Update from Goa
Four Reasons why the cricket match in Goa was like no other:
1) Solid organisation around food and drinks: The normally volatile water market price was kept at Rs. 25 throughout the match (for a cold 1 litre bottle). Lunch, from Cafe Coffee Day, was free (for our stand). It had a burger (vegetarian though), sandwiches, a pretty decent samosa and couple of candies. However, what really took the cake was the brownie and banana. Nice and in the words of Yoda, "Free lunch, Thing there is."
2) Two runs that Dhoni pinched: Cricinfo, in their Ball-by-Ball Commentary reports this as: "48.1 Anderson to Dhoni, legbye: two runs".
I can't believe that something this enchanting can be reported like this. Can the soporific Goa heat might be the reason? The way it really happened was,
"Anderson to Dhoni, ball grazes Dhoni on his pads and tickles down to Geraint Jones, who makes a fine stop. Raina calls and runs halfway down the pitch, Dhoni says yes, then says 'wait' as Jones throws at the stump.
He plonks his bat in the crease. Jones's hits the stumps but Dhoni is in.
Oh! Oh! Dhoni runs now. No danger there. Good judgement - one run completed.
Whoa! What was this? Dhoni actually comes back for an astounding second and completes the double. Jones can't pick himself up in time. Collingwood can't reach the ball in time. All the while the ball is lying next to the dislodged bails. What pluck, what a man! Leg-bye signalled, 2 runs"
Graham Gooch realises the importance of this though. He writes, "...Another sight was even more demoralising. Dhoni missed a shot and keeper Geraint Jones threw down the stumps. The batsmen promptly ran a single and seeing Jones still on his haunches, they scampered back for another single - or two leg-byes with the ball very much around the three stumps!" in here.
3) Yuvraj's innings, which has been covered here and here.
We were sitting right in the middle of a Barmy Army section during the match. We had heckled them throughout the second wicket partnership. Thus, when three wickets had fallen in quick succession, they turned around and said, "What's happening now?"
"We want to hear you cheer as well. You have been sitting for too long."
Yuvraj took it from there. While he started off proceedings with an inside edged four, there was hardly another false shot on the two-paced pitch. This was the first time I saw a dominating Indian batting performance from the stands. Once Yuvraj was done, everyone in the stands, including the Barmy Army, was up to give him a standing ovation*.
Between every over break, we had to hear (if not see) the Kingfisher ad. This was played on the two large screens erected for us.
As all of us would (should) know, it has Vaughan and Flintoff in the shower singing the Kingfisher ditty - which goes something like: Ula la la lu le oo, Ula la la la la la lu le lo, leyo, eyo. It is a big turn from previous ads which had the likes of Jadeja, Yuvraj and Ganguly singing the same song**. Soon, the Barmy Army started giving us stick. "How come they couldn't find any Indian cricketer for this ad?", "Are they too shy to take their shirt off?", "Indians don't use the shower, do they?".
Our answer "English cricketers are being taken to the cleaners" and Dhoni's ads for the Mysore Sandal Soap only partly redressed the balance.
Further, the music soon became irritating. Fancy hearing Lelelo, Eleleo after every over. We were cursing Kingfisher when a couple of men came in with four large (350 ml) glasses of beer each. Obviously, it would be hideously expensive in the stadium, but we still wanted it. We beckoned. Instead they gave it to the Englishmen just in front of us (another example of racism, but I won't get into that at the moment). For free. Yes, free beer at 11:00 am inside a hot Goa stadium. We had to find its source.
Three of the most intrepid amongst us (actually the ones sitting next to the aisle) walked out and came back fifteen minutes later with six large glasses of beer. Free. Kingfisher apparently had set up kegs outside the pavilion and was treating everyone to free beer. Very soon, we had gone for a couple of rounds of refills. Great way of enjoying the match. Thanks to Vijay Mallya and Goa. We have now decided to stick to Kingfisher for at least one month.
*To thank them for their sportsmanship, Dhoni sent a six almost into their middle. It landed two chairs away from them.
**Incidentally, Kingfisher's competitors (Fosters, Royal Challenge, Castle Lager, Cobra) have missed out on a golden opportunity to take on Kingfisher for promoting English cricketers. Fancy Yuvraj and Dhoni taking on Vaughan and Flintoff while drinking Royal Challenge water or some such product. Hmmm, would have been interesting.