The veritable spotter's guide to the Cheer

Indian fans enjoy themselves at the Adelaide Oval Getty Images

The ear-splitting Adelaide showdown between India and Pakistan gave the World Cup another stirring occasion, another largely one-sided match, and seven hours of ceaseless sonic pandemonium, encompassing as wide a variety of cricketing cheers as any sporting noise connoisseur could wish for. Cheer-spotting might not yet be as established a hobby as bird- or train-spotting, or as popular a pastime as, for example, stamp-collecting, internet surfing, jury service, marriage or snooker. It is, however, a recreational diversion that is bound to increase in popularity, owing to the increasing rarity of genuine thoroughbred sporting cheers in the wild - the aggressive predation of the new-fangled Contrived Stadium Atmosphere has reduced the population of genuine cheers, sometimes obliterating them completely from their natural stadium habitat, sometimes leaving a colony of cross-bred half-real half-contrived cheers.

The Adelaide Oval pumped out a pulsing fanfare of 45,000 people's support, providing a veritable Spotters' Guide To The Cheer, from well before the start of play. On an occasion such as this one, the ball-by-ball structure of cricket gives its crowd noise a hypnotic rhythm, the stadium rising and falling with each major event, most minor events, and some non-events.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but among those cheers prominently on display were the following (including suggestions for how those same cheers might be applied outside the realm of sport, for sport proves that everyday life would be enhanced by cheering moments of success or good fortune; and thanks to both sets of supporters for their indirect contribution to this invaluable piece of scientific research from a gloriously loud day of stadium-watching):

The Won-The-Toss Cheer.
A relatively new addition to the catalogue, facilitated by broadcasters' habit of turning to the toss-winning captain first. The fans of that team will then respond to their skipper being granted first interview with a caterwaul of thrilled anticipation.

Possible everyday life application: Winning a minor disagreement about which takeaway to order in from.

The Resounding Four Cheer.
An echoing bark of joy and confidence, often requiring the cheerer's baby or infant to be hoisted above the head with a facial expression combining excitement, fear, confusion and vertigo. And, in some cases, impending vomit.

Possible everyday life application: Finding a lost remote control.

The Inside-Edged Four Cheer.
As above, but slightly smugger.

Possible everyday life application: Catapulting a tea-bag into a bin across a room from a distance of at least 15ft.

The Fifty.
A mixture of praise, respect and congratulation.

Possible everyday life application: Spouse/friend/parent returns from shop with slightly better than expected baguette.

The Fifty By A Superstar Team Icon.
There was a discernible difference between the noise that greeted Kohli's half-century, compared with the noise that greeted Dhawan's, as there was with Tendulkar's milestones, although not to the same degree. A fascinating cheer that conveys the love and rewarded trust of the crowd, surrogate pride and the belief that all will ultimately be well.

Possible everyday life application: Encouraging elderly grandparent during a round of crazy golf.

The First Opposition Wicket.
The closest cricket has to a goal (although anyone walking past the Adelaide Oval on Sunday might have been forgiving for thinking that there was a soccer game in progress, and that the final score was approximately 300-224) (which, by coincidence, is exactly how the cricket ended). An outbreak of triumphal release; often accompanied by wild arm flailing and mild headbanging.

Possible everyday life application: Successful marriage proposal.

Key Opposition Wicket
A sustained eruption of noise, as belief in victory translates into certainty of victory, tinged with the anticipation of imminent gloating opportunities. May involve impromptu and unnecessary gyration or thrusting.

Possible everyday life application: Bride turns up at wedding.

Also in evidence in Adelaide were (or seemed to be) cheers marking the following landmarks:
1. The first ball being delivered.
2. The first ball being hit.
3. A leg bye of no real importance.
4. Eight o-clock.
5. The arrival of a snack.
6. Life in general.
7. Cricket.


● Virat Kohli's 107 off 126 balls was, in terms of strike rate, the slowest of the 22 centuries he has made in his prodigious ODI career, at 84 runs per 100 balls. It was an innings of controlled mastery for the most part, without ever reaching the glorious fluency he so often achieves, and was restricted by some fine bowling in its latter stages, and his and India's threatened eruption never fully materialised. The facts that (a) he has scored 22 ODI centuries and (b) all of his previous hundreds had been scored at a strike rate of at least 90, highlight what a staggering limited-overs career Kohli has been compiling this decade. It also highlights have rapidly cricket has changed, that a century scored at the equivalent of five runs an over is almost sedate.

● Four games, four first-innings scores of at least 300, four chases which never seriously threatened success. If you had put money on Zimbabwe having the narrowest defeat in the opening two days (a) congratulations, (b) that is a strange bet to place, in more than one way, and (c) stop lying.

● CORRECTION: When Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq opined that "300 was very much chaseable," he sadly omitted to append the words: "by a different team".