I first went to the Oval in the summer of 1989 to watch the touring Aussies. I can’t remember the details, but I strongly suspect they ground us into the earth that day, as they spent most of the tour doing just that.
Most of my seats at the Oval down the years have been in the vicinity of the scoreboard in front of the gas holder on this picture. Perhaps my most abiding memory, however, is from seats close to the pavilion in 2005 against the Australians (yes, them again). As I gazed absent-mindly towards the dressing rooms and balconies before the day’s play began, I suddenly realised I was staring straight at Shane Warne.
And how exactly was the world’s greatest ever spin bowler breakfasting in the twilight of his international career? With at least four rounds of white toast and a bottle of Coca-Cola. At least he wasn’t texting at the time.