Pitches March 2, 2009

The good draw and the bad draw

I have a simple rule to judge a good Test: it must carry the possibility of a result till lunch on the last day
36

Is it just a coincidence or are we entering the dark ages for bowlers? High scores are spreading like a rash. For the first time in the history of Test cricket two scores of 700 have come in consecutive weeks. There had never been a Test featuring scores above 600 and 700, we have now have two in successive weeks.

And who knows where the Lahore Test is headed? I am filled with such dread that I'm not even switching on the TV. Thanks heavens the epidemic hasn't reached Johannesburg yet. Now that's what you call a Test.

Thanks for your thoughts on my earlier posts. We haven't posted only those comments that were offensive: everyone has the right to disagree but not to abuse. And, with hindsight, I can now see why my sentiments about the Karachi pitch might have seemed a bit extreme. My feelings were a bit raw then because after a point every run scored felt like an assault on the senses and a betrayal of Pakistani fans who had waited for Test cricket for so long. But now numbness is taking over.

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the day after I wrote the piece. He didn't mind the Karachi Test as much. The appeal of Test cricket, he argued, was partly that it encompassed the entire range, from two-day shootouts to two-innings batathons, and in fact, the high-scoring draws helped us better appreciate and cherish the beautiful ones. He had a point, but cricket needs to worry when such pitches become the norm.

I'd like to clarify that I have nothing against a draw. Far from it, in fact. Most other sports have found a way to break the stalemate - tie-breakers and shootouts - but the stalemate enhances the allure of cricket. And draws can be absorbing, thrilling and fulfilling. A thrilling draw - like the one in Antigua, where Darren Powell and Fidel Edwards batted out thirty minutes to save West Indies - inevitably lasts the distance. And the second best Test of the 2005 Ashes series, one of the greatest in history, was the draw at Old Trafford.

A good draw doesn't necessarily have to keep one on the very edge. I have a simple rule to judge a good Test: it must carry the possibility of a result till lunch on the last day. As Waqar Younis pointed out, they might well have abandoned the Karachi Test on the fourth evening. That's not good enough.

But enough about what drives us to boredom. Let's move on to something bit more exciting next time.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Riverlime on March 8, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    If you watched the Barbados match you would realise England were LUCKY to cross 400. Edwards had FIVE catches dropped, including topscorer Strauss at 51. The pitch was no belter but it was true. Had Edwards' edges been held, Barbados could have been a crushing defeat for the visitors. The pitch should not be blamed for being flat, but Anglophile reporters should thank the heavens that West Indian fielders apparently were asleep on duty on the first day.

  • bala on March 5, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    I saw the England - Windies match as my expectations had gone up after the exciting draw in the 3rd test.Just could't get myself to watch Pak-Srilanka.It becomes painfully boring to watch batsman clobber bowling relentlessly (unless you are a supporter of the team which is doing all the smashing of course).Anyway I was watching this match and saw Jimmy Anderson bowling impeccable deliveries which would have go him a bag full of wickets in SA.Very sad.

  • Steve Howe on March 3, 2009, 19:01 GMT

    The FA have proposed a "Mercy rule" in football, whereby a game is called off if the score reaches 9-0.

    Perhaps we should apply such a rule (mercy to the spectators) in Test Cricket, obliging a team to declare at 500, and automatically calling the match a draw if both teams reach this figure.

  • John Lias on March 3, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    Note to Rick and your following comment : " No-one was complaining when England scored 600 in the first two days ". Wrong. I was complaining. It was obvious very early on this was going to be a complete non-contest between bat and ball. And I' m English.

  • Preshant Sekar on March 3, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Harvey, the chennai pitch was actually godd against australia(2004 rain disrupted play).it was against Southafrica it was flat.Get ur facts right.

  • Asim on March 3, 2009, 5:34 GMT

    Actually thats what test cricket is all about different pitches, different conditions, sometimes bowlers struggle and sometime batsmen. I think we should keep it that way or otherwise completely stop playing test cricket. If there will be no flat pitches then there will be no records for 300+ innings. If the bowler is good enough then he can get batsmen out on any pitch, Should we start penalizing batsmen for scoring 300?

