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Frenzy at India-Australia cricket match

The throbbing of a drum one floor below the press box at the Wanderers had even the stoic and staid journalists tapping their feet.

music Updated: Oct 21, 2011 02:38 IST
Jaideep Ghosh
Jaideep Ghosh
Wanderers,drums,hindustan Times

The throbbing of a drum one floor below the press box at the Wanderers had even the stoic and staid journalists tapping their feet. There is no better feeling to be out in the open when India are playing, and even when the Australians were hammering away early on, the drum never stopped.

The press box is the perfect place to sit and watch the game, high on the third tier of the big stadium. And if you get a bit tired of it all, you can always go around, soaking in the colour and the atmosphere.

Sky blue, saffron, white and green --- the predominant colours of the tournament --- punctuated with some splashes of gold and green of the Australian fans. Chants, roars and groans provided the orchestra for the drama being enacted out in the middle.

All of this threatened to go underwater on Saturday night as a deluge hit Jo'burg. Flashes and lightning, thunder and blinding rain left not only the captains of the two teams, but also the organisers, sponsors, journalists and all those who have come from thousands of miles away to watch this, awake late into the night.

The rain did not stop till around 6.30 a.m. on Sunday, and the clouds broke, to bathe the Wanderers in glorious sunshine, even though the threat of rain late in the afternoon had everyone worried.

The National Anthems of the two teams were played before the beginning of the game and Jana Gana Mana reverberated through the stands. If there were any games to be won for patriotic fervour, India were already home.

One thing about the Indian fans --- there are no better in the world. They cheered for their side, but also applauded honestly for the rivals. It was all in good spirit, and smiles were alive even when the chips were down.

But the enthusiasm lowered as the Aussie score rose. Soon, 300 and plenty more was very much on the cards, and the noise lessened, only rising to laud an occasional piece of fielding.

By the end of the Australian innings, even the Indians were clapping for the opponents. When you can't beat them, join them.

Then the rain came, and a pretty heavy shower forced the players off the field. Not even the farmers of Lagaan would have welcomed the downpour so. The stadium exploded in a roar. This was it! We will come back on Monday! Sadly, no! The rain went as quickly as it had come, and after 25 minutes, the players were back on the field. It was business as usual.

First Published: Mar 24, 2003 00:19 IST