Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cricket in Galle

Day 1 of the Galle test between Sri Lanka and Australia saw the Waving The Flag crew don their crazy and colourful (and not all good looking) tour issued Bent Benani shirts for the day of cricket.

Grabbing a tuk tuk from Unawatuna to the ground, Laura, Spreads and I soon joined the group in the stand, for a colourful section of loud shirts. With the covers on the ground due to the light showers around, we waited out the short rain delay, before being amazed at the efficiency and number of the ground staff guiding off the sheets protecting the pitch and outfield. After the Aussie cricket team presented the Baggy Green to the two test debutants on the crowd, Luke then issued the Flaggy Green to the new Flaggers on tour.

Sitting in the stand, sweltering under the tin roof and the humidity, once the game started it was hard to focus on the play! To the left of us was the hustle and bustle of the Galle traffic in front of the ground and bus station, directly in front beyond the ground was the ocean, with waves crashing, and then to the left was the gorgeous old Dutch Fort.

Good starts by Ponting and Hussey, we saw the Aussies post in the first innings, before Sri Lanka come out to commence their innings, only to take the bad light call without a ball bowled, ending the days play. Back to Unawatuna, we had another night of cocktails on the beach, after a swim in the Resort pool with cocktails.

With all the Sheilas in pink for Day 2, I watched debutants Copeland and Lyon take their first wickets, both in their first overs, in the stand with the Flag, before retreating to the other side of the crowd to sit with the girls, and Dave and Dillo and the lads, where it was cooler, with a breeze.

With the beer so very cheap, there was some distinct lack of concentration on the match, however we did mark Lyon's 5 wicket haul in his debut innings. Kylie, Garry, Jai and Taj joined us for the last session, which turned into a silly session indeed! Belinda, Jess, Laura and I joined them after play ended for dinner within the Fort. The Indian food was great, and the boys loved having dinner out with the Sheilas.

Getting into Galle for Day 3, and as it was raining, I decided to explore the Fort for the morning. I walked around the cricket ground, and through the gate in the wall, to wander through the little village inside. Through streets of houses and cafes and shops, I reached the sea edge on the other side, and climbed to the top on the wall and walked along, taking in the sea and city view. Getting to the back of the Fort again, I joined a mini-Flag crew there, as we took in the covered ground below.

With news that the pitch was to be inspected shortly, and then with the umpire decision for play to resume, I sat atop the Fort wall with Fi and Dave, and watched the first session until the innings break. From this position, it was even harder to concentrate on every ball, with so much busy life happening below us on the roads around the ground, and out in the bay to our right. This was exactly why I wanted to come to Galle!

In usual tour form, I was hungover for the days play on Day 4, and missed the end of the match! Oops! Aussies win by 127 runs. I recovered in time for the night's celebrations, this being our new Captain's first victory away from home, and first offical Captain's match. Mirrors of our tour when Ponting acheived his first series win in 2004.

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