Named 'Green Park' in the pre-Independence era for its greenery, the stadium was once called "Green Park is evergreen for India" by noted cricket commentator Maharaj Vijayanagaram 'Vizzy'.
The fresh look and the touch of greenery added to the ground's appeal on Sunday, which happens to be the only Test centre in the state. The industrial city too, wore a festive look with banners carrying slogans like "Kanpurites salute the friendship of cricket between Indo-Pak" and special messages for Dhoni & Co. around the stadium gave an insight into Kanpur's fascination for the game.
Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan turned out to be the biggest entertainers during Team India's innings with superb sixes all around the ground. Yuvraj struck three sixes, two off Abdul Rehman, while Dhoni and Pathan smashed two sixes each. Dhoni's sixes off his counterpart Shoaib Malik were a treat to watch. Yuvaj's third six off Shahid Afridi too went into the stands. Prior to that, Sourav Ganguly hit Umar Gul for a six early in the innings and later Robin Uthappa struck the last and the ninth six of the Indian innings off Rehman.
Setting new standards
Team India surpassed their highest total here, managing 294/6. The last time India scored 250-plus was in 1989 against England when Chetan Sharma hit an unbeaten 101 in India's win.
Trouble with the sightscreen haunted cricketers and match officials alike. Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar raised objections over adjustment of the screens on both sides. In the sixth over, umpire Ian Gould and Shoaib Malik had to tell the authorities to remove unwanted spectators in front of the sightscreen at the media end.
Security agencies, especially the Uttar Pradesh Police, appeared more concerned about security arrangements of Chief Minister Mayawati, who was here to give man-of-the-match prize.
"We are not concerned about the match or the cricketers, our emphasis is to ensure adequate security for behanji as she is our 'Big Boss'," said a senior officer posted inside the stadium.
"If she is happy with the security arrangements here, we'll survive, otherwise many of us will have to pay the price," he added. Such was their concern that they didn't even spare journalists carrying laptops. One of the reporters was asked to operate the machine at the entrance.
Sleuths of the local intelligence units (LIU) visited the media centre repeatedly to check what the reporters were doing on their laptops. As was expected, their targets were Pakistani journalists.
Almost 60,000 spectators turned up at the stadium, though it can entertain just about 40,000, including the 5,000 VIPs. Even though many enthusiasts kept waiting outside in anticipation of gaining admittance, that never happened.
Trying time for cops
Haider Naqvi/Wali Siddiqi add:
Rohit Sharma and Rudra Pratap Singh gave policemen a scare ahead of the match. While Sharma, coming from Lucknow in a private taxi, was caught in a traffic snarl, RP Singh gave security personnel a slip to visit the famous Anandeshwar temple on Saturday night. While Sharma contacted SSP Rajeev Sabharwal, RP returned after a while on his own.