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It's India v Pakistan even when they're not playing each other

Pakistani fans had plenty to cheer after the Sri Lankan openers were dismissed, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights, Lord's, June 12, 2009
West Indian for the day © AFP

There's always someone cheering, and others jeering, when India and Pakistan are playing, even when they aren't taking on each other. There was a large Indian contingent watching the first of Friday's double-header at Lord's between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Indians reinforced Sri Lanka's support and added to the noise as Pakistan made a succession of blunders to crash to a 19-run defeat. The Pakistan fans didn't leave after the loss, hoping to stick it to their Indian counterparts, and shouted themselves hoarse as the Indian bowlers were unable to halt Dwayne Bravo's charge towards victory. It wasn't quite as electric as their warm-up match at the Oval, but it was possibly the last time India and Pakistan fans will go head to head during this tournament.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was the Man of the Match for his 46 against Pakistan. It gave us the opportunity to ask him about his jaw-dropping new shot, the down-on-one-knee scoop over the wicketkeeper's head. He reveals that he's been practising the stroke over the last two months, while he was in South Africa for the IPL, and now has the confidence to dink international bowlers over the wicketkeeper. I can't quite remember him playing that shot for the Delhi Daredevils, but then the whole IPL was a blur. He says he began with the paddle, and fine-tuned it into a scoop. How on earth did he conceive the shot, I ask? You can't place a fielder behind the wicketkeeper, he says with a hint of cheek.


The press box at Trent Bridge is at exactly the right height from which to watch a cricket match, in my humble and perhaps inexperienced opinion. The one at Lord's, although it's a state-of-the-art facility, is too high. You can see the entire ground without obstruction but you have to squint to distinguish between players of similar build. I wonder if any journalist suffering from vertigo, or acrophobia, has been up there.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

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