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Tendulkar strolls, but a lady toils

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 17:36 UK time, Monday, 15 December 2008

As Sachin Tendulkar deftly guided the final ball of the match to bring up not only the winning runs but also his 41st Test century, a banner was held up in front of the Test Match Special Commentary box which read "India's great victory - dedicated to the people who died in Mumbai". It was of course particularly poignant that the "little master", a Mumbaiker, should be the man to win the game.

In any circumstances the thrilling Test match which has just taken place in Chennai will be celebrated as one of the best games in recent times. But when you consider the context of the game then the events we witnessed at the MA Chidambaram Stadium are all the more remarkable. Only just over a week ago the tour was in the balance, but both sides managed to compensate for the troubled build-up to produce an amazing spectacle.

I have been very fortunate to watch cricket in India before - but the atmosphere generated here in Chennai has been amazing. The public here have really embraced the occasion and turned out in their thousands despite the fact the fixture was only confirmed a few days ago. As long as we have occasions like this then the future of Test cricket should be secure despite the growth of the Twenty20 game so popular in this part of the world.

Sachin Tendulkar

The cricket in this match was so entertaining that it managed to overshadow the incredible levels of security that have been in place here. Although in my personal experience the daily bag search was made less arduous if you enthusiastically declared that you believed that India were definitely going to win the game.

Thankfully there was little work for the amazing amount of security forces gathered here in Chennai. The head of security came into our commentary box during the game to boast that he has provided not only the best protection available in India, but also in the whole of Asia.

According to the press release he was cheerfully handing out to all media during the game "Three thousand police personnel were deployed, including 300 commandos of the Swift Action Group, Swift Action Force, Rapid Action Force, plain-clothes policemen and women, Armed Reserve Police, Sharpshooters Team, Anti-Sabotage Check Teams, Frisking teams, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad team, VIP Security teams, Intelligence Gathering teams, Escort Parties and horse mounted police along with local Chennai City law and order police."

One of our team was grateful for the efforts of the security forces. Reporter Alison Mitchell was unfortunate to find herself locked in the toilet and despite her loud cries and banging on the door could not raise the alarm for 20 minutes. She also managed to leave her mobile in the commentary box so could not phone for help. Fortunately, two female members of the "Rapid Action Force" went to use the lavatory and heard Alison. It then took 10 members of security staff to break down the door as she took shelter on a ledge above the cistern.

Alison now informs us every time she makes a visit to the lavatory and takes along two phones in case of a repeat incident. The event has made Alison into a local celebrity following descriptions of her ordeal appearing in local and national newspapers, on the television coverage and on cricket websites throughout the world.

The incident even inspired one TMS listener Peter Wilson to burst into poetry. He e-mailed us with this offering.

With the Chennai bogg door stuck fast
Ms Mitchell was very downcast
In spite of her frantic cries
The ladies the lock could not prise
But a Police boot just saved her broadcast

But what is particularly apt is that the sign outside the ladies bathroom at the stadium says "Ladies Toiles".


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    On a pitch which should have given the maximum help, the performance of Pannesar was abysmal. He bowled at the same pace, the same flight, so that the batsmen knew exactly what sort of ball was coming down. 0-103 on that wicket was pathetic. Pieterson called upon hime to tie one end up on at least tawo occasions, but he wasn't up to it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Adam, will you be blogging before the second test with your usual excellent test previews.

    I am interested to know who the summerisers will be.

  • Comment number 4.

    I've just listened to Peter Moores bleating on with excuses. I've said it before and I'll say it again- ENLAND, overated, overhyped and definitely overpaid.
    Let's get real; they are lucky that they don't have to go out and graft to earn a living in the real world. Working hard for 5 days a week for 48 weeks a year for £20k
    if you're lucky. Stop bleating !

  • Comment number 5.

    Firstly, a quality blog for a change, so refreshingly different. Had my first guffaw in God knows how many days. 'Ladies Toiles' eh! And an apt limerick to boot.
    Second, a fitting tribute to victims of M. mayhem.
    Thirdly, a strange quirk, result went India's way only after Sehwag took his cue from commandos of the Swift Action Group, so some wag suggested.
    Four, every time Yuvi tried to tear away towards his first test century, Sachin just walked down the strip to say, 'Son, not before mine.'
    Five, hope England keep faith in their team. They could well have won it, the way they blew away India's batting might in the first innings. May be Shah comes in and Broad replaces a bowler.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.


    To call a player a cheat is a serious allegation and you don't seem to have any evidence for this.

    What about throwing the ball at a player? Or verbal abuse? As clearly demonstrated by Harmison and Flintoff on the final day. How's that for conduct on the pitch?

  • Comment number 8.


    It's barely credible the Indian team could not have acted in concert to slowdown the over rate that much.

    If "cheating" is too strong a word, what would you prefer? Gamesmanship?