  • david on March 3, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    Having spent the last few nights flicking the telly between the SA v Aus game and the WI v England game I can't agree more. A pitch when you can score a lot of runs is great as long as the bowler feels he can get you out and you need to play well to get the big scores. The Joburg pitch was outstanding and on the last day all 3 results were genuinely possible. Contrast this with the other game and only 17 wickets fall in 5 days, why bother watch a game like that.

  • Imad on March 3, 2009, 2:55 GMT

    Shame shame Mr Bal. You say only those comments were not posted that were abusive or offensive. I guess when I rationalized that the karachi pitch wasnt all that bad given that both jayawardene and younis got three chances each to pile up runs, the readers would have been really offended!!!! Besides, if the opposing captain chooses to bowl patr timers, it therefore is the batsmen fault for scoring a quick 150 odd.

    In retrospect, this is the closest we'll come to have you apologize for your vitriol laden editorial, so Mr. Bal, on behalf of an offended nation, I accept your ham fisted apology.

    Cheers

  • Rick on March 2, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    No-one was complaining when England scored 600 in the first two days. England had batted well, apparently. The journos only started talking about the flat deck when the Windies did well. Any excuse. Windies are ranked 7th/8th in the world. Mighty England shouldn't be having any trouble, regardless of the pitch.

    Contrast India in New Zealand. Mighty India went down 2-5 and 0-2 in 2002, and blamed the green-tops. They'll be doing the same again soon.

    There's batsmen's wickets, there's bowlers' wickets. Some of each is good. But no excuses.

  • Altamash on March 2, 2009, 22:58 GMT

    Karachi test match did have a posssibility of a result on the fifth day. Ordinary people did not see that but being the aggressive and innovative captain Younis Khan is, he declared the innings and SriLankan batsmen had to fight to save the match. Now, that according to Mr. Bal's definition should qualify as a good draw. Still he keeps on criticising. He is so CONFUSED. Talking about pitches, yes! they are flat nowadays and with more cricket being played they are becoming flatter. Life is slowly and steadily being drained out of them. May be there is a need to lay some new pitches or RElay some old ones because from what I have seen in recent years there have been more results on newer pitches and in new grounds. For example, in Pakistan the pitches in Multan are very young as compared to Karachi and Lahore and 80% of the time there has been a result with only one draw and that too was a GOOD DRAW, Pakistan battling to save the match.

  • Riverlime on March 8, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    If you watched the Barbados match you would realise England were LUCKY to cross 400. Edwards had FIVE catches dropped, including topscorer Strauss at 51. The pitch was no belter but it was true. Had Edwards' edges been held, Barbados could have been a crushing defeat for the visitors. The pitch should not be blamed for being flat, but Anglophile reporters should thank the heavens that West Indian fielders apparently were asleep on duty on the first day.

  • bala on March 5, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    I saw the England - Windies match as my expectations had gone up after the exciting draw in the 3rd test.Just could't get myself to watch Pak-Srilanka.It becomes painfully boring to watch batsman clobber bowling relentlessly (unless you are a supporter of the team which is doing all the smashing of course).Anyway I was watching this match and saw Jimmy Anderson bowling impeccable deliveries which would have go him a bag full of wickets in SA.Very sad.

  • Steve Howe on March 3, 2009, 19:01 GMT

    The FA have proposed a "Mercy rule" in football, whereby a game is called off if the score reaches 9-0.

    Perhaps we should apply such a rule (mercy to the spectators) in Test Cricket, obliging a team to declare at 500, and automatically calling the match a draw if both teams reach this figure.

  • John Lias on March 3, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    Note to Rick and your following comment : " No-one was complaining when England scored 600 in the first two days ". Wrong. I was complaining. It was obvious very early on this was going to be a complete non-contest between bat and ball. And I' m English.

  • Preshant Sekar on March 3, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Harvey, the chennai pitch was actually godd against australia(2004 rain disrupted play).it was against Southafrica it was flat.Get ur facts right.

