Thursday, August 09, 2007

After the Jellybean Rush

(Random thoughts after a day at The Oval)

- Shane Warne, allegedly, sorted out Chris Tremlett's bowling by halving his run up. Any chance he could do the same for Ryan Sidebottom. For someone troubling the radar at around 82 mph, it's ridiculously long.

- On the other hand, good to see Sidebottom going round the wicket. Out in the sub-continent, seam bowlers can only thrive if they have another string to their bow beyond line and length. It's no accident that reverse swing was invented by a Pakistani! By taking a leaf out of Zaheer Khan's Trent Bridge book, Sidearse has at least given the batsmen food for thought ,and something to build on before he gets to Sri Lanka. Suggest he goes and has a word with John Lever.

- Not too fussed about who does or doesn't get a central contract, but the news that Tresco and Simon Jones are to drop off the list is extremely sobering, and a reminder of how much we've missed them over the past year.

- Because of it's perennial position at the end of the test summer, there's always a certain poignancy about the Oval Test. Obvious example, Bradman in 1948. Coming more up to date, there was Steve Waugh in 2001, Alec Stewart against South African and the Warne/McGrath farewell in 2005 - which prompted the fantastic comment from a bloke behind me... "Please note that I'm only clapping Warne - McGrath's always been a c**t" (Well, we all pissed ourselves - suppose you needed to be there...) This year, it's Tendulkar...

- Excellent crowd in - at least where I was sitting in Block 20. Family groups, old couples on their 'annual day at the Test', plus a good smattering of Indians. All very knowlegable and friendly.

- When Tendulkar and Ganguly came out after tea, there was a palpable hush - a general realisation that this was a pivotal moment in the match. There followed an hour of top class, tense, test cricket. The hush was only really broken twice: -

1) Unprintable language when Prior spilled the catch. (To paraphrase Steve Waugh - 'well done Matt, you've just dropped the series')

2) Tendulkar hit an exquisite cover drive that was worth the entry fee alone. It ended up just in front of us. The old couple in front of me looked at each other - 'that was wonderful' - 'yes, and the kids will be able to see us on TV tonight!'

- Does Madugalle referee EVERY test match?

- Celebrity spotting, Trevor Macdonald in the Gents at the Pavilion End. ('And finally...')

- The Oval is looking good. New food concessions it so there's a decent range on offer. Seemingly more beer outlets so the queues aren't horrendous, and confirmation that the new development at the Vauxhall End really does work.

- Back on Saturday - to presuambly watch England chase down 550 plus.

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