    It was outside the spirit of cricket to have resorted to such tactics to prevent the opponents from gaining a legitimate advantage. The Indian team knew that by slowing down the game they prevented England from scoring too heavily while Strauss and Collingwood were relatively fresh.

    There is too much gamesmanship going on in modern cricket which detracts from its professionalism.

  • Comment number 9.

    Im surprised that swann didn't save the day for Alison?? I mean he's such a hero and so 'generous hearted' and 'yet never far away from a joke'.

  • Comment number 10.


    I don't remember KP or any of the other England players complaining about the over rate. They accepted the fact that they were beaten by 2 moments of brilliance from Sehwag then Tendulkar, so should you.

    I've lost count of the amount of times the likes of England (Jelly beans) and Australia (win by any means neccessary) have resorted to dirty tactics. Yet that doesn't get picked up on does it?

  • Comment number 11.

    Slow overrate is not such a big issue these days. Every team in the world does it and people who do it get penalised at the end of the day..
    Not sure why this is such an issue

  • Comment number 12.


    FACT: On day 2 England's over-rate to India was a measly 9-10 overs a hour(which by the way is the slowest over rate period in the Test match) that is what i call lousy at any level of Cricket. So focus on your own over-rate before you have a go at the Indian over-rate.

    Also I'm so glad the way the England team conducted themselves in the middle, was eventually thrown back in their faces by the Indians. Lesson to be learnt in all of this BritAussie, have a think about it....

    All the Best,


  • Comment number 13.

    What does the over-rate matter? It did not lose England the game: their impotent bowling did. Well, at least we can be glad that the false dawn of Pietersen's captaincy is over. Now come the realities of captaining a side that is short of the resilience or the killer instinct to succeed at the highest level.
    Having said that, we must also remember that for most of the time, AUSTRALIA'S bowlers did not have the answer to the Indian batting either; and yet again, albeit for different reasons than usual, the satisfactory preparatory itinerary we were assured of did not happen.
    England now have another chance to prove they have learned and can live with the best in their own conditions. But if they throw the match away in similar fashion, then all the usual, and frankly totally annoying, guff about 'we can bounce back...', 'we're as good as anyone on our day...', and 'we can take positives from this' just won't wash.

  • Comment number 14.

    Lets not forget that England have not played test cricket since late summer and were widely expected to get soundly thrashed in this match!! We got found out on the last day by some poor bowling agreed but also a fantastic innings by arguably the greatest batsman since Bradman. I agree that Panesar is beginning to look one-dimensional with no obvious change of pace or arm ball but my main concern was his overall lack of control with two many balls too short and too wide which is easy meat for a player of Tendulkars class. Selectors, lets be brave for the next game and bring in Adil Rashid who is a tremendous prospect and can also bat!! As regards batting Ian Bell is a quality player with possibly the best technique of any of the England batsman and has to be perservered with at number 3 for a few games yet. I am convinced in time that he will be a world class number 3 batsman

  • Comment number 15.

    English team did a great job, considering the preparations. They clearly made a match of it. They dominated the majority of the sessions. Its just the sheer brilliance of sehwag which got india into the game and the patience and guile of sachin to win the match.

    KP and his team need to be given a thumbs up for coming back and playing in india. It would have been a very easy decision to cancel the tour.

  • Comment number 16.

    Adam your subtle and veiled criticism of the security man's obvious weakness to be affected by a compliment is well-founded. Security is a very demanding job that per se repetitve and boring. Common, innocent people always resent the intrusion into their privacy. The security man who is doing it on the assembly line basis is bound to be affected by the obvious reaction to his diligence. He is human. So when a smart compliment like ' India winning' is thrown at him by a white man, it is bound to deflect his concentration. It shouldn't, but unfortunately does. He will look into your bag but his eyes will not see the bomb. The weakness needs to be addressed more vigorously.
    When even the top security man has to go doing his own PR soliciting forced compliments from dignitaries and the media, you can imagine the ennui he gets subjected to as a routine. The gaffer should know that the safe conduct of the event is a reward by itself, and the only one worth his while. Total professinalism needs no compliments.

  • Comment number 17.

    Adam, is there any prospect of 5LSE broadcasting a feed of ABC's coverage of major Australian home test series that don't involve England (SA and India being the two most obvious) at some point in the future? I know that there is a longstanding relationship between BBC and ABC for Ashes coverage with representatives from each joining whoever is the home broadcaster. There would be some occasions when England are also playing and would clearly take priority but not that many as we know England don't like being away over Christmas which is when the key Australian series take place. In fact, the 5L controller might even be delighted to broadcast the Melbourne test overnight in Christmas week as a great way of filling acres of holiday airtime!

  • Comment number 18.

