That sound you hear of hands rubbing together in glee, accompanied with a twinkle in the eye, from cricket fans worldwide is one of anticipation at the series of matches between England and India that start this Thursday at Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood, London. Everything that could align to make this series A Very Big Deal is doing so. Not only is Thursday the first day of the 2000th Test Match ever played (the first recognized one was in 1877), but it provides an occasion for Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest cricketer of the last twenty years, to score his hundredth international hundred—a feat never achieved before, and unlikely ever to be achieved again. Scoring that century would finally also get Sachin’s name on the famed honours board at Lord’s—only bestowed on those who score a century or take five wickets in an innings at the hallowed ground, and a feat that so far has eluded the Little Master. At the age of thirty-eight, Sachin is unlikely to tour England again, so it’s now or never. Even though I (Martin) am a fan of England, neither I nor anyone else in the country (except perhaps the eleven players opposing him) would begrudge him that honor.
Even more auspicious, as far as I’m concerned, is that I aim to be at the ground during the match, with any luck seeing the Little Master stroke his century-making run. As long as the weather is set fair, this contest is likely to provide some heart-stirring moments, with India and England’s equally formidable batting line-ups being tested by each other’s nervy but, on their day, devastating bowling attacks. As always, we’ll keep you informed of all that’s going on.