England have gone one-up in the Test series against India after a comprehensive victory at Lord’s cricket ground last Monday. There’s lots to say about the match itself, and you can read reports of the game here, here, and here. More interesting for your correspondent (Martin) is that I managed to get to watch the game in the flesh on Saturday and Monday, including both innings of Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master himself. I’ve already talked about the greatness that is Tendulkar here, so I won’t do so again.
I’d hoped to see the Little Master score his hundredth hundred (as had about fifteen thousand Indian fans in the ground on Monday), but it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless, we gave him a standing ovation coming out to bat, and did the same when he was out (for 34 and 12 runs respectively). We all knew that it was unlikely we’d see him again at the home of cricket (as Lord’s is called) in a Test match again (he’s thirty-eight years old). I’d have liked the game to be held up for a minute, while we acknowledged all that he’s done for the game. But cricket is a harsh mistress, and she wasn’t going to be denied; so the game went on.
Lord’s was looking a picture on Monday. Too often in the past, Lord’s has priced its tickets too high and been content with a barely half-full ground on the final day of the Test match. Shrewdly, however, the MCC (which run Lord’s) had decided not to sell any tickets for Monday. Thus, when the day rolled around and it promised to be a thriller (not least because Sachin was due to bat that day), the cricket authorities offered tickets for £20 ($33) for adults with kids under sixteen getting in for free. As I emerged from the St. John’s Wood underground (subway) station that Monday, lines were already snaking around the block. By noon, the ground was at capacity (c. 28,500), with 8,000 children among the throng (it was the first day of the summer holidays) and the atmosphere was tremendous. A lesson was surely learned for other grounds: open the door and let ’em in.