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Tales From 2011

Tales from Lord's - day 5

Tales from Lord's - day 5

Paul Edwards witnesses an enthralling 5th day at Lord's

Above: James Anderson celebrates his dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar (PA Images)


I said I'd be early. Other people have had the same idea, though. Joining me on the tube from Tooting Bec and London Bridge were plenty of youngsters who will also get their entertainment for free today.

As I arrived at Lord's the queues were already building up on the Wellington Road; the whole thing has a flavour of Old Trafford 2005 about it and I suspect the ground will be filled to bursting point by 11 o'clock. If so, the atmosphere will be very different to the one I relished when I arrived about ten minutes ago. All the covers were still on the wicket and its surrounds, and the excellent scoreboard was still thanking people for coming to Lord's on Sunday and wishing them a safe journey home. The English and Indian flags were fluttering gently in the softest of breezes. The ground was filled with a great peace, rather than a great multitude.

Around the ground groups of blue- and green-jerkined stewards are being given their instructions. Lord's had a reputation for being a stern and forbidding ground, a place where you are told all the things you can't do, not helped to do the things you can. All I can say is that I've found the customer relations at the home of cricket to be clear, friendly and accommodating. All the staff, including the stewards and the people who search your bags, are pleased to see you and only want to help. And no, I really don't think this is because I'm wearing a press pass.
Overheard in the Lord's shop: "Oh, go on! Please tell me how you broke your mongoose."

Tales drift in of massive queues around Lord's. The ground is nothing like full but a healthy stream of people are still drifting in. Of all the areas that are open,  the least populated is the pavilion and the Warner Stand.

We're still waiting for the final attendance figures, but every stand is full as this excellence-littered Test match reaches its conclusion. I find this particularly encouraging because many of the crowd will have turned up hoping to see Tendulkar make runs, and Jimmy Anderson's reverse swing got rid of the little genius for 12 nearly two hours ago. All romantic thoughts of an Indian win had disappeared even earlier, if indeed they had ever really been entertained by the tourists. Yet the spectators have remained in thrall to India's attempt to secure a draw.
And amid all this tension, someone in the press box auditions for Carry On Batting: he has his binoculars trained on the outfield and suddenly blurts out: "Stockings and suspenders!" I'm watching Stuart Broad trying to knock Harbhajan Singh's poles out. I'm very relieved I don't see the connection.

I try not to focus on the obvious in these tales and I certainly don't like one-eyed nationalism from whatever source it comes. Nevertheless, it would be almost perverse of me not to join in the praise for England's display over the last five days. Jimmy Anderson was magnificent today: fast, controlled, persistent. But the Turf Moor titan is only one member of a team which looks like it's on its way to becoming the best in the world. Now I must close. Why? Well, it's 6.15p.m; by 9.00am tomorrow I want to be in the press tent at Trafalgar Road. "Taxi!"


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