Day 2 of the Test starts in usual fashion with my 4.30am wake up call from the mosque, an uneasy hung-over lie in ,a skipped breakfast and cycle rickshaw trip to the ground.
When we arrive we find the Barmy Army ( well those within the clique, anyway ) dressed as Australians for the day – what jolly fun and its for a good cause as explained at length to Sky TV.
Several Aussie songs are duly mimicked in the “ Warnie” high-pitched voice.
Bangladesh bat on today much longer than expected and reach 400+ leaving those selfish people ( not me I hasten to add ) who have travelled here simply to improve their away Test win average feeling a little nervous.
When England bat early wickets are lost meaning a slow, pedestrian crawl towards the Bangladeshi target.
During the day a Bangladeshi man comes round the stand obtaining “autographs” from the England fans – after a little bemusement most people sign his sheet with their name or nickname and which
county they support. Apart that is from Gaz the Diplomat , who has apparently never been in a fight , and over beers later confesses he had considered signing his identity as “ Jon Venables “.
Highlight of today is the Premier League fixture between Manchester United and Liverpool which is being screened on our rooftop bar after the cricket and as there is sure to be a large crowd I leave the cricket before stumps to reserve a table near the small portable TV for our group.
When everyone arrives a little later we have a grandstand view of the TV with only one table in front of us – occupied by Liverpool supporters.
With the Diplomat singing anti-scouse songs at every opportunity and with my own seething discontent at the early Liverpool goal this promises to be a lively evening but we are all defused by a power cut on 30 minutes which turns off all lights and electrical appliances in the hotel. When normal service is resumed ,United win 2-1 and this leads to a fairly happy, heavy drinking session.
Staying in our hotel is a very big lad from Yorkshire who has a distinct look of Kevin Pietersen and certainly does not try to hide this resemblance in the way he dresses , with an England shirt , white casual shell pants and Elton John style sunglasses normally a feature. Today is his birthday, and he celebrates by getting extremely drunk and falling into a group of plant-pots on the roof. Then , when everyone is concerned as to how much he may have hurt himself , he rises Lazarus-like from the plant-pot jungle to continue drinking, cuts, bruises and all. They breed ‘em tough oop North!
Day 3 of the cricket sees the continuance of the long, slow England innings but we do manage eventually to overhaul Bangladesh despite the rather negative approach , which of course is seized upon in the press box. More pencil sharpening. The knives are out. It’s all Alastair Cook’s fault!
A grafting batting performance from Tim Bresnan here should warrant a mention, out for 91, as it’s unlikely he will ever have a better chance of a Test century , batting as he does so low down the order
On the rooftop bar that night Wycombe distinguishes himself with his impression of a Scottish Fagin with the generosity squeezed out by asking the Bangladeshi waiter for receipts to claim back on expenses for his meal – costing 60p – and his reluctantly purchased round of beers – costing £3-80.
The waiter has great difficulty in explaining satisfactorily why the hotel is unable to issue such receipts and Wycombe becomes irate.
Perhaps if the waiter had known the Bangladeshi / English translation for :
“ Im sorry Sir, but the hotel isn’t licensed to sell alcohol so it wouldn’t be the brightest idea for me to start handing out receipts for Heineken beer in case the authorities find out & close us down and I and all the other staff lose our jobs”.
Things would have gone more smoothly that evening in his relationship with our budding journalist.
The quote of the day, and in fact any day , comes from the Diplomat, who, when asked if he will be attending the return Test fixture at Old Trafford in June responds thus :
“ This may sound a bit gay , but I’ve got a Chinese cookery lesson that Saturday morning”.
DHAKA DAILY STAR 23rd March – CROWD CASTIGATE CALAMITY COOK CRICKET CRAWL.