  • Asim on March 3, 2009, 5:34 GMT

    Actually thats what test cricket is all about different pitches, different conditions, sometimes bowlers struggle and sometime batsmen. I think we should keep it that way or otherwise completely stop playing test cricket. If there will be no flat pitches then there will be no records for 300+ innings. If the bowler is good enough then he can get batsmen out on any pitch, Should we start penalizing batsmen for scoring 300?

  • david on March 3, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    Having spent the last few nights flicking the telly between the SA v Aus game and the WI v England game I can't agree more. A pitch when you can score a lot of runs is great as long as the bowler feels he can get you out and you need to play well to get the big scores. The Joburg pitch was outstanding and on the last day all 3 results were genuinely possible. Contrast this with the other game and only 17 wickets fall in 5 days, why bother watch a game like that.

  • Imad on March 3, 2009, 2:55 GMT

    Shame shame Mr Bal. You say only those comments were not posted that were abusive or offensive. I guess when I rationalized that the karachi pitch wasnt all that bad given that both jayawardene and younis got three chances each to pile up runs, the readers would have been really offended!!!! Besides, if the opposing captain chooses to bowl patr timers, it therefore is the batsmen fault for scoring a quick 150 odd.

    In retrospect, this is the closest we'll come to have you apologize for your vitriol laden editorial, so Mr. Bal, on behalf of an offended nation, I accept your ham fisted apology.

    Cheers

  • Rick on March 2, 2009, 23:34 GMT

    No-one was complaining when England scored 600 in the first two days. England had batted well, apparently. The journos only started talking about the flat deck when the Windies did well. Any excuse. Windies are ranked 7th/8th in the world. Mighty England shouldn't be having any trouble, regardless of the pitch.

    Contrast India in New Zealand. Mighty India went down 2-5 and 0-2 in 2002, and blamed the green-tops. They'll be doing the same again soon.

    There's batsmen's wickets, there's bowlers' wickets. Some of each is good. But no excuses.

  • Altamash on March 2, 2009, 22:58 GMT

    Karachi test match did have a posssibility of a result on the fifth day. Ordinary people did not see that but being the aggressive and innovative captain Younis Khan is, he declared the innings and SriLankan batsmen had to fight to save the match. Now, that according to Mr. Bal's definition should qualify as a good draw. Still he keeps on criticising. He is so CONFUSED. Talking about pitches, yes! they are flat nowadays and with more cricket being played they are becoming flatter. Life is slowly and steadily being drained out of them. May be there is a need to lay some new pitches or RElay some old ones because from what I have seen in recent years there have been more results on newer pitches and in new grounds. For example, in Pakistan the pitches in Multan are very young as compared to Karachi and Lahore and 80% of the time there has been a result with only one draw and that too was a GOOD DRAW, Pakistan battling to save the match.

  • Harvey on March 2, 2009, 22:35 GMT

    It's about time boards got fined for producing these boring pitches that offer nothing for the bowlers. The ICC is quick enough to fine boards for producing bowler-friendly pitches, so why not batsman-friendly ones? A century used to really mean something. Now if a batsman doesn't get one at least every couple of games, his place in the team is under scrutiny. A draw isn't always boring, in fact the potential for a team salvaging a draw is one of the things that makes Test cricket exciting, but we've seen some really awful games recently. I was at Lord's last year v South Africa, and for the first time ever I left the ground early. It was like watching paint dry. I sometimes wonder whether national boards are trying to kill off Test cricket so they can replace it with Twenty20. If they keep producing rubbish pitches like that one at Lord's, Karachi, Barbados, Chennai (v Australia), etc., then they might even succeed.

  • Pragmatist on March 2, 2009, 22:34 GMT

    The Barbados Test would have been better if there had been some decent bowlers on show. England made an ultra-conservative selection. Anderson blows hot and cold - a good first change in a decent team. Sidebottom wasn't fit and is really an English conditions bowler. Broad is ok nut a bit up and down. Perhaps this is a sign of the times - first choice attack injured, go for the safe trundlers. Yes, pitches are a concern, but too much cricket and the toll it takes on the stars is a bigger worry.

