India in the West Indies 2011 July 11, 2011

The mystery of the ripped-out last page

Why does Test cricket give players the right to call off a match that can have a potentially thrilling result?
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Dominica’s first-ever Test match was an old-style twister, a game that wound and ground an undulating course towards a tense climax. With 15 overs remaining – more than 4% of a rain-interrupted match ‒ India were well set to press on for victory, to confirm their pre-eminence in the world game by ruthlessly completing a 2-0 series triumph, 86 runs required from 90 balls. Two greats of the game at the crease. Two World-Cup-winning batsmen still to come, plus a useful tail, but they would have to make those runs on a slow-scoring pitch against a defiant West Indies striving to suggest their latest improvements might have more longevity than other recent false dawns. All was in readiness for a rousing conclusion to an intriguing series, which had had a touch of the 1950s about it in terms of scoring rates, but which tested the batsmen throughout, and saw the welcome return to form of Ishant Sharma and Fidel Edwards. A titanic hour’s cricket was imminent.

And then everyone just wandered off.

As anti-climaxes go, this was not quite as disappointing as it would have been had Hillary and Tensing reached 50 metres from the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, then simultaneously pulled hamstrings and decided not to risk aggravating their injuries by going any further, potentially ruling themselves out of mountaineering for between four and six months; nor as much of a let-down as when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin opened the door of their magic space rocket in 1969, took one look at the moon, and scuttled back inside muttering something about being scared of rocks. (Fortunately they were persuaded by Houston ground control to “have another go, or find your own way home”.)

However, it was a dismal end to a cricket match, a wasteful, negative, dispiriting cop-out, using a needless and bone-headed loophole in the sport’s regulations to chicken out of a potentially thrilling endgame. India were content not to run a miniscule risk of defeat in exchange for a highly possible victory. West Indies were content to have their brave batting rearguard of Chanderpaul and the Edwardses rewarded with a drawn match and a series defeat by an acceptable margin of just one Test to nil. Cricket was unquestionably the loser. And cricket should be asked some stroppy questions in its post-match press conference.

This was the second time in little over a month that one of the world’s leading Test teams has bottled out of pushing for victory with a sizeable chunk of cricket remaining. England pulled the plug on June’s Lord’s Test against Sri Lanka when needing six wickets (or seven if the injured Dilshan batted again) in 15 overs, having, in the previous two innings in the series, taken their opponents’ last six wickets in 7.2 and 22.5 overs respectively. Why? There is a time and a place for rest and recuperation in modern international cricket, and it is not during the last hour of a Test match.

India bailed out yesterday with less than a run a ball needed, with seven wickets left. Still to bat were MS Dhoni – that’s MS Dhoni, the man who had grasped the World Cup final as if it were an errant puppy and made it bark his name in Morse code ‒ plus established ODI star Virat Kohli, plus dangerous lower-order smiter Harbhajan, plus first-class-batting-average-of-24 Praveen Kumar, plus batted-for-three-hours-in-two-innings-against-Australia-in-the-Mohali-Test-last-year-and-dismissed-on-average-once-every-44-balls-in-Tests Ishant Sharma. I know Munaf Patel is unlikely ever to win a Nobel Prize For Batting, but did he need that much protection? On a pitch on which Fidel Edwards had just survived for two and a half hours? Defeat was not impossible, but it would have taken major and prolonged ineptitude.

There is no satisfactory answer to the question of why England and India both bailed out from potentially winning positions - oddly tremulous decisions by teams striving to be the world’s best. But perhaps the more pertinent question is: why were they even allowed to? I assume that they did not have to catch the last boat home, which provided England an excuse in the timeless Durban Test of 1938-39, when they aborted their pursuit of 696 to win tantalisingly short at 654 for 5 (after 291 overs’ worth of batting – if ever there was an accelerator pedal that could have been pressed a little more firmly, a little sooner, it was that one).

Why does Test cricket permit its captains – seldom the most adventurous of beasts ‒ to leave their public like so many Tony Hancocks furiously realising the last page of their novel has been ripped out? Did Shakespeare get to the end of Act IV of his smash-hit platinum-selling turn-of-the-17th-century rom-trag Hamlet, think to himself, “I deserve some quality me-time,” and scribble: “Act V: And they all lived happily ever after”? No, he did not. He knuckled down and he finished the drama. And that is why his plays are still wowing the crowds 400 years later. Test cricket will be a footnote within 20 years if it keeps cheating its supporters like this.

Does any other sport allow this kind of artificial shortening of play? This was not like the concession of an 18-inch putt to share a matchplay golf contest. It was like two players standing on the 18th tee, with the match all square, and the golfing world watching with bated breath, and saying to each other: “I can’t be arsed with this. Call it a draw? Deal. Let’s go and sing some karaoke instead. I do an amazing “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong.” Imagine the reaction if Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, in the Fight Of The Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971, had staggered out at the bell for the final round, exhausted after 14 rounds of brutal pugilism, had a cuddle in the middle of the ring, said, “Come here, buddy, violence doesn’t solve anything, let’s be friends,” and started dancing a slow waltz.

The regulation allowing captains to agree to end a game early presumably exists in order to allow an aimlessly meandering match to be humanely put out of its misery when a positive result is an impossibility. This was not the case at Lord’s, and it was even less the case in Dominica. Spectators were cheated, the game was cheated. It must not be allowed to happen in future.

Players should not be allowed to make these decisions. They have shown they cannot be trusted with this responsibility. The result of a Test match should not be decided by negotiation. Players can no longer decide when a game is suspended due to slightly bad light (as it should be officially renamed), and they should not be permitted to decide to terminate a game when a positive result is still a live possibility. Not only is it potentially open to abuse by the unscrupulous, it is a nonsensical insult to Test cricket’s supporters. Let the umpires decide when a game has become pointless. The evidence suggests that many Test captains would happily shake hands on a draw after three overs on the first morning, just to be on the safe side.

At a time when the five-day format is widely acknowledged to be fighting for its future under sustained assault from various angles, Test cricket has punched itself in the face. Again.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sehwagalogist on July 27, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Andy! So pleasing to see that your have expressed the shared views of Spectators and supporters of Test Cricket!

    You said umpires should decide when to call it off... I would go one step further and say.. it should rather be the spectators on the ground who should decide... they come to watch a good contest, leaving all other important works aside, they pay to watch them play... not chicken out, Dhoni and his team did!

  • gmsj on July 16, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    I dont quite agree that MSD had called off play when victory was possible. How are we to gauge that possibility sitting comfortable and typing on the laptops. We dont know how bad the pitch was for strokemaking let alone surviving a last hour! The evidence we have seen is from the TV sets and not right out there on the field of play.. So one shouldnt be too critical of MSDhoni on this.. Team India did bat out for 33 overs or sop, didnt they? If they had a chance of winning, they wouldve done it. Period.

  • Andy on July 15, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    I really want to believe my own theory.the whole efforts were to allow West Indies to Draw. in order to promote cricket in Dominica & indirectly support growth of cricket/economy in west Indies. to make sure one of the oldest beauty in the cricketing world survives. wow I feel so good being an Indian. its impossible to believe, #1 Test ranked team, world cup winner, T20 champs, IPL folks habitual of carrying T20 hammer, Legends of test cricket on the crease, Best young talent, coolest captain & most destructive Oneday player, game changer Bhaji, formidable lower bat order (if Fidel can bat for 37 ovr),slow but batsmen friendly pitch.et al.. pls do not tell me any other reason for offering a draw. in total disbelief, I did not move away from the screen, untill they stopped transmission. then I question myself.. wasnt it the West Indies, who after their worldcup defeat came, demolished, demoralised & went back with 3-0 test & 5-0 ODI win. I will go with my first line & Shardas first para

  • Srinin on July 14, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    contd from prev post...

    My counter example: Two brilliant world champions in Chess - Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Both were at teh helm long but both approached teh game entirely differently. Katrpov guarded his title by an impregnable defensive play while Kasporov went for the jugular often.

    Two movie stars Dileep Kumar and Amitabh Bacchan had very different styles of acting yet captured teh hearts of movie buffs. Imagine what wd have happened if movie directors insisted that AB followed Dilip Kumar's tragic hero model?

    Two most successful bowlers for Australia Mc Grath and Warne had very different approach to snare their victims. One believed in bowling relentlessly in a narrow corridor with ever so minor variations and the other had six different deliveries in an over! And BOTH reaped a huge crop of wickets. So why this insistence on doing it one way or else you dont 'deserve' the #1 status?

    In itself the target cried for a go. That they did not make them any less #1.

  • Srinin on July 14, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    Interesting parallels!. But are they pertinent? They propose a robotic "IF-THEN-ELSE" algorithmic response eminently suitable for AI and such pre-processed regimented, thinking styles. These are based upon a fundamental but erroneous assumption that "champion A did this; so if B aspires to take the champion A's position then B must do as A did." What they fail to see is every situation is different - even if they appear identical supeficially. No two snowfleakes are shaped alike.

    The human element in sport is a spontaneous response based upon years of practice both in thinking and physical reflexes. If we inisist on a one type of response then we might as well give up watching sport for its unpredictable outcomes.

    contd in next post...

  • njr1330 on July 13, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    People seem to be comparing (unfavourably) this performance with the famous Oval Test (Gavaskar's match). The impression being given is that India played positive aggressive cricket in that game...well, I was there, and I seem to remember Peter Willey (the King of Spin?) bowling 11 consecuitve maidens on the last afternoon. In fact, that game WAS called off by the captains...with one ball left, and India 9 runs short...Why?! From that day to this, I have always felt that Gavaskar could have won that game, but chose not to...did the statistic: Kapil Dev 0; have anything to do with it?

