Amazingly, I’ve lived in Sri Lanka for over a year and today I watched my first, live cricket match. I’m not sure if I was purposely avoiding it, or if I was waiting for the exact right moment. Well, the right moment was today – the second day of the second test match between Sri Lanka and their longtime rival England in Colombo.
Sri Lanka started the day batting, but could only muster 30-some runs before going all out. The English batsmen took to the crick just before lunch and batted the rest of the day. While the match is still in the balance after day 2, the advantage at this point definitely goes to England as they start day 3 batting with only 1 out (10 outs ends a team’s at-bat).
I won’t get into all the specifics and cricket ‘laws’ (not rules, they’re called laws in cricket), but here are a few of my observations from the seven-hour match:
- England cricket fans travel well. The Barmy Army fan club was visible and audible from the first bowl to the last over. (Not bad use of the lingo?) Hats off to the Army’s trumpeter who played all requests thrown his way.
- Sri Lankan cricket fans don’t go to watch live cricket. My guess is the 5,000 rupee ticket price was the reason there were only a handful of locals in attendance.
- There are a lot of fat guy English cricket fans. And the hot weather didn’t help as shirts were certainly optional.
- Most cricketers are pretty tall, fit-looking athletes. A few of the guys colour outside of the lines a bit in their uniforms, but that doesn’t matter if you can put a wicked spin on the ball.
- I surprisingly didn’t see any curry stains on the Sri Lankans white uniforms.
- Test cricket’s strict ‘laws’ and orderly play (a drink break every hour, a 40-minute lunch break sharp at noon, tea break at 3 and ending play at 5), is in stark contrast to Sri Lanka’s unpredictable and spontaneous culture. A very ying-yang relationship.
- It’s a must to sit close to a TV and watch the replays. The ball is just whipped in there too fast to see what’s going on live.
- The fielders are great athletes and they make a lot of difficult, diving stops.
- A big thank you to Richard, my cricket guru for the day. He put up with all my simple questions and even let me use his binoculars.
Not sure if I’ll go to another match, but I’m not ruling it out. I’ll wait and see if the right moment hits me again.