Pakistan Tour (UAE) 2015
How to Lose a Test Match in Forty Five Minutes
The temptation to sleep in is compelling, but Mr Blade is up with the lark after a successful nights camel racing and he urges me down to breakfast, where we meet Freddie and Tremers. After our taxi has set off for the ground Freddie discovers that he has left his cricket bag in the hotel breakfast room so a u-turn is required and today our journey takes much longer than the customary 45 minutes.
Our three younger Addis members, namely PC Tintin, Tufty and Luke, are on a ‘brunch’ session today, and will not be joining us at the cricket.
'Brunch’ seems to be a particularly popular activity on Fridays in Dubai and for about £50 consists of a three hour unlimited food and alcoholic drink session for westerners whilst the locals are at prayer.
I dread to think what sort of state these three will be in tomorrow, but in the event they miss a good day’s cricket.
The morning session is extended to two and a half hours to accommodate an hour’s prayers at 12.30.
During that period Pakistan are unexpectedly bowled out for 378, with six wickets falling as the England bowlers make hay.
My personal highlight occurs when Shafiq is felled by a full toss from Wood which hits him on the knee.
As he hits the dirt and writhes on the ground in agony Mr Blade observes:
“That lad’s started his prayers early!”
After lunch England get off to a sticky start with Moeen and Bell falling cheaply, but the ever reliable Cook and Root take us forward steadily.
We are sat on the upper level of the ground and during the afternoon a drunken Fosters fan from the Fylde and his equally drunken mate cavort like Frodo and Gollum at the Cracks of Doom next to the precariously low front barrier fence – which is all that separates them from a fall to certain death on the concrete below.
The security staff from ‘Ask’ watch on, doing absolutely nothing….they must be preoccupied with more pressing health & safety concerns, like confiscating sandwiches and bottles of water.
Some other drunken and very silly English boys, with baseball caps on the wrong way round, make complete knobs of themselves trying unsuccessfully to make a beer snake from the limited supply of empty paper cups.
Again Mr Blade to the fore:
“Daddy must be an Investment Banker!”
At the close of play Cook has made a fine 65, and Root is 76 not out as England finish on a respectable and competitive 182-3.
A positive result looks possible – could this be Mr Blade’s elusive first away Test victory at last?
Sharing the dismay felt by Tremers over Ian Bell’s failure today, and the possible end of his England career, I decide to stay in tonight to watch the camel racing and treat myself to beans on toast for tea.
Mr Blade is now full of his own beans once again, and heads out with Freddie and Tremers to a beach bar named Barista, which sounds as though it serves coffee.
It must be very good coffee, as Mr Blade didn’t get in until 4am.