The Hyderabad test had everything and went down as one of the all-time great matches..
As we made our decent to Hyderabad the Captain came over the tannoy with the weather – 21 degrees and hazy. This was their interpretation of smog but it was nice to leave the London weather behind. We looked forward to five test matches with optimism, personally I thought it would be a great contest, but we would see.
We decided to treat our clients to a box with hospitality which went down extremely well as it wasn’t easy to purchase food, as there was either long queues or lack of choice. We had typical Indian cuisine and the box was equipped with a fridge full of a variety of soft drinks and a TV, which was handy as it was about 10 seconds behind!
On a pitch that was thought to break up, England went in with three spinners; one making his debut. After being bowled out for 248 India were 116/1 at close. I think all of us thought the worst, but cricket has a habit of going one way and then the other, and so it proved, Ollie Pope with an exceptional 198 gave England a lead which, with the worsening conditions could be tricky. Up stepped Hartley on debut to bag 7 wickets for 62. Quite a feat as he and Ahmed looked nervous in the first innings. I thought it was a gamble taking three youngsters to India, I would had gone with the reliable Dawson & Jacks, they would also make the batting line up considerably stronger. We all have our opinions and with this test match the gamble paid off. England batted & fielded exceptionally in the second innings winning the first test match in India for years. It was an excellent match and a great advertisement for test cricket! With great crowds along the way, it was one of those “I was there” test matches.
Following on from the test match we had one and a half day’s of sightseeing taking in all the sights that Hyderabad had to offer, and some non touristy hidden gems.
The 2nd test was looming.