Are you ready Nagpur ... err maybe not
"Are you ready Nagpur?" screamed the DJ. Seriously? The heat was sapping everyone's energy, though our friendly neighbourhood DJ tried his best. He shouted, screamed, cajoled and even pleaded: At one point he said, exasperated after the crowd refused to respond to his cries for the wave, "C'mon yaar, let's do the Mexican wave!" Someone wisecracked from the crowd: "Tere bas ki baat nahi hai. Itni garmi mein bhai sahab ko Mexican wave chahiye. Indian silence chalega?!" (You can't get us to do it. In this heat, he wants a Mexican wave, how about some Indian silence?!) At near 45 degrees, it was amazing that few people even bothered to turn up. The game wasn't great and the atmosphere was pretty dull.
Ojha v Dhoni
It's always interesting to see a bowler who has been discarded from the national team, a touch unfairly, play against his national captain. Like Murali Kartik v Sourav Ganguly. And so, today, Ojha v Dhoni promised an interesting watching experience. For the first four deliveries, MS Dhoni threatened to rush down the track and Ojha shortened the length. The next ball was a beauty: Dhoni pressed his front leg forward, lunged his upper body out and Ojha pushed it through on the middle stump line. Dhoni killed his aggressive thought and opted for his favourite nurdle to point for a single when the ball suddenly changed character. It gripped the surface, broke away sharply, wobbled past the defensive poke and fell on the off stump. Dhoni turned back very quickly and hurried towards the dug out while Ojha went on a celebratory run and cleared his lungs.
Very smart Mister Badri but you are out
S Badrinath must have surely played street cricket in Chennai and hence, would have known that he was out in the third ball of the 17th over. He shuffled across towards off, trying to paddle scoop to fine-leg but the ball went off the back of his bat over short third man. But in gully cricket, even the neighbourhood aunty would have told him, "that's out da kanna!" Two balls later, he was back on strike and yet again he went for the paddle shot. The ball again lobbed towards short third man but this time, it dipped for an easy catch.
All of a sudden, they played Telugu songs. As ever, immensely fast beats, one catchy word repeating itself in an endless pattern. The crowd seemed to be wondering what was happening. A gentleman sitting behind me screamed, "Yeh Hyderabad nahi hai, Nagpur hai. Kya gaana hai bhai?!" (This is not Hyderabad, this is Nagpur. What song is this?) It was an interesting move to play Telugu songs in an alien environment; if it was a move designed to create a "home" environment, it was a failure. Well, they tried at least.
Andrew 'Timing' Symonds
He had the uncanny sense of timing for the big shot. Just when you thought, hold on it's getting tight, he would release the pressure with a muscled hit. When 55 runs were required from 39 balls, he played the outstanding shot of the day to collect a six against Shadab Jakati. He leaned forward just as he does while trying to drive the ball to long-on or long-off for a six. However, at the very last minute, he seemed to have sensed an opportunity for something grander than a mere single and with hardly any back-lift but purely on the basis of the last-minute extension of arms, he sent the ball soaring over long-on. Later, when 30 runs were needed from 20 balls, and the top-scorer T Suman had just fallen, he rushed down the track and just muscled a Jakati delivery over long-on. A short while later, when the equation read 17 from `13, he punched a Doug Bollinger delivery that has just fallen short of the blockhole to the long-off boundary. Game over.