  • kumar on March 2, 2009, 21:59 GMT

    The high scoring tests do end up giving some milestones, but in my opinion, the main attraction of the tests are in close fought battles, high-endurance innings under testing conditions, matches with swinging fates....So, the pitches and conditions should be made so that it should have something for everyone, so as to test the grit and quality of batsmen, patience and resourcefulness of bowlers, acumen of the captain....After all, what thrill can be better than a match-saving century amidst team collapse or a nice display of accurate bowling changing the fates of a session. Hope, we see more of johannesberg than lahore in future,only then test matches will be able to save their repute.

  • John Lias on March 2, 2009, 21:49 GMT

    I fully endorse your comments about the pitch. The Barbados test had boring draw written all over it from very early on. I am a lover of West Indies cricket and am extremely pleased to see their improvement over the last year or so but to see only 17 wickets falling in five days is no good for test cricket whatsoever.

  • Faisal on March 2, 2009, 20:41 GMT

    Mr. Bal, i must say, the most unbelievable comment coming from you was about younis batting against bowling machines....Murali and Mendis are no bowling machines....if the article was directed towards the pitches then it would have been only fair to add other tests as well to it...i don't think it was fair to write an aggressive article against Pakistan cricket, especially when we were looking for something positive and something to boast our cricket....i hope you write something about what Pakistani Cricket needs right now rather then just picking out problems....in short at this time, some valuable suggestions would help.

  • Swen on March 2, 2009, 19:51 GMT

    PCB should dump the spineless Keneria. I am sure Pakistan is full of talent, lets not waste everybody's time, get us a match-winner.

  • Theena on March 2, 2009, 19:17 GMT

    I completely agree with Mr Bal. The past few weeks I've been watching these supposed test matches in the Caribbean and Pakistan and filled with such a sense of dread. In days past, I wouldn't have minded, but in this day and age of the T20 cricket, where the supremacy of test cricket is at stake, cricket boards have a responsibility to ensure that test matches are played on sporting pitches. Why this is beyond the comprehension of some boards, especially the Asian ones, cannot provide a decent pitch. As Mr Bal said, I have no problems with draws but I do not want a draw that I can predict three days in advance, sitting on my armchair in my living room. That is a travesty.

  • Muneeb on March 2, 2009, 18:58 GMT

    I much prefer this article Sambit. As a strong supporter of the Pakistani cricket team, your last article came across as a bit too rough. I do understand the underlying point you were trying to make though, and indeed the pitch took something away from younus khan's triple century. For us Pakistani fans though, even a draw against a huge score is a blessing in these tough times. Lahore seems to be headed in the same direction, though I must say I was hoping for more of a classic test match. However, seeing Khurram and Salman out there gaining much needed experience and confidence, was inspiring regardless of the methods in which it came. You must remember that these are the darker days for Pakistan cricket, while our dear neighbors in India are enjoying what I would well describe as golden days of having one of the top squads in the world. When things are in a lull, you take what you can, and harsh criticism only makes things worse. Thank you for this clarifying article.

  • Capswing on March 2, 2009, 18:46 GMT

    A good move would be for all Test countries to use the Duke cricket ball rather than the Kookaburra. The Duke seam is prouder and it lasts longer. As for anyone thinking that the bowlers aren't trying hard enough, you should have watched the pace, accuracy and aggression of Fidel Edwards in Barbados. Anderson tried so hard for England that the great Michael Holding applauded his pace, guile and effort. Pitches with a bit of grass please so that batsmen are tested.

  • bentarm on March 2, 2009, 18:16 GMT

    After 2000 because of such placid pitches i am confused about who the best batsmen in the world is? Every Tom Dick & Harry has a double/triple century and they are all bloody greats...

  • Shobhit on March 2, 2009, 18:15 GMT

    I felt that backlash on your comments on the Karachi test was unwarranted. Its not the high scoring on its own. Its the absolute lack of empathy with the bowlers. When Ramdin's and Samaraweera's of the world have a free run and Sidebottom and Umar Gul are reduced to mere sideshows, it is indeed a Red Flag for test cricket. It is the last format of the game which has any form of justice for the pure bowlers. If pitches like these become the norm, it won't be long before we see batting all rounders replace more and more bowlers in Test matches. Australia have just won a test with just 3 full time bowlers as we speak !

