India v Australia Bangalore Test match report

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Ritesh writes:

It was my last day as a Bangalore resident – I was saying goodbye to the city after calling it home for seven years. It was a time for quiet reflection, for spending quality time with friends and eventually for inebriated celebration. Time, in other words, for a day at the cricket.

Of course, my wife didn’t quite see it that way. She wanted to spend the day doing something called “cleaning up”. Being unwilling to try something so drastic at this point in my life, I decided to buy the tickets anyway and tell her at the last moment – the old “but now the tickets have been bought” routine.

To my surprise, the routine did not go as planned. I could only put this down to the mysterious and unfathomable female mind, and was left ruminating what women want. I didn’t have to ruminate for long – turns out that this woman, at least, wanted a day at the spa on her last day in the city. The exchange was made, the cleaning up successfully ignored, and I set off to watch the game with my two best mates.

It didn’t start too well though. First there was the purse/man-bag episode. Now I like to carry myself a huge pair of binoculars in the hope of actually watching the ball swing (I never do). This is the bag in which I carry them:

This bag is larger than a pair of binoculars

To certain unobservant and sexist people, it may look like a woman’s purse, but it is most certainly a very manly accessory, even when slung from the shoulder while getting out of a pimped-up, slightly pink rickshaw. My mates refused to acknowledge the manliness of the bag though and proceeded to crack rather juvenile jokes throughout the day.

On reaching the stadium, D revealed that he did not, in fact, possess a ticket. His plan was to stand outside the stand looking vulnerable and hope that an enterprising ticket tout spots him and offers him a ticket at a wildly inflated price. Unfortunately for him, this was not an IPL match. Even the most industrious of ticket touts would be hard pressed to summon the enthusiasm for what was only the second greatest sports rivalry in the country. So seats went empty in our stand while the critical middlemen decided to take a day off from work. Poor D had to watch the game alone from a different stand, though he waved to us whenever we trained our (very manly) binoculars on him.

That left S and I to enjoy the game from the imaginatively named Pavilion Terrace. The stand just above the pavilion, where we had expected to sit, had been converted to “corporate hospitality boxes” with live television, butler service and what looked like an endless supply of champagne of dubious origin. Of course most boxes were either empty or contained men in toupees and moustaches looking vaguely menacing. The stand next to it, the new Pavilion Terrace, was at a very square fine-leg. So much for watching the ball swing.

That was not our biggest problem though. It was this:


We could drink beer. Or watch cricket. But not both at the same time. I will pause while you recover from that.

Of course that didn’t deter several attempts to sneak in beer in coffee cups. If you think of the effort involved – buy coffee in the largest sized cup, drain the coffee, rinse the cup in a dirty stadium bathroom, refill it with beer out of sight of the police – I would let them have a drink for initiative alone.

One man got caught drinking surreptitiously from a coffee cup and this led to an amusing argument about race (“but white people drink beer all the time while watching cricket”), cultural values (“would you like your mother to watch you drink on national television?”) and symbols of authority (“just because you have that badge around your neck, you think you can boss me around?”).

About an hour after the tea break, I stepped out for some fresh air. Sadly I had neither the foresight nor the eyesight to read the rules of admission written in 6-point font behind my ticket: “Only one re-entry allowed per ticket”.

As I stood there vanquished by Indian bureaucracy, arguing with a disinterested policeman the crucial difference between “entry” and “re-entry”, a huge roar went up in the stadium. Something had happened and like all things important, I would only realize what in the fullness of time.


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  1. Yes, brilliant. I’ve just got a brilliant idea – you get a cup (large) – with a false bottom, or a false ceiling, more like. Your cup can be full of X fluid, but you can have a few millimeters worth of coffee, or fluid Y, on top, in or on the false roof, to show to people. Then once you’ve got to your seat, chuck the bad fluid out. Perhaps a straw mechanism can be worked in to this.

  2. e normous: Ha – your ingenious plan is doomed to be thwarted at the gate. Remember this is the “commercial home of cricket” – only official (i.e. sponsored) cups are allowed in the stadium. Of course if one were to steal in just the false ceiling, the plan may still work.

  3. Based on your report, the policeman might have been uninterested but he was not disinterested.

    Next time, try wearing a pith helmet and carry the binoculars around your neck. That way you could either dispense with the nancy-boy binocular case altogether or (if you insist on carrying it) you could load up the ludicrous case with beer-filled receptacles.

    Otherwise a brilliant report, Ritesh.

  4. We once went to Old Trafford with a litre bottle of lemonade (gin and tonic) and a litre bottle of Vimto (port) to get past the bottle check on the way in. We happened to be sat near our old science teacher, who was a bit of a tweedy duffer. When he found out about our little smuggling scheme he was absolutely flabbergasted. We shared some of the illicit booty with him. He kept saying “Goodness gracious” and “I say” in a delightedly conspiratorial sort of way. What clever and daring boys we were. At lunch, he said that he would like to offer us something in return, but all he had was his flask of tomato soup. We accepted, out of politeness really. Good soup though, albeit somewhat closer to neat scotch in flavour. He smiled a knowing smile at us.

  5. Bert, I giggled at that little story. An old history teacher of mine would probably have done the same thing but he wasn’t the type to let anything get in the way of his drinking, not even cricket.

  6. Loved the last sentence. Just hinting at something cricket-related occurring in the background.

  7. I had a history teacher like that, Bobby K – he didn’t let history get in the way of his drinking – a Teachers teacher if ever there was one. Something about history teachers, perhaps, or could it possibly be the same guy – ASJ?

  8. I thought Ritesh was seriously surfing the rules with that last sentence, Fred, but like many others and (presumably) his majesty, I forgave Ritesh his minor rebellion.

  9. It’s like playing pitch and toss – the closer to the wall you can get, the better, but if you touch the wall you’re out. I think Ritesh has had a perfect toss with that last sentence.

    And as seems to be the consensus, this is the match report against which all others will be judged.

  10. That has really muddied the water, KC. I feel like I’ve been presented with a meat and potato pie AND a steak pie, and then told to choose only one. Well I can’t I tell you! I WON’T! I’m having them both, and you and these goons won’t stop me. Get your hands off me, you bastards! Let me go! I want BOTH. Let me go, just… please… just let me go.

  11. When Plato detailed his Theory of Forms, little could he realise how long it would take for the cricket report to be perfected in this manner.

    Splendid, Ritesh.

  12. Indeed, it is a fine match report. However KC, I’m liking your random sample of greatness more.

  13. He surname certainly began with a J but I have forgotten his first and middle names.

    If I said he shared his surname with a tattooed Aussie fast bowler that occasionally hits the strip and that HD taught me in North London would we be talking of the same fellow?

  14. Clearly there are a lot of them about.

    Mine shared his surname with the second half of the name of a former Sussex allrounder, whose dad’s voice and writing might be familiar to you.

    Did yours see a lot of UFOs?

  15. Thank you gentlemen for the kind words. My favourite remains 150% cricket – it is hard to beat the step ladder at leg slip!

    The world cup is likely to provide some great opportunities for match reports – I can’t wait for Kenya v Canada.

  16. I don’t think he saw much after 6:30 to be honest.

    The highlight of my secondary education was when we discovered that his surname was one of many colloquialisms forth male genitalia.

    Did yours carry a tiny pocket knife on him in case he was mugged?

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