Sir Lanka at the home of cricket

Photographer Steven Paston provides some insight into covering a cricket test match.

“I have just spent the past week virtually camped out at Lord’s for England’s First Test against Sri Lanka. Cricket is not one of my favourite sports to cover, as I don’t completely understand of all the rules and tactics involved. However Lord’s is one of the nicer venues to shoot at so I am happy to go along and try to shoot a nice set of pictures.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 12/6/14 General view of a spectator during play Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston  EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“The first two days involve ‘nets’ session with both squads, these can be quite dull as the sessions last around three hours for each team, and consists of the warm up, throwing and catching drills, and a batting session in the nets. Trying to shoot good pictures can be difficult especially when the players go into the nets, as you can’t see their faces clearly and they tend to be some distance away, requiring you to shoot on a long lens. There is also the issue of keeping the images fresh, and saving something for the second day so that you don’t end up with an identical set of pictures two days running.”

 

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 13/6/14 England’s Matt Prior looks dejected as he is caught by Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva (C) off the bowling of Shaminda Eranga Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“One of the positives of shooting nets is that I know I will be back here for the next week so I bring most of my photography equipment with me on the first day, and store it in a locker in the media centre. This means I don’t have to carry my tripod, 600mm lens, seat, and the rest of my gear every day on the rush hour tube. All I need is my laptop and a small bag. This must be what it feels like to be a journalist!”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 16/6/14 General view of spectators during play Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“On day one of the Test match itself, and an early start with ‘roll call’ at 9.30am to decide where we would like to sit. I chose to shoot towards the pavilion end, but I soon began to regret my choice due to the weather. It was one of the hottest days of the year and I got sunburnt quite badly on my knees and arms, much to the amusement of some fellow photographers who gave me a bit of stick about spending too much time shooting indoor sports like darts and snooker! I was rewarded at the end of the day as England’s Joe Root celebrated making his century by running towards our end, and I was doubly pleased as I had a remote camera positioned up high which captured a nice clean image too.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 12/6/14 England’s Joe Root celebrates reaching his century Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 12/6/14 England’s Joe Root celebrates reaching his century Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“After learning my lesson in the sun, I chose to sit at the opposite end the next day. This also turned out to be good choice as Joe Root went on to make a double century and this time he celebrated back towards the dressing room. This picture was published at full page in The Sun newspaper the following day.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 13/6/14 England’s Joe Root celebrates making his double century Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“On the third day I went for a position on the other side of the pavilion, beneath the Sri Lanka dressing room. This proved to be another good choice as Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara made his first ever century at Lord’s. For a player of that quality it made a nice moment as he celebrated with his teammate Mahela Jayawardene straight towards me.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 14/6/14 Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara celebrates his century with Mahela Jayawardene Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“Don’t ask me how but the first Test seemed to be all about century celebrations. On the fourth day I captured Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews at my end, and then a couple of hours later England’s Gary Ballance reached his maiden century in just his second Test for England. This made for a great picture, and again I had a remote camera positioned high up in the stands providing a wide angle showing the crowd cheering him on.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 15/6/14 England’s Gary Ballance celebrates making his maiden century in Test match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – Lord’s – 15/6/14 England’s Gary Ballance celebrates making his maiden century in Test match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“One thing I particularly like about Lord’s as a venue is the some of the off pitch elements which make nice pictures. I always look out for interesting shots of the architecture of the stadium, the MCC members in their regulation red and gold blazers, and any celebrities watching in the stands. On day four former England batsman Kevin Pietersen sat in a box alongside journalist Pier Morgan, and considering how KP was dropped from the England team after the last Ashes series, there was a good chance that this would get picked up by the newspapers the following day.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 13/6/14 General view of MCC Members before the start of play Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“At the start of the Test it was blue skies, boiling hot and the stadium was packed. By the fifth day it was cold, overcast, windy and half empty. Not what you expect (or hope for) in June but this is the UK summer after all!”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – Lord’s – 16/6/14 England’s Chris Jordan celebrates after bowling out Sri Lanka’s Prasanna Jayawardene (not pictured) lbw Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“After five days, and with Sri Lanka batting, it looked like the tourists were set to claim a draw but England had other ideas. With excellent bowling from James Anderson, Chris Jordan and Stuart Broad it looked like there could be an England win on the cards. I managed to shoot some good wicket pictures, and not being an expert on cricket I relied heavily on CricInfo to help me caption my images.”

England v Sri Lanka - Investec Test Series First Test
Cricket – England v Sri Lanka – Investec Test Series First Test – LordÕs – 16/6/14 England’s Stuart Broad celebrates bowling out Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Pradeep (not in picture) only for the decision to be overturned Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“Another reason I’ve never particularly liked Test cricket is the slow and defensive style of play, but with England running out of overs and needing just two more wickets to win, it was getting interesting. Even with the half full Monday crowd the atmosphere was building. As Broad claimed another wicket, time was running out, and with just two balls remaining he thought he had bowled Nuwan Pradeep, only for the umpire to overturn the decision. The final ball was bowled and it was all over. After five days of play the result was a draw. If the teams had played like that last 40 minutes over the whole match I might get into Test cricket, but then I guess it wouldn’t be Test cricket.”

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Sir Lanka at the home of cricket

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