Never a dull moment
Following England can never be called boring as Jamie Hunt discovers in his latest World Cup postcard.
By Jamie Hunt
Last Updated: 05/03/11 3:39pm
What a week in Bangalore!One punter had money on Ireland at 399/1 to beat England on Wednesday, but I haven't heard of anyone who backed a 676-run tie and then an Irish victory. It made for an unforgettable stay for the Sky Sports News crew following England.
First India. A Sachin Tendulkar hundred and an England win. Not too much to ask for. It's the ideal scenario when watching England against India in Sachin's home country, if not his home town.
But nobody could have predicted what would unfold over the next eight hours... except for Shane Warne of course, who tweeted a tie shortly before the start of the match.
When England's itinerary for the World Cup came out the match between England and India at Eden Gardens in Kolkotta was the fixture that shone like a beacon, brighter than all the others.
It was hugely disappointing that the match was switched away from the iconic Eden Gardens ground but by close of play in Bangalore, there were no complaints.
Officials here opened the ground four hours before start of play to allow the capacity crowd enough time to get in and past the security checks. Fans had been warned not bring bags, smoke bombs, water, cigarettes... pretty much anything and they even confiscated newspapers.
As a result it came as no surprise that despite the early opening of the gates at least a thousand fans were still trying to get in over an hour after the match had started. But all the way the atmosphere outside was buzzing and only better was to come.
Virender Sehwag flashed at the first ball, as it took the edge the crowd gasped and then cheered as it eluded Swann at first slip and ran down to the third man boundary. By the end of the over two more near misses came and went and the decibel level increased.
It stayed like that throughout Tendulkar's great innings and was only subdued by the failure of India's lower middle order to set England even more than 339. But if Sachin was superb then England's captain, Strauss, surpassed him. Ian Bell later called it one of the greatest one-day innings he had ever seen and he should know, he had the best seat in the house watching most of it from 22 yards away.
The only disappointment for Strauss was that his magnificent 158 wasn't part of a winning total. Strauss and Bell had subdued the Indian crowd with their stand of 170 and many home fans had left before Zaheer Khan turned the game on its head with two wickets in two balls.
In fact the only time before Zaheer's intervention that crowd noise reached the heights of the Indian innings was when Bell's review for LBW was upheld.
The crowd celebrated each of the five or six action replays and Bell duly trudged off. But they weren't able to hear the commentary in which presumably it was being explained that his 2.5 metres stride had saved him. He returned to the middle to a chorus of 'cheating, cheating, cheating'.
In more than week of press conferences since that match there is yet to be one in which the Decision Review System has not come up. It is fair to say the Indians are not fans and the Bell scenario has not helped.
In the post match press conferences neither Mahendra Singh Dhoni nor Andrew Strauss knew whether to celebrate the result. It was so near but so far for both of them. In time they will both take pride in taking part in such a memorable and dramatic game. It was all anyone talked about for days... until Ireland.
Because as if Tendulkar, the most revered cricketer in Indian history, scoring a century against England in a match that ended in a 676-run tie wasn't enough, then came Ireland's magnificent and unexpected run chase.
The Irish win sent the SSN crew into overdrive. We don't feed via satellite here. We have to take everything from camera to laptop, edit, make it a lot smaller and then feed it via internet. It basically means, as with Ireland's win for example, that to feed 10 minutes of material that goes to air, we'll work for about five or six more hours after the final whistle to get material back to London.
It was 4am before our cameraman was able to get his head down. Earlier than most of the Irish players though. But you don't mind because it's for stories like this that you go on tour. When Ireland were on the verge of victory, our camera was in position to see the nervous faces of the fans and families of the team turn to jubilation as they celebrated the winning runs.
We got into the team dressing room, down on the pitch with players, back at their hotel for celebrations and interviewed proud players and family members alike.
Hopefully it all translated into some great shots and interviews that helped the viewers at home get an insight into an extraordinary night of cricket... an insight you don't always get from the main cricket coverage.
It seems that following England at this World Cup will not be a dull job and so we look on to Chennai and what will happen against South Africa on Sunday and then Bangladesh and West Indies. Anything could happen.