Queues match anticipation for final day at Lord's

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The Independent Online

Fans were advised not to travel to Lord's this morning if they were not already in the queue to get into the ground for the final day of the historic 2,000th Test.

The home of cricket's official Twitter feed estimated 20,000 people were waiting in line with two hours still to go before the start of play between England and India.

The queue snaked down all sorts of side streets in the St John's Wood area of London and it was beginning to look likely many of those waiting would face disappointment.

There was a heavy police and stewarding presence to direct people to the back of the line, although that did not stop some trying to entice passers by into helping them secure more than one ticket.

Touts were also expected to attempt to exploit the cash-only entry price of £20 for adults, £10 for over-65s and free admission to under-16s.

There was certainly plenty of value to be had on 'People's Monday', with England fans looking to see their side wrap up victory in an enthralling first Test.

India supporters arrived in hope of witnessing an improbable turnaround and, arguably more importantly, a landmark century for Sachin Tendulkar.

The 'Little Master' failed to register his 100th international ton in his side's first innings on Saturday, a day that saw tickets reportedly exchange hands for up to £900.

Tendulkar was unlikely to bat before lunch due to rules which prevented him occupying the crease until around 2pm, or until five wickets had fallen.

That was after he was unable to field for two sessions yesterday due to a viral infection.

Tendulkar's popularity was demonstrated when he was treated to a hero's welcome after emerging onto the Nursery Ground for a net session.

England needed nine wickets today to take a 1-0 series lead after setting India a world record fourth-innings victory target of 458.

The tourists would resume this morning on 80 for one, with Rahul Dravid (34 not out) and VVS Laxman (32 not out) at the crease.

The first fans arrived at 2am, with 20,000 tickets on sale at 8.30am.

England fans Andy Littlefair, 26, and James Forrester, 21, arrived this morning on the first train from Hull to queue for tickets.

The pair, who decided to make the trip while playing club cricket yesterday afternoon, were hoping to see a home win.

"We were up at 5am this morning and on the way before we were really awake. We heard the score while we were fielding yesterday and decided to make the trip. It seemed like a good idea in the pub last night," said Littlefair.

"The queues have been unbelievable but if England can get nine wickets, it will be worth the effort."

There was an even spread of fans supporting both sides, with India fan Takhiri, 47, hoping his two sons would get the chance to see Tendulkar at his best.

"We have driven over two hours from Winchester and queued for another three hours at the ground," he said.

"We have come to watch some great batting and it would be great for my children to see Tendulkar.

"They have been to three matches before but this should be the best one yet."