  • Shahid on March 2, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    I think there has been too much attention and focus on inventing new things that will make the shorter version of the game more interesting but the same attention has been lacking from the cricketing authorities to invent new ways to make the test cricket more interesting too. Pitches are just one piece of it.

  • Pro on March 2, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    I still feel your bias showed in your last article, and you have one less person who will consider your words to be important. (Not that it should matter to you). Nice dimplomatic approach to this one by the way, the way to do it is to criticize while you make one side look good. We must remember the last Test match between India and Australia, where many sub-continental critics felt that the pitch in Australia was designed for a run-fest to ensure a draw in favour of Australian series win. Point being, draws can be strategic for a series.

  • Harish_VS on March 2, 2009, 17:18 GMT

    I think the host countries are getting scared of losing, and as a result, flatter pitches are being prepared. In the Barbados Test, English bowling being toothless and spineless did not help the matter at all. Swann alone looked like taking wickets while Sidebottom and Broad looked more like pushovers. Anderson could not get any better. In those days in 80's and 90's, we used to see interesting draws even in flat wickets. Regardless of what the pitch offerred to bolwers, a 450 plus was a good total in those days, bcoz we had great bowlers in all the teams. They bowled tirelessly on any pitches and any weather. People like Harmison collapse if they play just two tests in sub-continent. We have no Wasim Akram or Waqar, Ambrose or Walsh, Mcgrath or Warne, to name a few. So let us shed light on the quality of bowling than blaming on pitches alone. You need mine fields to get results now-a-days.

  • Ramki on March 2, 2009, 17:08 GMT

    I still love test cricket. This is where you see the real talent. I understand in recent times the pitches are more batting friendly. But it is too blame the captian too, to prefer to have such pitches (Example: Younis Khan in the karachi test). ICC needs to seriously think about this and come up with some plans to make Test cricket intresting.

    Still my preference is Test cricket

  • Thejaka Sanjeevana on March 2, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    I watch the match between Sri Lanka & Pakistan from start to end.From that I managed to see world records tumbeling.The world record 4th wicket parnership between Mahela & Samaraweera is so eyectching.They went on attacking the bowlers,it was very interesting.Then came the beautiful innings from the captain of pakistan,it was amezing to see these type of batting.Even though this game was drawn,these type of matches are needed once in a while

  • Syed Kirmani on March 2, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Well to be fair, the Karachi test was not that boring. Look at the backdrop. Pakistan getting a test after 14 months, fielding with a totally inexperienced bowling attack (you cant call Shoaib, arafat and Sohail as experienced), an untested opening pair, A middle order without Yousuf, and Most importantly, pakistan cricket team being Pakistan cricket team i.e totally unpredictable. Sri Lanka put on a huge total, and after that it was Pakistan fighting to stay in. Not till they crossed 500, was there any sigh of relief from my side, as Pakistan is known to collapse when there is no reason to collapse. So it was a very entertaining fight from pakistan and i was glued to the score till Pakistan was firmly out of danger. The panic that hit Sri Lanka in 2nd innings was just a bonus, but overall it did get my interest throughout the match. Yes, placid wickets like this should not be encouraged. Look at how Sohail Khan might have felt, and so too Arafat.

  • Josh on March 2, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Games like the one in Barbados are utterly pointless. I should know, I've sat through most of the first four days.

  • airshow on March 2, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    its about time we go back to uncovered pitches for test matches atleast(in the subcontinent atleast plz), what a shame it is to watch the current Pak/SL series. this is a heart break for Pakistani cricket fans, cricket fans in general.

