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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Aussies enjoy carnival atmosphere
By Scott Heinrich
BBC Sport in Bridgetown

Pedestrians have it tough when Test match cricket comes to Barbados.

When Kensington Oval is packed to the brim - as it was on Thursday against Australia - nearby pavements are perfectly legal places to park your car.

The Fanatics cheer on the tourists
Australia's Fanatics enjoyed another good day at the cricket

"It's normal for people to park wherever they can. When the cricket is on, anything goes," my taxi driver tells me.

Approaching the ground through the side streets of Bridgetown, it was apparent that everything was indeed going on.

Kensington Oval's inner periphery is lined with vendors selling beer and soft drinks - some with stalls, some with buckets and ice.

In energy-sapping humidity and 90 degree heat, their presence is welcome.

The arterials surrounding the ground are transformed into a marketplace with anything from inflatable cricket bats to grilled flying fish and rice available to buy.

Inside the picturesque arena, a touring group of Aussie fans, aptly named the Fanatics, colour in one quarter of the 3Ws stand with their bright yellow shirts.

The Fanatics are a bit like England's Barmy Army, except you'll find them at any event of any sport, anywhere in the world, that a team representing Australia are playing.

Their cheers and surprisingly tuneful renditions of Waltzing Matilda are set against the boisterous noise of the local crowd.

Best appeals in vain
Tino Best had mixed fortunes on his first day of Test cricket

Horns, whistles and vocal encouragement produced by lungs the size of basketballs collaborate to make the sound of a day at the cricket, West Indies style.

In between overs, 30-second blasts of calypso music from huge speakers next to the Greenidge & Haynes stand make the scoreboard shake.

The throng of Barbadians in the Banks Beer stand greet Omari Banks' first ball in Test cricket with raucous applause.

It seems a nice touch, until lunch, tea and casually run singles are met with equal enthusiasm.

Banks, the beer not the cricketer, is brewed on the island and was clearly in plentiful supply.

When Ricky Ponting scored the single that brought up his third century in three Tests on tour, the locals cheered.

When Barbados-born debutant Tino Best effected a brilliant run-out of Ponting later on, they cheered louder.

Barbadians truly love their cricket.





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