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Thursday, July 17, 2014

India play England at Lords - the previous Centurions and more...

The 1st Investec Test at Trentbridge ended in a draw ~ but appears –far from over …today – the 2nd Test begins at Lords … the most valued ground ! …. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws of the game. Founded in 1787, it has been recognised as the sole authority on the Laws of Cricket since its foundation and it moved to its current home at Lord’s in 1814. There are 18,000 Full and 5,000 Associate Members of MCC. Those Members own the Ground and all MCC’s assets (the most famous of which is the Ashes Urn). The Club invests around £2 million in the game each year, funding elite youth cricket and promoting the game.  As important to the Club as the future of cricket, is the preservation of its past. MCC owns the most comprehensive collection of cricket artefacts and books in the world, housed in its Museum and Library at Lord’s.

The dominant building is the terracotta-coloured pavilion, built in 1890 and still one of world sport's most recognisable structures. Going round the ground in a clockwise direction, next to the pavilion is the Warner Stand, opened in 1958 and named after the eminent player and administrator Sir Pelham "Plum" Warner. The far end - the Nursery - is enclosed by the Compton and Edrich Stands, a pair of low-level two-tier stands built in 1990 which are remarkably similar to those they replaced. The Nursery itself is named after Henderson's agricultural nursery which was acquired in 1887.

Lord's Cricket Ground, generally known as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Lord's today is not on its original site, being the third of three grounds that Lord established between 1787 and 1814.  The current ground celebrated its two hundredth anniversary in 2014. To mark the occasion, on 5th  July a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI captained by Sachin Tendulkar played a Rest of the World XI led by Shane Warne in a 50 overs match. International cricket at Lord’s generates millions of pounds for the local economy, according to a study commissioned by MCC.

Today, for the 2nd Test between India and England, legend Rahul Dravid will ring the bell. Dravid  has a long history with MCC, having earned Honorary Life Membership of the Club in 2008. The tradition of inviting former players or people with a strong association with the game to ring the five minute bell was introduced in 2007 by former MCC Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw. Ahead of the start of the Second Investec Test MCC has announced a virtual sell out for days one to four, with 7,500 tickets sold for day five. With capacity crowds for the first four days of both Sri Lanka and India Test matches this year, the economy also thrives.  

According to the Lord’s website, the play starts every day at 11.00 am – lunch is at :  1:00-1:40pm; , Tea at 3:40-4:00pm ~ game closes at 6.00 pm or after 90 overs have been bowled (whichever is the later) - play shall not continue beyond 6:30pm. Gates open at 9:00am each day for MCC Members, and 9:15am for all other ticket-holders. Each spectator is permitted to bring 2 pints of beer or 75cl of wine into the Ground on entry. Amounts of alcohol in excess of this will be confiscated. In addition, public bars around the Ground (including the new Bicentenary Bar located under the Mound Stand) are open from 11:00am until the close of play, and offer a selection of food and drink. St John’s Wood is the closest tube station (approximately 5 minutes walk), and Warwick Avenue, Marylebone, Edgware Road and Baker Street are all within 15 minutes’ walk. Free Wifi is available around the ground via The Cloud. There is plenty of entertainment on offer away from the action on each day of the match. At the Harris Garden, the John Barnes Outswingers band will be entertaining the crowd as they enter the ground, with a wide variety of entertainment available on the outfield during the lunch interval each day. There will be book signings taking place during the lunch intervals of the first four days just outside the Main Shop behind the Mound Stand. Former Australian captain Steve Waugh will be signing his book 'The Meaning of Luck' on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 July, with TMS commentator Henry Blofeld signing 'Squeezing the Orange' on Saturday 19. Former England captain Andrew Strauss will be signing copies of 'Lord's: A Celebration in Pictures' on Sunday 20 July.

Women have played international cricket at Lord’s since August 1976, when England beat Australia by eight wickets in a one day international. To conclude, a century at Lords  is what every batsmen would be proud of : 10 centuries have been made by Indians – the 1st one being by Vinoo Mankad in 1952 – Dilip Vengsarkar proudly has 3; Sourav Ganguly, Azharuddin, Dravid, Gundappa Vishwanath, Ravi Shastri have all made 1; the surprise in the list – is the last centurion in 2002 – Ajit Agarkar !!

In July 2002, England batting first made 487, thanks to Nasir Hussain 155; India made 221 (Sehwag 84); in the 2nd, England aided by centuries by Vaughan and Crawley declared at 301/6. Set to score 568 – Indians were all out for 397 – Agarkar remaining unbeaten on 109.

Will there be more Indian centuries and will India reverse the trend and win a Test here ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

17th July 2014.

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