  • kaiser on March 2, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    WE READ A LOT ABOUT STRATEGIES OF NEW PCB SELECTION COMMITTEE BUT NOTHING CONCRETE CAME OUT REALLY EXCEPT TO WATCH YOUNIS KHAN SPECIAL 313, HOW WOULD PAKISTAN SIDE FACE AUSSIES IN THE NEXT SERIES AGAINST QUALITY BOWLERS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ODI'S. PITCHES ARE SO LIFELESS AND BOWLING SO DULL EXCEPT UMAR GULL AND A LITTLE BIT OF TALHA. AND FIELDING OF PAKISTANIS IS PATHETIC. IT KILLS MY PASSION FOR CRICKET AND LOVE FOR PAKISTANI CRICKET TEAM. IF THEY DON'T HAVE GUTS TO FACE SRI LANKAN BOWLERS OF GRASSY PITCHES HOW WOULD THEY FACE WI, AUS, ENG, NZL OR EVEN MUSHARRAFFE MURTAZA ON RESULT ORIENTED PITCHES. THANKS.

  • St.John on March 2, 2009, 15:37 GMT

    Test matches often seem to be a test of bat against ball these days rather than a test between two teams. The Karachi and Barbados games are a very poor advertisement for Test cricket. Is this something the ICC should look at? WICB were lambasted for the abandoned Test in Antigua, but the pitches in Karachi and Barbados are little better - they just produce 5 days of pure tedium, the sort of cricket you watch for 30 minutes on the TV and you get so bored you switch off. And it's not down to the bowlers - even a legend like Muralitharan made no impact; Warne and McGrath at their best would probably have fared no better. Even stranger is how the Karachi groundsman was asked to prepare a pitch with something in it for both bowlers and batsman and both WI and England expected more life in the ARG and Barbados pitches. For Test cricket to maintain any appeal, there must be something for the bowlers, otherwise there's no point playing. The ICC should do something.

  • Rodzilla1010 on March 2, 2009, 14:50 GMT

    I was one of the critic of your last article, and i still stand by the fact that it did not smell like rationale at all.

    This article makes more sense. Yes cricket lost to some extent in the draw at karachi and now in west indies. But you as an author in a public website should make sure that your read does not reflect your anger rather your concern.

  • Dan on March 2, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Well said, Sambit. No-one has any interest in test matches that are designed to puff up batting averages.

    I've also been pleased of late to see some attention being paid to the question of whether ODI pitches are too batsman-friendly. ODI's are helped by the elimination of the draw, but we should nonethless be able to see a contest between bat and ball. I'd rather see a ODI in which both teams struggle to get to 200 and every run is precious than one in which the deck is so true the batsmen can glut themselves on easy runs and rack up scores of 300+.

  • AA on March 2, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    I feel u are right about this THe Lahore test is also going the same dull way 110 runs in 18 overs Ifelt like I was watching an ODi Very Flat Pitch

  • Anonymous on March 2, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    As an aside, the Old Trafford test was "great" for its finsih. However, over five days it lacked many of the prequisites for a "great"test. Yes, the English won and rightfully crowed about it. However, it was the finish that mad eit memorable.

  • Hariharan on March 2, 2009, 11:50 GMT

    Well put. As you said, its the back to the wall fight for a draw that gives test cricket its unique tinge.

    At times watching Chanderpaul battling and ,for all practical purposes, batting alone to save a test match against England is as fulfilling as watching Adam Gilchrist tearing apart the same attack.

    It is in this regard that the rather futile search to find a perfect way to break ties in T-20 is disturbing. Why would you want to force a result when across 40 overs not much has differentiated the two sides. Why not , for once, let the old cliche of how the game is the winner ring true?

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  • Hariharan on March 2, 2009, 11:50 GMT

    Well put. As you said, its the back to the wall fight for a draw that gives test cricket its unique tinge.

    At times watching Chanderpaul battling and ,for all practical purposes, batting alone to save a test match against England is as fulfilling as watching Adam Gilchrist tearing apart the same attack.

    It is in this regard that the rather futile search to find a perfect way to break ties in T-20 is disturbing. Why would you want to force a result when across 40 overs not much has differentiated the two sides. Why not , for once, let the old cliche of how the game is the winner ring true?

  • Anonymous on March 2, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    As an aside, the Old Trafford test was "great" for its finsih. However, over five days it lacked many of the prequisites for a "great"test. Yes, the English won and rightfully crowed about it. However, it was the finish that mad eit memorable.