  • Rajiv Thakkar on July 13, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    I am still laughing my a$$ out picturing Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier dancing a slow waltz! :D

  • C.P.Malik on July 12, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    Absolutely right ! India should have pressed onto victory or was there some evil (match-fixing) about it. Come to talk of it, a 2nd string west-indies against most Indian Ranji Sides would struggle to win a standard 4 day game. Here, the team are lamenting the loss of 4 1st choice players to not to press for win. Kudos to them. Aussies never failed to press for an outright result when they were on TOP. India is ranking-bound to atleast honour that ! (if our Indian cricket money doesn't hold sway) just like the BCCI suddenly changed focus to get more Test engagements to keep India No.1, we need to be pro-active------in life n in cricket !

  • Bhavish on July 12, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    I dont understand why everybody is criticizing India for the draw. The last hour of a test match on a 5th day pitch with an old ball and no field restrictions or powerplays is not the same as a T20 match.

    Its amazing that people are comparing a test match result because its a T20 like score and still saying that its death of test match. BOTH FORMATS are DIFFERENT!!!

  • neel on July 12, 2011, 17:28 GMT

    India's approach was outrageous! no wonder we haven't won 2 test matches in a series outside the subcontinent since 2005!! Dravid did it in England, 2007 with his 12 off 96 balls and he did it again! It is terribly disappointing to see someone of dravid's stature play so defensively! no wonder, his ODI career ended rather unceremoniously! India deserve to be criticised after this act of cowardice! (yes I m an Indian fan, rather a cheated Indian fan)

  • Sehwagalogist on July 27, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Andy! So pleasing to see that your have expressed the shared views of Spectators and supporters of Test Cricket!

    You said umpires should decide when to call it off... I would go one step further and say.. it should rather be the spectators on the ground who should decide... they come to watch a good contest, leaving all other important works aside, they pay to watch them play... not chicken out, Dhoni and his team did!

  • gmsj on July 16, 2011, 6:50 GMT

    I dont quite agree that MSD had called off play when victory was possible. How are we to gauge that possibility sitting comfortable and typing on the laptops. We dont know how bad the pitch was for strokemaking let alone surviving a last hour! The evidence we have seen is from the TV sets and not right out there on the field of play.. So one shouldnt be too critical of MSDhoni on this.. Team India did bat out for 33 overs or sop, didnt they? If they had a chance of winning, they wouldve done it. Period.

  • Andy on July 15, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    I really want to believe my own theory.the whole efforts were to allow West Indies to Draw. in order to promote cricket in Dominica & indirectly support growth of cricket/economy in west Indies. to make sure one of the oldest beauty in the cricketing world survives. wow I feel so good being an Indian. its impossible to believe, #1 Test ranked team, world cup winner, T20 champs, IPL folks habitual of carrying T20 hammer, Legends of test cricket on the crease, Best young talent, coolest captain & most destructive Oneday player, game changer Bhaji, formidable lower bat order (if Fidel can bat for 37 ovr),slow but batsmen friendly pitch.et al.. pls do not tell me any other reason for offering a draw. in total disbelief, I did not move away from the screen, untill they stopped transmission. then I question myself.. wasnt it the West Indies, who after their worldcup defeat came, demolished, demoralised & went back with 3-0 test & 5-0 ODI win. I will go with my first line & Shardas first para

  • Srinin on July 14, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    contd from prev post...

    My counter example: Two brilliant world champions in Chess - Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Both were at teh helm long but both approached teh game entirely differently. Katrpov guarded his title by an impregnable defensive play while Kasporov went for the jugular often.

    Two movie stars Dileep Kumar and Amitabh Bacchan had very different styles of acting yet captured teh hearts of movie buffs. Imagine what wd have happened if movie directors insisted that AB followed Dilip Kumar's tragic hero model?

    Two most successful bowlers for Australia Mc Grath and Warne had very different approach to snare their victims. One believed in bowling relentlessly in a narrow corridor with ever so minor variations and the other had six different deliveries in an over! And BOTH reaped a huge crop of wickets. So why this insistence on doing it one way or else you dont 'deserve' the #1 status?

    In itself the target cried for a go. That they did not make them any less #1.

  • Srinin on July 14, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    Interesting parallels!. But are they pertinent? They propose a robotic "IF-THEN-ELSE" algorithmic response eminently suitable for AI and such pre-processed regimented, thinking styles. These are based upon a fundamental but erroneous assumption that "champion A did this; so if B aspires to take the champion A's position then B must do as A did." What they fail to see is every situation is different - even if they appear identical supeficially. No two snowfleakes are shaped alike.

    The human element in sport is a spontaneous response based upon years of practice both in thinking and physical reflexes. If we inisist on a one type of response then we might as well give up watching sport for its unpredictable outcomes.

    contd in next post...

  • njr1330 on July 13, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    People seem to be comparing (unfavourably) this performance with the famous Oval Test (Gavaskar's match). The impression being given is that India played positive aggressive cricket in that game...well, I was there, and I seem to remember Peter Willey (the King of Spin?) bowling 11 consecuitve maidens on the last afternoon. In fact, that game WAS called off by the captains...with one ball left, and India 9 runs short...Why?! From that day to this, I have always felt that Gavaskar could have won that game, but chose not to...did the statistic: Kapil Dev 0; have anything to do with it?

  • Rajiv Thakkar on July 13, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    I am still laughing my a$$ out picturing Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier dancing a slow waltz! :D

  • C.P.Malik on July 12, 2011, 22:29 GMT

    Absolutely right ! India should have pressed onto victory or was there some evil (match-fixing) about it. Come to talk of it, a 2nd string west-indies against most Indian Ranji Sides would struggle to win a standard 4 day game. Here, the team are lamenting the loss of 4 1st choice players to not to press for win. Kudos to them. Aussies never failed to press for an outright result when they were on TOP. India is ranking-bound to atleast honour that ! (if our Indian cricket money doesn't hold sway) just like the BCCI suddenly changed focus to get more Test engagements to keep India No.1, we need to be pro-active------in life n in cricket !

  • Bhavish on July 12, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    I dont understand why everybody is criticizing India for the draw. The last hour of a test match on a 5th day pitch with an old ball and no field restrictions or powerplays is not the same as a T20 match.

    Its amazing that people are comparing a test match result because its a T20 like score and still saying that its death of test match. BOTH FORMATS are DIFFERENT!!!

  • neel on July 12, 2011, 17:28 GMT

    India's approach was outrageous! no wonder we haven't won 2 test matches in a series outside the subcontinent since 2005!! Dravid did it in England, 2007 with his 12 off 96 balls and he did it again! It is terribly disappointing to see someone of dravid's stature play so defensively! no wonder, his ODI career ended rather unceremoniously! India deserve to be criticised after this act of cowardice! (yes I m an Indian fan, rather a cheated Indian fan)

  • Disappointed Indian[Vinod] on July 12, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    That's the difference between teams like Australia, south Africa and India. Any team would have tried its best to achieve the target except India. Imagine if India was trailing in the series, what decision would have been taken by the captain? Ok mate let it go and play for draw! Nah, India would have gone till the last player is there. MSD is mukadar ka sikander. He is lucky to be the capatain of Team India, lucky to win matches [despite of his dismal form and/or any contribution]. Yes, he is cool and shrewed. And yes, he is selfish player. If one can go through last two-three years, including IPL matches, one can easily find that when the team is in good position he promote himself, otherwise in crucial situation [except world cup final - the situation was not bad also], he always sends players like Virat, Raina or like of Badri, Murli, Saha etc. in IPL. Luckily for him these players click and MSD got the credit of promoting newcomers and giving chance to establish. lalala

  • Peter Lowe on July 12, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    It was an act I would call "directly against the spirit of cricket."

    Dhoni should be hauled up in front of a judiciary committe and be handed a one match ban.

    Why aren't people like Dhoni who are supposed to be a guardians of our game not caring about looking after the people that keep the game alive, the fans.

    Did Dhoni not hear Kumar Sangakarras speech the other day? If not he should.

    I'd be suprised if he was making any Indians proud.

    What a waste of 5 days and my time.

  • Kannan on July 12, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    This is a totally one sided and biased view. It is the same Dhoni who was praised in the previous test for making a bold declaration thought the match finally ended in a draw. If you see the facts, Bishoo had started to bowl a legside line, the pitch had gotton slow and low, and even if a couple of wickets had gone down, there was a defenite risk of unwanted pressure. The series was already sealed and it was a prudent decision.

  • jap on July 12, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    Insomnia struck so i watched these lifeless telecasts serially!. Wonder what is different when setmax takes up the task of telecasting cricket? They do such a great job and raise viewing to such a high level of experience... this one was as boring as the over rate, scoring rate, impossibility of sparkling stroke play (remember world cup, IPL !!!) etc etc!! Yet there I was - idiotic viewer expecting an innings defeat when the Windies were 2 down in the early 20s. Had to go bcuz of an emergency but by when i got back to watching the last day's stuff(replays) I was glad these guys could draw the match and retain some of the glory of the 20/20, 3 one day and 1 test victories! Could be that we lack the killer instinct, the conquering ambition of the ozzies, pakis etc. But i guess this is us and there is no harm being so. In a match between Bravado v/s levelheadedness, it is best to take sides with the practical. As usual cool work MSD. Get to your old score-to-win ways soon!