    OK, we are now 1-0 up. But I am still not convinced on our comfort levels. Too many issues -
    Dravid - What has happened to him?
    If we replace him then who is to take his place. BCCI has been doing NOTHING on rebuilding.
    Yuvraj - He is STILL not Test class. This guy is good only for one-day games and late night parties.
    Sachin - He cannot play forever. It may be a year or even less when he retires. THEN WHO ?? Why are we not blooding the youngsters rightaway instead of persisting with the senior players.
    Harbhajan - Puts more spin on his speeches than on the ball. Even newcomer Swann did a better job.
    Finally - our batting lineup needs to do better. The first innings is a case in point. Sehwag went early and the rest of the lineup started faltering. Time they learnt to do better without Sehwag.

  • Comment number 19.


    Mate...I appreciate your concern...and can’t agree more that slow over rate is one of the biggest issues in world cricket...however the worst offenders are the OZz...

    You sound like an OZ what do you have to say abt that? And yes English team aren't saints either...they kept sledging and Flintoff even went off to mocking Yuvraj....not only during the playtime but also during drinks...I don’t think you have the right to sledge during the drinks interval…

    And yes…do you really think English team never has slow over rate….mate get you facts checked...Also...if it was such a big issues in this match, then the Indian team would have got fined for sure…

    Do you really think thins explains the slow run rate by the English team…? Indians were always going over 3.5 runs per over and English 2.5…they didn’t have the guts to accelerate…I reckon you failed to remember the key issues responsible for the loss and went overboard with some sissy talks…how typical

    Well payled India and all the best England

  • Comment number 20.

    BritinAussie should note England slowed the bowling rate down on the final day to less than India's slowest bowling rate, but Indian Batsmen still scored rapidly.

    No excuse for England to score less than 3 runs an over when on top in the match.

    The Aussies rarely bowl over 12 overs an hour, often much less. Ponting is always getting into trouble

  • Comment number 21.


    Your negativity with the Indian team is not needed, especially when they are taking great strides to reaching that Number 1 ranked team in the world. Few pointers to your issues:

    Dravid: The man has been a legend for India, and has surely earned the decision to retire when he feels. He has consistently performed at the highest level for years and now you suddenly jump on his back when things dont go for him. Every batsman has a slump in runs and Dravid will make sure he makes the right decisions in due course.

    Yuvraj: ok the world knows he is an amazing T20 and ODI player, but there is no reason why his batting talent cant be used in the Test arena. I am sure he will prove his doubters wrong (just like on Monday) in years to come, and when talking about late night parties lets not forget Flintoffs boat booze up...what a role model for young English cricketers hey (man's a joke)

    Sachin: i think its clear that no-one can play for ever (obviously), but thats still no excuse to drop a player when he gets to a old age and bring the youth in. In the test series if your still good enough then you play! In the Test series the value of Senior players is beyond measure, its these very senior pro's who set standards for their younger peers to follow.

    Harbhajan: Everyone knows of his temperamental behaviour, but he is one of the best in the Indian team to stand up and be counted when needed most. Becoming the second highest wicket taker (after Steyn) in 2008 shows what he is made of. Your newcomer Swann took 4 wickets in his first test, wooopady woo.....he is just another example of an over-hyped English new-comer. Swann meant to be an all-rounder, i think Harbhajan is showing Mr Swann how it is done with bat and ball. Take notes swanny!

    Finally India's Batting line up: Best it has been in years, with contributions from everyone on a consistent level (including the Tail). Players are putting their hand up and being counted.

    No need to criticise and be negative towards the India team, when they are only taking huge strides to be the number one team, instead Mr/Mrs Stazz please encourage and support our India in reaching the summit of International Cricket!

    All the best,


  • Comment number 22.

    Great test and great result
    Just one comment on the present old boys network going on in the team - surely not even Flintoff thinks that he is better for the team at number 6 than Prior.

    Prior's wicket was wasted in both innings and in both cases Fred's arrival led to a plummeting of confidence and stalling of run rates.
    Prior playing in his positive and sensible manner at 6 would have kept the momentum.

    As has always been the case the England batting line up looks good with Flintoff at 7 - it most certainly does not with him at 6.

    In a similar vein but with lesser effect, Harmison's lack of knuckle is best served at 10 or 11 and Jimmy certainly deserves a little leg up above him

  • Comment number 23.

    adam are you related to d r a mountford ex principal of sherwood college nainital. time to look up your family tree. you can visit both sherwood [nainital] and visit him in simla i think.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'd just like to give my 2 cents here and say that England are basing their approach to test cricket around Australia.

    As South Africa would tell you...that's not a good idea without Shane Warne or Glen Mcgrath in your team....

    But what I can say is that Kevin Pietersen is an Excellent Captain who produced an innings any englishman would be proud of and that he is the man to take the country forward...

    saying that...I believe India are the next Superpower in Cricket and Australia need to get back in the nets...

  • Comment number 25.



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