  • AA on March 2, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    I feel u are right about this THe Lahore test is also going the same dull way 110 runs in 18 overs Ifelt like I was watching an ODi Very Flat Pitch

  • Dan on March 2, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Well said, Sambit. No-one has any interest in test matches that are designed to puff up batting averages.

    I've also been pleased of late to see some attention being paid to the question of whether ODI pitches are too batsman-friendly. ODI's are helped by the elimination of the draw, but we should nonethless be able to see a contest between bat and ball. I'd rather see a ODI in which both teams struggle to get to 200 and every run is precious than one in which the deck is so true the batsmen can glut themselves on easy runs and rack up scores of 300+.

  • Rodzilla1010 on March 2, 2009, 14:50 GMT

    I was one of the critic of your last article, and i still stand by the fact that it did not smell like rationale at all.

    This article makes more sense. Yes cricket lost to some extent in the draw at karachi and now in west indies. But you as an author in a public website should make sure that your read does not reflect your anger rather your concern.

  • St.John on March 2, 2009, 15:37 GMT

    Test matches often seem to be a test of bat against ball these days rather than a test between two teams. The Karachi and Barbados games are a very poor advertisement for Test cricket. Is this something the ICC should look at? WICB were lambasted for the abandoned Test in Antigua, but the pitches in Karachi and Barbados are little better - they just produce 5 days of pure tedium, the sort of cricket you watch for 30 minutes on the TV and you get so bored you switch off. And it's not down to the bowlers - even a legend like Muralitharan made no impact; Warne and McGrath at their best would probably have fared no better. Even stranger is how the Karachi groundsman was asked to prepare a pitch with something in it for both bowlers and batsman and both WI and England expected more life in the ARG and Barbados pitches. For Test cricket to maintain any appeal, there must be something for the bowlers, otherwise there's no point playing. The ICC should do something.

  • kaiser on March 2, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    WE READ A LOT ABOUT STRATEGIES OF NEW PCB SELECTION COMMITTEE BUT NOTHING CONCRETE CAME OUT REALLY EXCEPT TO WATCH YOUNIS KHAN SPECIAL 313, HOW WOULD PAKISTAN SIDE FACE AUSSIES IN THE NEXT SERIES AGAINST QUALITY BOWLERS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE ODI'S. PITCHES ARE SO LIFELESS AND BOWLING SO DULL EXCEPT UMAR GULL AND A LITTLE BIT OF TALHA. AND FIELDING OF PAKISTANIS IS PATHETIC. IT KILLS MY PASSION FOR CRICKET AND LOVE FOR PAKISTANI CRICKET TEAM. IF THEY DON'T HAVE GUTS TO FACE SRI LANKAN BOWLERS OF GRASSY PITCHES HOW WOULD THEY FACE WI, AUS, ENG, NZL OR EVEN MUSHARRAFFE MURTAZA ON RESULT ORIENTED PITCHES. THANKS.

  • airshow on March 2, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    its about time we go back to uncovered pitches for test matches atleast(in the subcontinent atleast plz), what a shame it is to watch the current Pak/SL series. this is a heart break for Pakistani cricket fans, cricket fans in general.

  • Josh on March 2, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Games like the one in Barbados are utterly pointless. I should know, I've sat through most of the first four days.

  • Syed Kirmani on March 2, 2009, 16:42 GMT

    Well to be fair, the Karachi test was not that boring. Look at the backdrop. Pakistan getting a test after 14 months, fielding with a totally inexperienced bowling attack (you cant call Shoaib, arafat and Sohail as experienced), an untested opening pair, A middle order without Yousuf, and Most importantly, pakistan cricket team being Pakistan cricket team i.e totally unpredictable. Sri Lanka put on a huge total, and after that it was Pakistan fighting to stay in. Not till they crossed 500, was there any sigh of relief from my side, as Pakistan is known to collapse when there is no reason to collapse. So it was a very entertaining fight from pakistan and i was glued to the score till Pakistan was firmly out of danger. The panic that hit Sri Lanka in 2nd innings was just a bonus, but overall it did get my interest throughout the match. Yes, placid wickets like this should not be encouraged. Look at how Sohail Khan might have felt, and so too Arafat.