  • Amogh Datar on July 12, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    What a looser and silly comment !.... Your article for Indian team is just a fake becoz westindies player Bishoo was bowling negatively when Vijay was playing well, if India opted to play for next 15 overs then westindies bowlers continued to ball negative line. If westindies wanted to play for last 15 overs then Sammy would not have decided to agree with Dhoni. Sammy had a fear of loosing. So stop writing your meaningless and stupid comments and stop blaming India

  • Rick on July 12, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Great blog! I'm an England supporter, but in the interests of fairness I'm glad you mentioned England's recent sorry cave-in under similar circumstances. From what I recall it was basically impossible 4 SL to win & Eng needed 6 wickets (you could say 5 as Dilshan was injured & only likely to bat in an emergency), not too mention SL have a pretty long tail these days. Yet, even with the world's no.1 spin bowler in the team, Eng couldn't be bothered pressing 4 a win. It really makes you appreciate just how good the Aussies were in their pomp in the 90s n 00s. Fortune favours the brave & that's what the Aussies were. Even though Aus were perhaps past their best, they still pants Eng 5-0 in 2007. Sure they could have cruised to a 2-0 win or whatever, but great teams go in for the kill & make a statement. Eng declared 1st Innings 550 @ Adelaide any other team would have just shut up shop & went 4 a draw. Not the Aussies - they won that game. That's the difference between GOOD & GREAT teams

  • Billy on July 12, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Zaltman you analysis is spot on! The tragedy is that Dhoni is in comfort zone in terms of cricketing laurels and financial glory. In other words he has achieved fame, wealth and a biwi. Now he plays for stats as a captain who won a series. Not that a 1 nil series could have been a 2 nil series with a bit of guts and bravado. Zero fighting spirit as can be also seen with his sad batting record over the past year.

  • RohitK on July 12, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Spot on Andy! I think the spectators and viewers of that match was cheated out of a good game. I could never have imagined a captain like Dhoni chickening out of a situation where the chance of India winning was overwhelmingly high. no matter how lousy a batting pitch it was, 86 off 90 was gettable, especially with veterans like Dravid and Dhoni in the side. As a cricket fan, I am just disgusted at how little initiative the players have these days. India can never be the champions Australia were, unless they learn to go for the jugular at the right times.

  • Dirk on July 12, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    @Swami Chess? Now there's a "spectator sport" we need to save double time! Teams score at 6 an over on the worst pitches ever in some IPL games, so why not have a crack at 5-ish an over with 15 of them remaining?

  • Cricketfan on July 12, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    DISSAPOINTING DISSAPOINTING DISSAPOINTING DISSAPOINTING DISSAPOINTING One of the worst and sad days of test cricket. This might become a prime reason why test cricket would eventually fade off. Cricketing should be a high spirited game. I have been enjoying test cricket since last 15 years to witness "a class game of cricket" filled with the tensions of losing the game and the joy of winning the game. It is sad that the Indian captain and the players as well decided to carry on with saving the rankings at the cost of what "test cricket" actually should deliver. I do not feel like watching test cricket anymore and there should be an inquiry into the decision taken by the team at the cost of the hope of billions of Indian fans. Indian team is not owned by Dhoni, they have to consider the support of all the cricket followers out there.

  • Lait Sharma on July 12, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    Disappointing to say the least, Team India may be ranked as No 1 but the attitude resembled otherwise. Had there been some other team like Australia, Srilanka or Bangladesh for that matter, It would have chosen to go for the target. It was a decision that would perhaps give a chance to other teams to gain confidence against India which Australia never allowed when were No 1. This has proved that within the team the self believe of a No 1 is still missing.

  • Jogesh on July 12, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Give me a break - you want Test rankings because you think it will help keep the game alive (as bizarre a phrase as any - "game alive"), and then you whine if teams focus on preserving their rankings rather than playing the game. Only a linear minded moron needs the aid of rankings to figure out who's the best team - "Hey, India has 1 point more than SA over the last 43 tests, yipee, we are number 1" bleat the knowledgable desi supporters! And then if in the next 36 tests SA goes one point ahead, a collective mourning by the same half-wits.

  • 100rabh on July 12, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Fab one Andy. It shows the difference what a no. 1 team would have done 10 years ago. Shame that it came just after one of the boldest declaration that any Indian captain has ever made though it was preceeded by very ordinary batting.

  • jim bond on July 12, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    I think Dhoni is the best judge of the capabilities of the Indian batsmen, and their abilities to score runs on that ground (especially as he himself was one on whom most would be required to do some fast scoring). Better to end the series on a confident note, rather than trying too hard on a tough wicket, losing about eight wickets and then depending on Munaf and Ishant to bat the final two overs to save the match. And for fast scoring in a test match, Laxman is any day better than any of the lower order batsmen. Indians have done well with a weak side and a bowling attack- many thought of as incapable of getting 20 wickets.

  • workshy on July 12, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    Our only test in Wellington last year was a debacle too, except the pakistani team gave up chasing a very modest total against a very modest attack at drinks in the first session. They may have won the series but were losers in every fans' eyes.

  • Ram on July 12, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    What about Sammy, and the WI team? They could have opted to play on instead of consenting to call off the game?! Surely, even WI had a fair chance of pursuing for a win -- if India 'tried' to go for some quick runs and chase down the target. A couple of more wickets, and the tail would have been exposed. It is not every day that the tail can wag effectively. Perhaps, Sammy and his team was also 'convinced' about the futility of continuing play? The guys in the middle would have known better about the pitch and the conditions.

  • sunny on July 12, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    This was a tour that few Indian players wanted to participate in. I'm sure they're just as happy winning in all formats, no matter what the margin.

    As soon as the players arrived in the Carribbean, they wanted to leave. They seemed very disinterested and I think it showed in the 3rd test match.

    On to England!

  • chandrakant joshi on July 12, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    cricket is our religion. who wins is not a matter of fact or luck. how is the game played is what we want to see. if interesting part of the game is ripped off and captains dont initiate to make it more interesting, then we are definitely on the verge of saying "cheerio" to "test cricket". i have heard a lot many times from MS Dhoni that Test Cricket is the real test and found him failed in this test.

  • Raghu on July 12, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Dhoni is the most gutless and overrated of captains. A short while ago, he delayed the declaration against NZ until the 4th innings target was a ridiculous 600, and we ran out of time to prise out the last NZ wickets.

  • Deep on July 12, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    Fans have been cheated by this outcome...

  • Dan on July 12, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    People have been quick to criticise Ricky Ponting's leadership in the last few years, but I can only imagine what he would have said of this. "walk off?! Over my dead body!"

  • Sammy on July 12, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    It's hilarious to read comments from the one-eyed arm chair fans who from the comfort of their chairs pass judgements on Dhoni and Co. What would have been the reaction of these fans if India had gone for it and in the process lost all the wickets....that was a possibility too!! That would have opened the floodgates for these India/IPL bashers to write how IPL has ruined Indian cricket and all that hogwash!!

  • Anonymous on July 12, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    why would anyone even watch a India Vs West Indies test as if nothing else interesting is happening in the world

  • Rama on July 12, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    Andy/Sameer and others supporting him - I wonder if you watched the same match as I did. What I saw was a lot of negative bowling from WI (outside the leg stump or way outside the off stump and bouncers) and the pitch was slow (balls would not reach the boundary). I did not see any article about the negative bowling of WI. Come on people, this is test cricket and not one day or T-20 which has field restrictions and as well as bowling restrictions.

  • koushik podder on July 12, 2011, 1:25 GMT

    i am an avid indian fan but i hate their attitude of winning 1 and drawing rest of them. This kind of move tho suitable in 2-test match (at most 3) series but it ll extremely backfire when play 4or5 match series. So in the upcoming tours in india and australia where the no of matches ll b 4 if ind wins 1st eng/aus still has chance to win. But if eng/aus wins 1st india ll at most draw the series. Win ll b impossible even if eng/aus wins the 1st match and ind has 3 matvhes to win the series

  • DVC on July 12, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    Did Deep Blue take the draw when Kasparov offered it? No, Deep Blue was incapable of considering it. That the computer's handler answered for it is neither here nor there. The point is that if you want to be the best you can't ever settle for a draw, you have to fight tooth and nail, or chip and interface till the very end. Giving up on victory can't even be something in your programming.

    Did Kirk give up on Spock when aliens stole his brain? No he didn't. Did he give up when Spock died? No he didn't. Some might say that was the time to give up, that Spock, being dead and all, probably couldn't be saved. But the fact is, the writers wouldn't allow him to give up. Shatner wouldn't allow it. And Kirk's sheer bloody mindedness got him and his friend across the line.

    Did Kevin Costner's Tin Cup teach us nothing? Keep trying for that magic shot. You might not get it on your first 20 attempts and lose the game, but by god you'll feel good when you succeed. And people will remember!

  • Ravinder on July 12, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    What set India back was the wicket of the first ball, but India could have sent Harby in at #4 to have a slog, then Dhoni should have came in, then Raina. If Harby, Dhoni and Raina got out cheeply, then shut up shop and play for a draw.

  • Sean on July 12, 2011, 0:20 GMT

    Just another example of India and BCCI on their quest to destroy Test cricket.

  • Graz on July 11, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    @NomDePlume, the last time that happened was probably Adelaide Oval, 2006. Australia went out positively and chased the total down with plenty of time to spare.

  • Graz on July 11, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    An absolute farce. All captains should follow Steve Waugh's philosophy; he would rather lose a game going for the win than play for a draw. So would I. It's the only proper way to play the game.

  • Kalyan on July 11, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    There was a time when India hardly won anything and winning a single test match was achievement enough. Now the fans expect India to go the additional step now they have started to win. Now is not the time to be satisfied but to strive for pushing the limits of what can be achieved in a cricket field.

  • Daku Patel on July 11, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    This was india's loss as they dropped their rating by two points. SA are now two points closer to them while if india would have won this teat they would have gained a point. If they continue like this I cannot see them maintaining their no. 1 position for long. Come on Dhoni you need to be more positive and go for the wins.

  • Karthik Radhakrishnan on July 11, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    Gary would have gone for the chase. Duncan Fletcher has to remember he's coaching the World Champions and not a tame English side. And his post match press meet was ridiculous. Hope he doesn't become another Greg Chappell. Sorry Duncan, you have let us all down.

  • Arun on July 11, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    @AndyZaltzman: I am not sure the rules are to blame here. India being forced to bat the extra 15 overs doesn't mean that they would've chased the target. In fact, I believe that they had decided to shutter down as soon as Raina got out. Dravid and Laxman would've probably grafted out the next 15 overs, and given that intention, calling it off early made no difference. You can take the horse to the water, but... If the criticism is, of course, that Dhoni should've forced the issue by coming out himself or sending Harbhajan to belt a few out of the park, and make a fist of the chase, that's probably reasonable. However, test cricket imposes no fielding restrictions, allows you to bowl 2 ft outside off or 1/2 ft down leg without being called wide, and allows 2 bouncers per over (ever seen an Indian batsman play the hook? Pull, yes, but hook?). Had Sehwag been around, I'm sure the score was eminently achievable. But it had to start earlier. WI could easily shut down with a negative lines

  • Arun on July 11, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    Vishal Baliya: I should have thought that Dhoni's win-loss ratio of 15-3 in 27 tests should've put paid to any comparision with Ganguly. Ganguly's record is nowhere near this league, and Ganguly is no tactician (but a fine leader of men); he has taken defensive lines on numerous occasions (in fact Dhoni is typically far gutsier, the world cup final being just an example). Do you remember his refusal to declare in the 2004 Sydney game? A more aggressive captain would've declared much earlier. As it turned out, Aus barely made it to end of day's play on Day 5. The only criticism that can be levelled at Dhoni is that a man who has seen as much success as he has, could afford to be more adventurous (Ganguly never had that sort of success). Even so, a run a ball in a test game that allows you to bowl 2 ft outside off, plus 2 bouncers an over, with no fielding restrictions seems a big ask. Esp with Dravid and Laxman at the crease, and Kohli short on confidence. Had Sehwag been around at #1..

  • a on July 11, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    India doesn't deserve to be no 1 side. Indian cricketers just play to keep there position in the team. They didn't play for country, but just for themselves. If they had shown a fight, and had lost in that case, it would have been better then this draw. Shame on Dhoni and all the Indian cricketers.

  • sree on July 11, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    Very disappointed with the decision. Agreed, Cricket lost its competitiveness and charm. The enthusitic crowd at the venue had mixed feelings as well.

  • Elan on July 11, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    First Day Two Captains walks in, Toss the Coin and both say we agreed for a Draw.. Can this happen.. Yes it can.. coz that's how the Test Goes.. The Ultimate prob is Captain should not decide for a Draw they need to play the full overs unless there comes a Rain or Bad Light Stops the play.. I strongly think there is a result in this match, even WI have a chance to win..It's a Share for Cricket Spirits.

  • Shikhar Srivastava on July 11, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    Here's my Facebook status written minutes after India decide to walk of the field...

    "For once I am gonna criticize my team :: world's no. 1 Test team snatches a draw from the jaws of victory, first signs of negative decision making under new coach Fletcher... 1-0 away from home is still a win for India, 2-0 is what Australia in their prime would have aimed for... :( "

    As a devoted Indian crciket fan, and as a die hard Test cricket fan... I feel let down by the team management's decision to walk off the field...at the risk of sounding dramatic, I would say, I am devastated ..

  • Bharat on July 11, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    1. Shutting shop is not India's forte. They tend to collapse. So this was in WI favour. Why did they okay the same? 2. Going for a win would have changed the mindset and even made us proud irrespective of the final result.

  • Mayank on July 11, 2011, 19:51 GMT

    As an Indian, I am DISAPPOINTED.

    With a world cup under the kitty, the series too- leave alone the test # 1 ranking, we could not press the 'dominate' button and go on to rule...

    The attitude the current state of the state of our nation...just 'survive', that's job done...there's no need to 'excel'...

    The sincere 'celebration on the face of Indian players after a coward and sport-less act was shameful.

    We may be number 1, we are not Champions.

    My first post on Cricinfo. It's not about 1-0 or 2-0, it's about respect for the game and the attitude therein.

    I'm disappointed,

    - A Cricket Lover, an Ex-soldier with the Indian Army

  • Venkatesh on July 11, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    Perhaps India feared the spectre of defeat rather than the possibility of a win, with a rich history of fumbling in 4th innings chases. I remember the 78-79 Karachi Test between Pakistan and India - Miandad, Asif Iqbal and Imran Khan made a mockery of the Indian bowling and scampered to a win, scoring 164 runs in less than 25 overs; or Viv Richards savaging the Indian attack in the last session of a Test to register a win. Requires strong leadership and a positive mindset. Fletcher's comments are inexcusable - when at work, do your work and then relax - a worker in a 9 to 5 job cannot cop out at 3 PM and say he is relaxing so that he can be fresh at 9 the next morning - strongly suggest the BCCI docks Dhoni and co for one Test's fees.

  • Ashok on July 11, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    9 out of 10 times watching test cricket is like watching paint dry. Unless the rules are changed, why should players take risks in a way that can affect their careers and income. I will do the same. I think test cricket needs an additional form of dismissal to speed up the game. Players need to take the risk to score runs else they will get out & bowlers need to think continuously about taking wickets & not containment. Then test cricket will be fun else it is dying out as it truly deserves to.

  • Tanmay Shukla on July 11, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    I agree with this article in spirit, but the suggested law change would have had no effect. If India HAD to play out the remaining 15 overs, Laxman and Dravid would NOT have gone for the win. Sadly, if a team wants to play defensively, nothing can really be done about it. The problem is not the regulation; it's the negativity with which India approached the issue.

  • Amar Goyal on July 11, 2011, 19:36 GMT

    Dhoni and Team India were not able to walk 15 more overs, perhaps they were tired or were in big hurry to take off for their fresh tour of England. For the first time i have ever come to see that a test match was called off not because of the fact that both captains felt that their teams were not good enough to produce a result but they rather felt that the team in front might produce a result, they not. So, after fresh ICC rule of keeping a runner out of the game I strongly believe that the next 'axe' would be on this '15 Over' ' easy match fixing tool.' Are u listening ICC??

  • Common Sense on July 11, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    India were only one-nil up in the series so there was no point in risking it. Plus Bishoo was getting a great deal of turn and knowing from personal experience, having played cricket, scoring runs against a spin bowler bowling the leg stump line that Bishoo was bowling can be extremely hard. To the Indian fans that are disappointed, I will also say this, you guys were missing 6 first team players yet you still won the series. Furthermore weren't you guys the same people that praised Dhoni for being aggressive in the second test by setting WI 280 to win???? Be consistent in your arguments, Dhoni is a fantastic captain, his record is phenomenal and this win keeps you clear at the top of the rankings.

  • Abhinav on July 11, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    I was never a Dhoni fan, but never 'hated' him before this. Being an Indian, I am proud of the freedom fighter's struggle stories I've heard from our grandparents that taught us the 'fighting spirit' without the fear of dying. It's not quite the similar life-or-death scenario, but come one! I can expect at least some respect to that spirit! Mr. Dhoni, you're setting up wrong examples! and you've lost respect. I would have been proud if we lost the match fighting.

  • Geny on July 11, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    It would have been better if India had played out the last 15 overs even if we did not win the match. Making runs was too difficult on that pitch which was further hardened by some tactical bowling by the West Indians (negative bowling at times). However, India should have gone for a win. Atleast it would have shown the intent and positive mindset of a world # 1 team.

  • Bhuv on July 11, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    I agree it is disappointing that neither team tried for a win. But it is little exaggeration to say 'cricket the loser'. First, this is not the indian team at its full strength. Secondly, through out the series, Indian middle order batting is wobbly. Third, batsman have judged scoring was difficult on the slow pitch(take their word, easy to make statements when you never held a bat, if anyone of us commenting here is good enough to understand the game, let alone play it, we wouldn't be writing here). Had they got firing start or had the middle order was in form, I have no doubt that they would have gone for it. Lastly, 1-0 looks better than 1-1. These men know winning a series takes a lot, especially with second-hand picks. Let's not overreact and stop judging resources without any rational.

  • Sanjai Prabu on July 11, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    India shouldn't have a Zimbabwean as Coach. Crap Fletcher.

  • Lyndon Barham on July 11, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    I concur with the article, yesterday's ending was a disgrace and cricket was the big loser. India won the series but cricket lost ! 86 off 15 overs and they called it off is disgraceful. That's a lousy way to end it, and cricket wonders about the poor fan support for test cricket, I invested 5 days watching this game, I felt cheated by them not trying to force a result !!!!!!!!!! Play out the final 15 overs man !!! I don't know how other fans feel but I am annoyed ! I have heard all the lame excuses, " India was missing Sehwag Gambhir and Tendulkar", " the pitch was hard to bat on" "it is test cricket without fielding restrictions", all these do not hold water. Because it is TEST cricket the highest standard of the game is exactly why they should have gone for it. India the #1 team the coward's way out yesterday. The great West Indian team of the '70 & ,80's ould have gone for the win, so the great Australian teams under of the 90's & and early 2000's . India won series, cricket lost.

  • Bobby on July 11, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    Well so much has already been written about the shocking approach of the Indian team. But I still find it unbelievable that Indian team missed making history as first Indian team to win two test. Couple of big overs could have sealed it in favour of India. At least they should have tried till they were five wickets down. Hard to see how India could have lost more than 5 wickets in 15 overs. I could understand if this was a question of 1st series win against Pakistan in Pakistan but this was totally unacceptable. Speaking of Pakistan, thank God ,this was not Pakistan in place of India else conclusions would have already been drawn and judgments pronounced.

  • Lyndon Barham on July 11, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    I concur with the article, yesterday's ending was a disgrace and cricket was the big loser. India won the series but cricket lost ! 86 off 15 overs and they called it off is disgraceful. That's a lousy way to end it, and cricket wonders about the poor fan support for test cricket, I invested 5 days watching this game, I felt cheated by them not trying to force a result !!!!!!!!!! Play out the final 15 overs man !!! I don't know how other fans feel but I am annoyed ! I have heard all the lame excuses, " India was missing Sehwag Gambhir and Tendulkar", " the pitch was hard to bat on" "it is test cricket without no fielding restrictions", all these do not hold water. Because it is TEST cricket the highest standard of the game is exactly why they should have gone for it. Indias the number 1 team in they chose the coward's way out yesterday. The great West Indian team of the '70 & ,80's ould have gone for the win, so the great Australian teams under of the 90's & and early 2000's .

  • Kumarcoolbuddy on July 11, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    I am also disappointed for last 15 overs. But I just cannot blame Dhoni for this. Something is going on here. I agree Dhoni was defensive earlier in some tests but here it is not the point of being defensive since there is not even 0.1% harm for India in continuing the play till the last 15 overs. There should be some other reason which forced Dhoni to give up those last 15 overs. Don't forget he is the same captain who declared in 2nd test and tried his best to win that match despite heavy rain. Think logically and don't blame him just to pacify your emotions.

  • GC on July 11, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    What shame that this ended in a draw. Why would anybody watch 5 day tests? I won't. Get rid of draw and force one team or other to win.

  • M O Mathew on July 11, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    What a waste! I sat all through 5 days of topsy-turvy weather-smitten cricket - for a bunch of buffoons to deciding to shut shop and deprive those like me who love the game what would have been an enthralling finish..... Andy Z. is absolutely right - the laws of the game needs urgent revision.....it should not be up to players to decide when to call off a game... Did any of us hear a fat lady sing???? Bah!!

  • Arzoo on July 11, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    Thats the difference between Dhoni and former India Captain Ganguly who would have gone for 2-0 series win in stead of being satisfied with 1-0. Thats why India cant be great side despite winning series after series in comparison with Steve Waugh's Australia and Clive Lloyd's WI.

  • Rod Stark on July 11, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    To be fair, in other sports where the result is determined early (e.g., basketball and American football), other "tactics" are used to cheat the paying public--basically, the teams put in their reserves to go through the motions and run out the clock, trying not to score touch downs to save the losers embarrassment. To me this is almost as bad as stopping the game early.

    My personal preference would be that teams in all sports should fight it out with full intensity to the end so that the public gets to see what they've paid for. (I'm not counting chess which generally, I believe, does not have many paying spectators.)

    I suppose in cricket, if the captains weren't allowed to call it off early, we'd have to put up with watching "hilarious" stuff like non-bowlers tossing up long hops and full tosses, etc. Not really sure what the solution is, but it does seem basic honesty to play the game out to its conclusion.

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    Disagree. Series win by 1-0 was at risk in trying to go for 2-0 lead on 5th day crumbling pitch...with negative bowling and packed field . The decision to shut shop after 3 wickets was practical one.

  • techna on July 11, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Andy, have you ever captained a side? Maybe in your childhood for the Under 10 side. Maybe yes. To all those detractors and so called critics of Dhoni, my simple message is if you had the balls to captain the side, then you would have been in Dhoni's place rather than making rubbish insinuations about a practical decision! Its not always about winning in style!

  • King on July 11, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Dhoni wanted to reach the Hotel by an hour early!

  • Roger Mallick on July 11, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    This chase suffered from lack of strategy. At Raina's departure, they should have sent in Harbhajan or Dhoni himself to accelerate things. Then save Laxman for the end in case things went awry and wickets fell, as was the case a few years ago in an aborted chase against England, where the chase was abandoned only after a few quick wickets fell, not at only 3 wickets down. Ultimately, this result showed the invaluable role that Sehwag plays for India. No Viru, no quick start to an innings, subsequently no momentum and no desire among the others to attempt what might still be a gettable target.

  • Shrawan on July 11, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    If my interpretations are right, this is a page 2 article and Andy wrote this article with a little too much sarcasm

  • Roger Mallick on July 11, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    This chase suffered from lack of strategy. At Raina's departure, they should have sent in Harbhajan or Dhoni himself to accelerate things. Then save Laxman for the end in case things went awry and wickets fell, as was the case a few years ago in an aborted chase against England, where the chase was abandoned only after a few quick wickets fell, not at only 3 wickets down. Ultimately, this result showed the invaluable role that Sehwag plays for India. No Viru, no quick start to an innings, subsequently no momentum and no desire among the others to attempt what might still be a gettable target.

  • Chits on July 11, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    This is I guess the first article by this guy Andy which I really liked. Most of his articles are meaningless & too confusing but this one is right on money. India should be punished with some points in Test rankings for doing such cowardly act. We thought Dhoni would be a little aggressive but we forgot ultimately he hails from the Indian team and will be more concerned about records then results.

    For the records I am an Indian & a huge fan of Indian Cricket & a die-hard player too.

  • Satish on July 11, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I also wish they had tried, but if they had lost. People would have said why Dhoni did not salvage the series. People make judgements quickly. We do not have all the right information for us to make judgement on why or why India did not go for it.

    It has happened many times in test cricket, on the 5th day, team chasing the total losing all the wickets in a matter of no time.

    Fletcher has said, that this was rough pitch to score runs and it would not have mattered, but there is a possiblity that you could lose the wickets. It could have happened.

    Dhoni, well tried to win this match, but Chanderpaul played the anchor role for West Indies and denied India the win.

    Wish the Indian team all the best for the England Tour.

  • Chandresh on July 11, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    It is surprising to see how naive (and negative) most of comments are - Even Sir Don and Sir Viv were batting, this was not possible. This is TEST cricket where the usual ODI/T20 restrictions do not apply. Sammy would have had Bishoo to bowl in to rough and turn it square and others to bowl 2 feet outside off with 8 fielders. Remember Sanga deploying same tactics to stop SRT scoring a century in Ahamedabad. Stop being an arm-chair expert and celebrate the series win. India is # 1 Test Team for 2-years now, like it or not - it is the fact and will stay the same for forseeable future. Bring-on England.

  • Deepak on July 11, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    Andy u also! i can understand disappointment of ppl but u r expert who should know that win was not possible. how can team score at near 5.5 rpo when bowler have chance to ball outside of with 7-2 field or Slow their over rate and bowl 2-3 overs less what is point in loosing wickets. and ppl who think aus could have won this what gili or ponting or hyden can do if bowlers are bowling negative line its just talk that is not making any sens.

  • Balaji on July 11, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    You cannot win all the matches in a series against a team like WI where they own a respectable line up Edwards,Rampaul, Bisoo, sammy. Without having Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin, Yuvraj its very difficult to maintain the Run Rate.

  • Asokan on July 11, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    Very good article. i feel cheated. who is to blame for this pathetic, shameless act? Those who are responsible for this spineless act should go if test test cricket is to survive.

  • Vijay on July 11, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Though I agree with most points of the author, I do not agree with the last paragraph. It was shameful that one of the most successful captains in World cricket took a cowardly decision of not going for a win that wasn't unreachable. However, if Dhoni and co had decided that, how is it going to help if ICC stops players from deciding on a negotiation? Had that rule been there, Lax and Dravid would have played out 15 overs for 30 runs.

    Dhoni has disappointed his fans who thought of him as highly dynamic, focused and aggressive. Simple as that.

  • Sukh on July 11, 2011, 17:38 GMT

    I want my money back for popping popcorn.

  • Abdul Enqyoob on July 11, 2011, 17:37 GMT

    The premise is that a team that is No. 1 does not use common sense.

    The way they BECAME No. 1 is by using sense and intelligence.

    I agree that this match should have been played out, but ONLY if the rules prohibited negative bowling and lopsided field placement. Those ranting here evidently did not watch the videos with Bishoo bowling round the wicket, outside the leg-stump, and Rampaul, Sammy and Edwards bowling wide of the off-stump, with respectively loaded field settings.

  • Jayakumar on July 11, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    Andy !! ... I think u are confusing Test Cricket with One-Day Cricket !!

  • Mann on July 11, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    You guy don't seem to like the Indian team very much. As Andy pointed out this is the same Dhoni that pulled us out of a loss with Gambhir for the world cup. Respect him. Look at test strike rates of people batting, they are not that high, infact highest is Raina with 56 (off 100 balls). No performance from Kohli here. Statistics don't change over night. It's not these guys that are tainted by 20/20, it's you guys.

    You guys should be so lucky to watch what the stars have lined up for India, or perhaps you enjoyed our pervious performances, and surely they'll come again.

    Personally, I was thinking why didn't MS promote himself up the order and Kohli and take Laxman last, but that's assuming that Laxman and Dravid would stay the course if that didn't work. Not to mention morally questionable bowling by the WI.

    But I'm sure that Raina, Dhoni, and Fletcher knew what could be done on that pitch, better than I or anyone here.

    Contrats team for winning all 3 formats.

  • Pankaj on July 11, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    This looks like everyone has T20 in mind while posting their comment. How many times did a team get that kind of average while chasing down a small total. Have you guys forgotten test cricket? If Sehwag was around, maybe we couldve managed. But we didnt have Sehwag. WI fast bowlers were bowling way outside the off stump. Bishoo was bowling way outside the leg stump hitting the pads. It was so negative it wasnt even worth appealing. They werent even attacking the batsmen. Sammy look a lap of honor while saving the game. He brought in all negativity in his approach to save the game, the negativity all these T20 viewers fail to understand. And they did try hitting boundary (or two) every over while Vijay/Dravid were around. Once they both fell and Raina fell, team strategists took a step back. I'll admit I didn't like it but I cant blame them. Didnt we applaud the same Dhoni for declaring in 2nd test? They go aggressive or defensive depending on a situation, not just cos they have to.

  • rj on July 11, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    This shows the importance of Sehwag to Team India. He is the only one in the team who is always looking to win no matter what the situation. And his confidence rubs off on the team so they think positively. Without Sehwag, India is an average team at best, especially in test cricket. A case in point would be the win India forced in Mumbai test in 2008, it was solely possible due to Sehwag showing a win was achievable which at the outset looked improbable.

  • Singh on July 11, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    I am not sure after how many years I was following a test series, let alone a test match, which I WATCHED live (intermittently tough) for all five days. only to find out that contestants made a bilateral choice to call off the contest. I am not sure how long will it take for me to forget this and start following this format again.

    Isn't it as bad as match fixing?? which hurt the games popularity.

    On one hand ICC crys about the losing popularity of the test cricket, on the other there are no rules to force contestants to strive for win.

    I bet if we have similar choice of abandoning the contest when things are evenly poised in ODI and T20 those format will suffer similar decline.

    If we really want test format to be popular it needs to get rid "draw" there got be a result in the end.

  • Observer on July 11, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    Article started of a good note but ended poorly. You cannot expect the umpires to make such decisions here. What-if the batting team did a dour batting for the rest of the overs. What-if the bowling team bowled negative lines...How many times have we seen the Indian team collapse for less than or little over 100 with a mighty batting lineup of Sachin, Sourav, Azhar, Dravid, Laxman...??? Imagine 2 quick wickets and you have a world of pressure on the tail. More often than not you could expect a heart breaking / nail biting finish. Which would be the last thing an INDIAN cricket fan wanted at the end of a successful tour....

  • wh on July 11, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    'The evidence suggests that many Test captains would happily shake hands on a draw after three overs on the first morning, just to be on the safe side.' Good one. Federer and Nadal should do the same thing in the next grand slam finals they play: 3-3 in first set, call it off.

  • wh on July 11, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    'The evidence suggests that many Test captains would happily shake hands on a draw after three overs on the first morning, just to be on the safe side.' Good one. Federer and Nadal should do the same thing in the next grand slam finals they play: 3-3 in first set, call it off.

  • njr1330 on July 11, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    Will anyone find a tailor with enough spare material to sew the huge yellow streak that Dhoni clearly wants inserted in his jacket! Can u imagine I.T. Botham or Imran Khan not going for this victory? Can anyone remember the late (great) David Hookes in the Sheffield Shield final v Victoria? He was so angry and disgusted with their negative tactics that he went out on the last day and scored 250-odd in about an hour! Now that's what I call a chase! I think the spectators may be able to sue: on the grounds that what they received was not of merchantable quality nor reasonably fit for its purpose (i.e. entertainment)!

  • Pankaj Mittal on July 11, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    I completely disagree with all the comments. I think in the end Cricket is the winner. WI put lot of efforts in this third test and people will remember there heroic efforts to earn a draw. Noone ever reminds of losers. Imagine the feeling of WI cricket lovers. Next time they will even turn out in bigger numbers to support the team because they played like fighters. India made a sensible decision in the spirit of the game. Ruthlessness is ok if you play with Aussies, England, South Africa but countries like WI who are clearly struggling with less and less cricket lovers, this is the perfect result to boost the cricket in there.

  • Shriram Krishnan on July 11, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    Instead of blaming Dhoni, who played by the rules and won India the series, we need to look at changing the rules for the last hour of a test match. Only the umpires should decide whether it is pointless for a match to continue. The decision should rest with the captains only after the umpires decide that it is pointless, and offer the 2 captains a chance to walk off.

  • David Franklin on July 11, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    India had a choice between (1) winning 70%, drawing 25% and losing 5%, and (2) a certain draw. That's 14 wins for every loss. If you have an expected win-loss ratio of slightly less than 1:1 you should consider "going for it" for the sake of the spirit of the game; more than 1:1 and it's a no-brainer. Not to go for it at 14:1 is utterly ridiculous.

  • DaGameChanger on July 11, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    India fans..they win they complained...they lose they complain. WI already had mindset of negative bowling so even if India wanted to press for win, WI could've clogged the runs easily by having one-side field. I would have understand if fans would have turn the screw if India was leading series 2-0.

  • Parikshit on July 11, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    The outrage & dissappointment had to have only one antidote .. Zaltzmanism. And Zaltz did'nt dissappoint. Ali & Frazier .. LOL, forget the test, just imagine them both waltzing hand in hand. For the match, well no rules can help when the attitudes ar'nt in line. The match wud still hv been a draw, but the No. 1 test team was a shame. The game runs not by them, but by the public & when you cheat the public, you know you are hitting the axe on your own foot. Shame .. not for not winning, but for not trying. Thumbs down

  • CG on July 11, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    I think the India team were already thinking of Engalnd and they had given up this match way early in the afternoon when they couldn't get the 9th wicket. It seems that mentally the team was already thinking of England when there was a match on hands to play and win . It often happens in situation like this that you become defensive and just want to limit damage rather than being ambitious.

    Its a shame that India didn't go for the win but we shouldn't admonish them for this . I think India would have gone for a win if the number 1 spot was at stake but it was not .

  • anil on July 11, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    Lets be a Devil's Advocate here - Indian tail didnot faled throug out the series excepts ist inning of ist test by Bhajii.

  • Sashi Panoli on July 11, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    What happened was not cricket. At no point during the match did Indian team look like wanting to win. There could be much more to this result than that meets the eye. I feel sorry for the many fans, mainly in India who had followed this series staying awake most of the night. Mr. Dhoni and party owes an apology to them at the least. Disgusting!

  • Vivek on July 11, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    I was devastated ... not sure how many abuses I hurled at 3 in the morning when I heard Dhoni saying that we were risking losing the match so we agreed to a draw. I am an ardent test cricket follower but I am going to stop following Indian team that doesn't have spine and courage to stamp their authority on less than ordinary teams such as West Indies. Pathetic show guys ... you were led by someone who will be now difficult to be called a leader with this type of decision making ... I felt worst than when India was unable to make 120 in the 4th innings during one of 90s West Indies tours!!

  • siddharth on July 11, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    Andy makes a valid point about teams being reluctant to go in for the kill (although his references to literary examples distract the reader from the main point of the article). However in defense of the Indian team, it could be said that had they pressed on and started picking off runs at a good pace (which looked unlikely), the WI bowlers would have resorted to the leg-stump line bowling making it hard to score runs off.

  • SpinG on July 11, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    Hi Andy, as u rightly said that Cricket is the sole looser after watching the astonishing conclusion of match result to be draw. I was unable to digest at the decision arrived at by Dhoni & Co. despite having stalwarts still in crease & in worst case, one of them would have been rightly bailed-India_out of trouble. But, Dhoni thought otherwise letting a hard core fan of Test Cricket in me left to shell shocked. I am utterly disappointed as any of the Test Cricket lovers. I would have been a proud Indian even if India lost the game fighting till the very end. We cant be champs unless we showcase fighting spirit. Dhoni, I never thought you might go down with such a sense-less decision to call off the game.

  • Amit on July 11, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    Disagree. Whilst I was disappointed whilst watching the match - on later reflection I feel india did the mature thing. Why risk a series just to make Andy smile? I guarantee india would have gone for it had they been 2-0 in the series. Bishoo was bowling a good negative line and the batsmen could not really get after them. Vijay tried - did well but failed when he really went for it. The same applies to Raina who failed when that was his sole purpose to accelerate.

    I do think that matches should not be called off irrespective of the situation but believe the result would have been the same with India perhaps 40 odd runs closer but that's about it.

    As above initial disappointment but then the reailty of the matter was the slow bitch and good negative bowling by bishoo and co.

    Scoring 5.5 on that pitch was never on!

  • Rishil Raja on July 11, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    The part about Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier doing a slow waltz had me rofl-ing! But India's killer instincts seems to be only reserved for the one-dayers and the T20 games. The game of Test cricket needs much more than that to keep it's spectators coming to watch the stadiums.

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    This is poor sportsmanship. Just think what would happen if this happened in every sport-players decided to stop competing from fear of losing-it would no longer be called a sport-it would be called a farce-a farce pulled on the fans-an undesirable precedent for the reputation of the Test format. That being said, MSD still has years of captaincy ahead of him and people do learn from being different situations. Hopefully this is the case with MSD.

  • CollisKing on July 11, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Great article.

    As a West Indies supporter I watched every ball of this 3-match series. For the test match to end in such an anti-climax was predictably disappointing. Tony Greig was spot-on : Team India are a group of relatively wealthy young men, had a substantial cash reward been on offer to win the match would the Indian batsman pushed for the win ? Of course.

    The marvellous Dominica locals turned up in thousands for their first ever Test match. Cheering every boundary, every wicket for the home side. Even sitting respectively through a 7-hour, 5 boundaries-only Chanderpaul match-saving crease occupation (due to the inadequacy's of his stroke-playing colleagues). Will they be back after this farce ? God save Test Cricket.

  • identity on July 11, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    the best part of this piece is the caption on the image

  • Suhas Wadadekar on July 11, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    .....and I slightly disagree with the author's view that MS Dhoni chickened out. Had India went for the kill and lost 10 wickets, they would gone from winning the series to a series draw. I applaud MS Dhoni to look at the big picture and bag the series for India. It is Test cricket that allows what Dhoni did; he played by the rules, it's rules that need to change. Blame the right thing Mr. Zaltzman.

  • Suhas Wadadekar on July 11, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    Totally agree. This is ICC's failing. This is Cricket and it's followers no-change-will-be-accepted-to-the-most-pure-form-of-the-game.

    Spot on. No game, no contest sporting or otherwise, in this whole wide world accepts a draw as a result. Especially not if the participants are toiling for 5 days in the sun.

    ICC should stop thinking of curbing T20s and playing day and night test matches. They should enforce a result on each and every test match. That is the single most thing that can prolong Test Cricket's life.

  • dindy on July 11, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    It's one of the best articles I've read on the game to date. Congrats to the "Tiger"

  • T.N. Sreenivasan on July 11, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    All you armchair players, please note that the teams were playing a TEST match under test match rules. Don't compare with a one day game and its regulations. One just can't play one type of game with another type's rules.

    Can anyone recall the last time when a 'run a ball' was scored in a test match ?

    Please be reasonable guys. Cool down and analyse with all the facts.

  • anagh on July 11, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Yes,India should have batted on for the 15 overs even if they did not win.As you rightly said,the last hour of a test match is not the time for rest.But having said that,even if India had batted on the match would probably have been a draw.The reason is,Rahul Dravid was there and he is just unable to change gears.Even yesterday he scored 34 off 89.Had India gone for the win,both the batsmen would have to score quickly and with Dravid there,it was highly unlikely.

  • Testing Testingullah on July 11, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Some ridiculous comments from Mr. Zaltzman. I hope you are able to pass them off as feeble attempts at humour, because if one were to take them seriously, they would think you are talking rubbish.

    A few points:

    - confirming 'pre-eminence' in the world game. Why would a team that has been unbeaten in a test series for 3 years NEED to 'confirm it's pre-eminence', that too by beating an awful West Indian side??!!

    - Dhoni and Kohli had very poor series with the bat. That they won the World Cup has no bearing on their ability to secure a test match in their current form. You don't rely on tailenders to finish run a ball chases in test conditions.

    - The analogies with Everest, Aldrin, Ali, are ridiculous (and not funny in the slightest). The 'Everest' for this team was to win the series. They accomplished that. Weather control is beyond the powers of the BCCI.

    - Spectators cheated? They were delighted to see their team earn a draw. Every one was happy with the result, why aren't you??

  • SM on July 11, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    thanks Andy! You have @#$% to say the truth! What a shame! Indians are NOT fit to be #1. This is coming from an Indian! what a shame! This clearly tells that India, in particular, Dhoni is NOT confident of HIS OWN BATTING SKILLS, when their bowlers worked their rear end to make the match interesting, the Indian so called hyped batsman went for a meek surrender! Disgusting to say the least!! Why can't they go for a kill! Here, WI has bowled without RAVI in the first innings, so now INDIANS are scared that RAVI is back for the second! Just imagine, if Ravi was there in the first, I bet indians would not have scored 300+ runs! INDIANS ARE THE BIGGEST LOSERS here! Dhoni the chicken, learn from SAMMY!!!

  • MGM on July 11, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    I know this from the beginning, the way India specially Dravid was batting. This was happened because India had 1-0 up in the series, if the they were 0-0, then the approach for the day 5 of 3rd test would have entirely different. My question is why India shy to go for the kill in 3rd test as well, where was that killer instinct usually shown in other teams. India is ranked No. 1 so they should always prove they are No. 1. Really, it was just silly to throw away a real Test win. Ok Dhoni is a cool captain, but this must of coolness is not good for Indian cricket.

  • Abdul on July 11, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Cricket Failed to impress with the blessings of Dhoni and Fletcher. I thought lucky to be an indian as my team is dominating both versions of game..But Now I feel ashamed to be an indian .

  • kanishka on July 11, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    exactly, the point is not that India did not win the test match, but the point is India didn't try hard enough to win it, they should have tried for 1 more wicket atleast, Dhoni should have come out after Raina, had he got out cheaply too, then it would have been fair to close the Shop, to be honest i don't think India could have successfully chased the target at 4 rpo, but by giving it a go, they could have escapped the criticism

  • Raghu on July 11, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    We dont have the rights to say that we are No:1 in Test Cricket........Last Sunday Test Cricket was humiliated by Indian Team!!!!

  • Sagar on July 11, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    Andy - Games of Chess are decided as draw by both opponents and sometimes people complain that they could have played out. But there is a deep strategic and tactical thinking behind offering and taking draws. It's a psychological game. I won't mind cricket too have a provision like that..:-) That would make the game more intelligent!

  • Praveen on July 11, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    Dhoni and Kohli are hardly in the best of form. Harbhajan is a hit or miss. Laxman has the uncanny knack of finding the weirdest way to get out. Dhoni has not signed a pledge with the spectators to provide them with edge of the seat thrillers.....go see a Bond movie if you want that. As a captain, his first and foremost duty is to the team and protect its interests. He tried winning with Raina and once he got out, there was no way on current form against Rampaul and Edwards that this lineup would risk a loss. All the people shouting from the rooftops would be baying for Dhoni's blood for having squandered a series win. No one knows the pitch as well as the guys in the middle and when someone like Dravid sends a message back saying that the pitch is difficult, you listen to him. Not try to please the armchair critics.

  • Rajiv Naik on July 11, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    This was exactly what I emailed the commentary team as I was watching the match. I'm glad you have spoken about this, Andy. This is the first time that I have lost respect for Dhoni as a caption. And you could see in the aggressive and presumptuous way he was answering the questions at the post match ceremony, that somewhere he has begun to believe in a sense of entitlement and touch-me-not attitude. No other sport allows this nonsense. One of the best tennis matches of all time, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer was played in near darkness, because everyone wanted a result. Sport is played for a result, and I remembered that incredulous American fan you'd interviewed at the tied World Cup match between India and England at Bangalore who said at the end of it, 'What do you mean it's a tie?'!! Wonder what he's say to playing for five days, and then not even wanting to enforce a result!

  • Mani on July 11, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    MSD as captain has won 1 50 over world cup, 1 20 over world cup, 2 IPLs and 1 champions trophy. If the man says chasing 86 was not a good idea, it wasn't. End of argument.

  • Vivky on July 11, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    Everyone seem to be caught up on why India did not go for the win. On the other hand why did WI not try for a victory by not bowling a negative line given that they were trainling in the series and the fact that Rahul and VVS were the only ones who have looked solid in his tour. The critisicm that the No 1 team should go for it is ludicrous. Australia without 5 of its top players in the Waugh era would not have gone fot it. And for the record Australians never go for victory unless they have the series in the bag. A lot goes into the decision making for the captain, the standing in the series, how many batsmen in his side are in form, nature of the pitch, mindset of the opposition (who played for a draw inspite of being 0-1), how the current batsmen are able to score etc. The same Dhoni would have been crucified if India went bang bang and lost. The reason India is doing well in test cricket is because they have become practical choosing consistency over emotion/flamboyance

  • abhi on July 11, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    There seem to be lot of rantings about abandoned chase. The chase was pursued until Raina's wicket. In pursuit of the target there were chances of loosing the match given the batting display of this team in the series. How many times they have crossed 300 mark and on several instances there were sudden batting collapses. Its more to do with Dhoni's confidence on himself, Virat, VVS (slow goer). The batting has not been great in this series.

  • Aditya on July 11, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    'Statement of intent' and all that aside. Let's think rationally. Had we gone for the target, WI would have started bowling short. Could we afford to lose 1/2 guys due to freak injury in a pointless run chase just for getting the kicks? Let the team play for the country and not for the crowd. Guys, Dhoni is a very rational caption and the best India has had. Cut him some slack!

  • sumesh on July 11, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    I agree India didn’t had the fire Power(Sehwag,Gambir and Sachin,Zaheer)..but we should have tried it, instead of going for the record. Dhoni..along with your world cup triumph. you will also be remembered for this test match.

  • vijay on July 11, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Its not just cricket, I, a cricket fan felt like a loser after following the match for 5 days just to know our captain was content with 1-0 and couldnt push for a win or atleast try by sending kohli or bhajji up the order if he was so scared of losing 7 wickets in 15 overs.

  • tubelight on July 11, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Well said, Andy. Test cricket laid to rest in Dominica after a valiant and victorious fight to protect Munaf Patel's wicket. When I heard the phrase "mandatory 15 overs" I thought, aha, *that* sounds promising - they will have to play it. Then, next minute, they all head to the bar. The reason they should play, and, more importantly, play to win, even at the expense of losing Munaf's wicket and giving up their 1-0 lead is because people like me - who watch an odd test match as an isolated drama, separate from its context in the series or history - will feel cheated and stop following cricket.

  • JP on July 11, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    Great article. This line was the best: "The evidence suggests that many Test captains would happily shake hands on a draw after three overs on the first morning, just to be on the safe side."

  • CHERUVVU on July 11, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Dhoni has done what he felt was the best way out for Hindustan. Stop arguing about the pros and cons of the decision. Hindustan remains the number one in Test Cricket because of his decision. Period.

  • Amod on July 11, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    Well... just goes to show that Dhoni has a long way to go in joining the league of Mark "Tubby" Taylor, potentially the greatest tactical and daring captain ever (with due respect to Mike Brearley).

    However, I think he will eventually get there and take bigger risks in upcoming games to establish India as the Numero Uno in world cricket.

    Lets face it. India have been "lambs" abroad all these years. So, any series win is a good for now. Risks will be taken when reputation is established.

  • srimant on July 11, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    I'm sure all you critics have never hold a bat or played on natural turf. For you all, 86 runs of 90 balls is an arthemetical stat that must be achieved, the form of the game, the turf and the bowlers be damned. 86 off 90 looks possible in an a/c room and from a plush sofa. Thank your stars for where Dhoni has taken India. This was not a easy series or an easy WI side, they fought well and India without Shewag did well to score at 2.93!

