Well, today has been a very lazy day. I woke around 8.30, just in time for the morning power-cut and lazed in bed with my sudoku and Ethnomedicine books. Some time after 10pm, power was restored and the hotel staff and I sat back to watch the final day of this test series.
India had apparently already lost another batsman and were chasing just under 300 runs, needing a run-rate of around 3 per over. This is just about achievable and they nominally had the batsmen and wickets to achieve it. However, despite a few dropped catches that must have frustrated the English bowlers, none of the India batsman lived up to their potential and they were all out for 100. Only Sachin Tendulkar scored above 30 runs and he was suffering from shoulder-pain and shouldn’t really have been playing. Dhoni tried to blast a few boundaries and was dropped by a highly embarrassed Monty Pradesar. A couple of balls later, Dhoni gave Pradesar an almost repeat opportunity and this time was safely caught.
I think the last three wickets went for 1 run, not even ‘The Turbanator’ (Harbajan Singh)’s fixed determination improving India’s lot. For most of the last session, the hotel staff watched the one-day international between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, having given up hope on the Test match. In fact, someone (who may be the hotel’s owner) angrily denounced ‘cheating’. I protested at this because I don’t think Flintoff and co would want to win this way and he calmed down but said that something was definitely amiss because India’s tail-enders can normally get 30 or 40 runs between them.
I’m a bit sad for my hosts (overall the series was a draw: 1 match apiece) but happy for England’s fairly scratch team (5 English top-flight players were too ill to play in this series) and disappointed that the day was an anti-climax.
All day, the Roy Harper song When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease has been echoing around my head. It, along with Kate Bush’s Lionheart is one of the songs that reminds me that, for all its faults, England does have something worthwhile. The notions of fair play and dedication, the timelessness of the brass accompaniment and the reminders of the green-ness around Worcester (in particular, the stream 5 minutes’ walk from my parents’ house where I’ve spent hours listening to the water, the field of cows just beyond it, the majestic sight of the Malvern Hills rising above Worcestershire’s rich alluvial plain and memories of many happy times spent there with friends): all of these have powerful emotional effects on me.
You can check out an mp3 at <http://www.royharper.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?products_id=11> and the first verse’s lyrics are, as best as I can google/recall
When the day is done, and the ball has spun
In the umpire’s pocket away,
And all remains are the groundsman’s pains,
For the rest of time and a day.
There’ll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for 4 with the spin.
On a dusty pitch, with two pounds six of willowwood in the sun.
When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he’s gone,
If maybe you’re catching a fleeting glimpse, of a twelfth man at silly mid-on.
And it could be Geoff, and it could be John,
With a new ball sting in his tail.
And it could be me, and it could be thee,
And it could be the sting in the ale………sting in the ale.
OK, I don’t expect this to mean much to anyone else but this is my journal and this song has been going round and round my head. Maybe, just maybe, I am English and can be proud of it.
Time to post this, check on friends and then go back to the hotel for food! Toodle-pip!