Angus Fraser: Even at Lord's it was time for a Guinness. Ireland beating England really is cricket
Thursday 03 March 2011
At Lord's Cricket Ground, we didn't know whether to laugh or cry as Ireland breathtakingly and brilliantly defeated England in Bangalore at the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
After watching England's batsmen amass 327 and then seeing Andrew Strauss's experienced bowlers steadily working their way through Ireland's largely green batting, the focus of the workforce at the "Home of Cricket" began to return to their in-trays.
But then, a first win over England appearing nothing more than a forlorn dream, and his side reduced to 111-5, Kevin O'Brien strode to the crease and decided to have a go. And boy did he have a go. Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting have all attempted to bat with such grace and brutality in cricket's premier tournament, but none has come close to a century in 50 balls. The name O'Brien is now attached to the record for the fastest ton in World Cup history.
As O'Brien connected with the initial few balls he faced, everybody thought his efforts would amount to nothing more than a defiant gesture. Strauss would have thought it only a matter of time before the Dubliner slogged one up in the air. As his innings progressed, however, and the text messages of "Are you watching this?" began to flash around, concentration on work began to diminish. For a while you relent but then, suddenly, you make a decision – "I've got to watch this".
Lord's is a fascinating place to be as a wonderful game unfolds. Suddenly, this prestigious corner of St John's Wood goes quiet. You no longer hear or see people walking around the ground. Groups gather around televisions. Even the Pavilion stewards leave the back door unguarded so they can watch the action on a TV in the old Library.
But few believed Ireland would win. It is one thing getting close, another holding your nerve and getting over the line. But get over they did, and with ease in the end.
Now the game is over and we make our way back to our work stations. Conversations about the game are a mixture of criticism of England and "good on Ireland". The silver lining for everyone at Lord's is that Kevin O'Brien was an MCC Young Cricketer a few years ago. Clive Radley, the former MCC head coach, becomes the reason for his brilliance. England have lost but the feel-good factor is high.
Before you know it, it's 6pm – but work can wait until tomorrow. I'm going for a pint of Guinness.
Angus Fraser, the former England bowler, is managing director of Middlesex Cricket Club and an 'Independent' writer
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
Mesut Ozil reveals he really is the Superman at Arsenal, Jack Wilshere is Batman and don't make Lukas Podolski angry - it's the Arsenal Christmas Party
Transfer news: Liverpool - January transfer targets
Missing out on Tottenham job was a 'close shave', says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
The most underrated players in the Premier League
Transfer news: Chelsea - January transfer targets
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend