss the Ashes, and this was my last chance this year. Truth be told I was convinced during my trip to the Oval that this was a dead game. Thankfully I was wrong - what a thriller.
I think everyone would agree that today's key performer was Michael Clarke. Not for his run-a-ball, unbeaten 28, solid as it may have been. Clarke deserves this purely because of his aggressive declaration. This actually made a game of it, and the sell-out crowd was grateful, although the booing following the anticlimactic finish may not have made this apparent.
One thing I'd have changed about the day
The 30-minute delayed start due to the weather ultimately lead to the last four overs of the series not being bowled. Clearly the one thing I'd have changed would've been the weather before the start of play.
The interplay I enjoyed
The spinners' battle when Nathan Lyon bowled at Graeme Swann provided much entertainment. My shot of the day has to be Swanny's six off Lyon over long-off, clearing the boundary rope by some distance.
My wow moment was the first ball of Australia's innings. It was an accurate ball from James Anderson following his warm-up with David Saker, yet David Warner pierced the gap between Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen easily. It must also be said Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen's strokeplay was, as ever, a pleasure to witness.
Being in block five I was positioned at point/midwicket. All of the bowlers wanted some protection around there to prevent leaking runs. The only autograph signed during play in our stand was by the England debutant Chris Woakes. The Aussies received their fair share of banter. The standard Warner jokes were hurled out, and at one point he responded with a grin and jokingly plugged his ears with his index fingers. Mitchell Starc was also popular in our section of the crowd, with a crowd chant of "He's just a better Mitchell Johnson".
The morning session was notably quiet, but the place transformed by 5 PM. As the afternoon session progressed the crowd got notably louder and the moment the Aussie declaration was announced there was a huge roar, with everyone realising the prospect of a close contest. Some of the notable chants during the day were 'Aussie Aussie Aussie, Out Out Out!' and 'We love you KP, we do!' There was live music from the Barmy Army trumpeter, situated around the Peter May stand. One extremely loud roar came when Simon Kerrigan got off the mark which was nice to hear. I also noticed that once Anderson was dismissed he patted Kerrigan on the back as they crossed paths - a nice gesture. The loudest the crowd got was during the presentation.
Fancy dress index
The fancy dress was again on top form. The best I saw was two men wearing dresses with fluorescent coloured flowers on them. If I recall correctly Lyon cracked a smile when he saw these two men trying to grab his attention.
The entertainment was great by the Oval. In the morning there were free samples of Yorkshire tea and a live jazz band. With regard to other refreshments, a wine company had a promo going on which involved David Gower. Kia also had their own area in the ground where spectators got to race mini toy cars around a track using real-sized steering wheels. It was all a nice addition to a great day's play.
The quality of cricket today was at an extremely high level. It wasn't your standard day of Test cricket. The fact that the two teams tried to create a contest for the crowd and for themselves enhanced the experience for everyone. The presentation, the fireworks, the champagne celebrations and the victory lap by England made the day even better. It was the first time I'd seen an Ashes victory celebration live, and that alone made it a 10/10 experience for me.
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Jay Purohit is a 16 year-old student. As well as being a keen spectator of the game, he plays for his school's first XI (Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School) and for Radlett Cricket Club.
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