Passion, patriotism, lots of people... and picky police

Security was tight for yesterday's match as half of India struggled to get inside a stadium designed for 28,000

Long before Sachin Tendulkar gave a public demonstration of the fallibility of gods, there were thousands of mere mortals outside the PCA ground here. Most of them were either policemen or soldiers.

Somewhere in the undergrowth were members of the Special Weapons and Tactics group (SWT), the crack unit of the Punjab, whose chief membership criterion appears to be a height of above 6ft. The job of the less elite, smaller units was to let people into the ground only at a pinch.

It used to be the case in India that things got done only after 10 people had stamped the same piece of paper in a different place. This has altered as the country has grown in efficiency with the burgeoning of the middle classes.

But the belief that a job is worth doing only if it is done at least three times still exists and has now extended to bag searching. Such was the perceived threat of violent interference in this match that it was impossible to get far on the approach to the ground without being instructed to reveal the contents of whatever receptacle was being carried.

It was a little much to be examined rigorously twice on the same trestle table, one chap having watched his colleague a full yard away empty the contents of the satchel and then insisting on doing the same after they had been re-packed.

The advice was to reach the ground no later than 10.30, four hours before the match was due to start. Most of the 28,000 ticket holders answered the call, as did what seemed as many again non-ticket holders. The only place to be in the environs of Chandigarh yesterday was the cricket ground and people were drawn there as they were to the alien spaceship in The Day the Earth Stood Still. There was nothing to see but other people, battered cars and tuk-tuks – the roads to within a mile around the ground were closed, but that did not stop them.

From some way out, before the Prime Ministers of both countries were presented to the teams in a spirit of reconciliation which perhaps should not be underestimated but will not either bring about a common accord between the nations, the atmosphere was electrifying.

But for all the passion and patriotism on show it was not quite like Pretoria 2003 or even Manchester 1999. Those were the last occasions the sides met in the World Cup and they stick in the memory because citizens of countries were there, side by side, almost in equal measure (also at the Manchester game the Old Trafford authorities memorably thought it was a wizard idea to offer pork pies as lunch to scores of Asian journalists). Here it was, more or less, India, India all the way.

The show, when it got underway at last, was Sachin's. For a man in whom millions have unfettered faith, he invited disbelief. He played as a man with feet of clay. It was as if the event had overwhelmed him. But the gods obviously look after their own and he was dropped four times. It really was unbelievable. The only surprise – the gods teasing us perhaps – was that Tendulkar was out 15 short of what would have been his 100th international hundred.

There was a note of deep irony about Tendulkar's innings. It is generally considered that the reason India refuse to countenance the umpire decision review system in their matches is because Tendulkar resists, having not had the rub of the green in the early experimental days. When he was on 23, the umpire Ian Gould gave him out lbw and it looked stone dead.

He reviewed and the hawkeye gizmo astonishingly showed the ball missing leg stump. This could not have been mere technology but another example of divine intervention on behalf of club members.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home