  • cav on July 11, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    I guess Dhoni and co wanted more time for umpire bashing in the post match press conference.

  • Doug Newsam on July 11, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    @swami - Your rantings are quite silly. The next best option would have been to shut shop and play out the 15 overs, which they would have done quite easily. If the players are struggling to score at 4-5 RPO even after being in there for dozens of overs, then we have to accept that conditions were probably tough. Swami you are out to lunch enjoy the trip. If Fidel Edwards could hang around as long as he did, unruffled, then the pitch had few demons of note. End of story. That was a sad cop out by the Indian team and Dhoni particularly. He had a reputation of courage and adventure, what's happened? I guess beating the WI convincingly no longer means anything.

  • Siddharth on July 11, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    It's very easy for us to sit here sipping coffee and say India gave up. The pitch was a horribly slow one, where even an Inzy or Anwar as a bowler could have tied up one end! Its not as though Kohli being promoted up the order would have done any good. What if he had failed like Raina? 4 wickets down, slow pitch, tough to score runs, the bowling team smells a chance!

  • Vinod on July 11, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    It is very disappointing to see India giving up on the chase of mere 180 in 50 overs. I did not see an intent to win, may be as they have already won the series. It is not the attitude I can see from a world No 1 team. Dhoni decided to stop when 15 overs left and 86 to chase against a low rated team. No Wonder public are not showing interest in test matches. I am upset as a test cricket fan. :(

  • RAJENDRA KUBAL on July 11, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    Lack of confidence in Team India. hesitate to say "World Champions". They are not playing like champions. Dhoni do not have faith in himself and in team India so he has given up. Shameful Act. They know their limited capacity so he surrender. SHAME SHAME SHAME TEAM INDIA.

  • P-Diddy-King-Kong on July 11, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    The whole thing reeks of Fletcher. It was the same when England were crowned the undisputed "BOOOOORING...BOOOOOORING" cricket champions of the world. The brains behind that was Fletcher. Half the battle in cricket is letting the opponent know your going for their jugular, every minute of the game. If the coach has no faith in the team, the team will go nowhere.

  • Lalit Shah on July 11, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    Spot on.. Totally agree with everyone's sentiments. I cancelled all my evening engagements after we finally did get WI all out, got myself a beer and settled in front of the TV for the chase. It was all exciting with Mukund gone first ball. After Suresh got out I thought Bhaji would come out.. but was shocked to see that they gave up. The laws should be re written to avoid this deliberate killing of Test Cricket.

  • Andy on July 11, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    if you are going with bench strength

    with out having any fiery batsman like sehwag, can you expect dravid and laxman to fire up when the big guns fail its a matter of time Wi finish the game in their way after losing the first wiket in the very first over.blame the weather it played two results thats my opinion.

  • PeeBee on July 11, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    In theory I agree with what you're saying but it's not practical. In both of the situations you described, the reality is that forcing IND/ENG to play out the 15 overs would have more likely than not produced a dull last hour of play. India had no intention of risking the series win to go for it. Had that been Ricky Ponting and AUS I think it would have been a different result. ENG similarly would have bowled a defensive line and defensive field to not risk injury. The reality is that we need to find another way in test cricket to guarantee an outcome. I feel that the game is losing momentum because after 5 days of play, you may not have a winner. Who wants to watch a match for 5 days to come to the conclusion that in fact the better team could not be determined? Sure there are plenty of situations with teams fighting for a draw on a thrilling 5th day but more often than not it's a boring draw. The rules need to force captains to take risks. This will bring more people back.

  • Sohaib Alavi on July 11, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Superb article andy.....and thank God someone has written about this...it was absolutely ridiculous to see India,the best team in the world,to bow down of a highly doable challenge so timidly.shame on them,and shame on ICC for continuing with this BS!

  • Karthik on July 11, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    the major difference between the Australian team last decade and the current Indian side is the attitude.. firstly Australia would have never sent a second string team even if the opponent was a minnow.. secondly they would always want to win every game irrespective of their position in the series.. character is what makes a champion side.. this Indian team can become a champion only on paper and not in spirit..

  • farhan on July 11, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    So, if conditions are tuff, u go home. Brilliant, why bother coming to play a grewling test match. Sit home and have a pillow fight instead.

  • Animesh on July 11, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Pathetic show of character by Team India. Spoiled the party mood of winning all the series in the tour.

  • Addsmiles on July 11, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    I work as a slave, they prefer the euphism 'IT professional' though. I was slogging at work all through the weekend. I pleaded, did unimaginable things and finally agreed to forgo my week's salary so that I could get away for 2 hours to watch the final stages of the game. And then you all know what happened! Ok back to work!

  • Foram on July 11, 2011, 12:35 GMT

    kept refreshing to check on scores then to notice that match has been drawn! take this silly option of "drop the weapon and run" away from Test Playing members!

    who are we? French? :p

    Well Played Kerty and Shivie! and Dhoni!... well, ride the CWC glory for now matie! none of this in England!!!

  • Sojan on July 11, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    A team's first responsibility is to not lose. Having wrapped up the series, I don't see why Team India would risk losing, no matter how miniscule the chances. Winning was not really possible. This isn't a ODI or T20 - the west Indies would have bowled Bishoo on an outside the leg line - to be able to chase a run a ball. There is a reason we have all those rules in limited overs cricket. If anyone is to blame, it's the rules. Whether a result is possible is not the point - the players should never have the option to walk off without playing 90 oversin a day, weather permitting. The fans paid to watch a full days game and that's exactly what they should have gotten. It's time to do away with these archaic rules about the "Gentleman's Game". It is not one anymore. It's a spectator sport with millions of passionate fans.

  • Desmond on July 11, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    I am a fan of Andy's humour. However, armchair critics, like most who have posted comments berating the Indian team, are a dime a dozen. The highest run-rate achieved under much less pressure in this test was by India, 2.93 RPO. Could India have realistically been expected to up that to almost 6 RPO under severe pressure? Did nobody listen to Fletcher, Dhoni, others ON THE GROUND, literally??? CONGRATULATIONS, B-TEAM INDIA, ON TWO GREAT SERIES

  • Mat Richards on July 11, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    India decided not to risk the win, for 2 reasons 1. they have no faith in they younger players who were sent WI to play in this test series 2. They know England are a better side then them and are corncened that in the very near future England will take there number 1 spot in test rankings and they wanted to hold on for as long as possibile

    Cant wait for England to smash this India side apart

  • Srini on July 11, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    This was India's match to win or draw and they chose the 2nd option true to their reputation. WI also played its part in this. Shiv, settled at the crease by the 5th day and assured presence of Fidel, should have upped the scroing tempo. They ate precious time with too few runs and seemed to be content with a draw than win. For Test cricket to survive in future, draws must be avoided after 5 days of cricket.

  • George on July 11, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Would Clive Lloyd have shaken on a draw? Viv Richards? Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh? pre-2010 Ricky Ponting? Bradman circa-1948? Frank Worrell? No, I don't think so either.

    If you want to be the best side in the world and leave a mark on cricket history, you have to take risks in pursuit of victory. This wasn't even much of a risk. Shame on Dhoni (& ditto Strauss at Lords)

  • Kailash on July 11, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    India had no chance of making those runs, as WI could have bowled wide balls, which are not called wides in Test cricket. Rampaul was bowling such wides.

    With matches against England coming up there was no point in risking Indian players health.

    Well done India!

  • Gohar on July 11, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Thats not the right approach, there is India is different from Australia, I remember Naseer hussain who took decisive decision to make a possible result.

  • Kashyap on July 11, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    Well said Andy.

    Taking away the option of quitting - and I use that word deliberately- from the players' hands is a potential remedy and a point I haven't seen anyone else make in this entire debate.

    This just underscores India's lack of commitment or enthusiasm towards test cricket. Imagine a win on the final day and how it may have renewed a nation's faith in test cricket!

    There is no accountability, no pressure of public indictment for compromising test wins. So no one cares. I'm not sure if men who matter in India even regard it as a premiere format in the game anymore.

    Looking at how Indian cricket as transformed into a complete corporate enterprise in the last decade, I have no doubt the death of the longer format is imminent in India. Just a matter of a a few retirements before we see the dramatic collapse of test cricket in India.

    Excellent and entertaining reading. Thanks!

  • ragu on July 11, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    I agree with the sentiments in this article. But in a sense I thank God that there was so much of it and not more as it saved us from an extra half hour of commercials. Unless the advertisers make a fuss about being short changed there will be no change. Test Cricket R.I.P.

  • Rakesh on July 11, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    India does not deserve to be No 1. No killer instinct. Over hyped cricketers who play the game in the 1930's mode. Shame on Dhoni. But it is also an Indian cricket culture. Indian captains have always been safety-first-no-guts-in-the-stomach-or-newhere-else guys.

  • Nadeem on July 11, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    Spot on. It looked to be a great ending to the test match, 180 needed in 47 overs. Then first ball a wicket. But even with that Sammy never looked like he was trying to win, no pressure close to the bat, just the regular slips, that was eventually reduced to 1 even when Ravi was bowling. The end however was a joke... spineless from both captains. The old windies, and the recent aussies would NEVER have played it like that, batting or bowling.

  • Terry I on July 11, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    Love all your work Andy, and this may be the best piece yet. Your comedy always seems better when it is channeled from something real, an event of sorts for example, rather than the need to entertain. You reacting honestly is the entertainment.

    The sarcasm and hyperbole throughout this piece is the perfect way to make a point, because, what happened is SO absurd. It is so absurd, in various sections of the Cricinfo site I have read myriad versions of "I was up at 2 am having a break and a boost, and when I got back, it was over, WTF!!". WTF indeed. The only defenses all retain the one sentiment - winning the series. Now if you're struggling, I could understand holding on to a series win. But India is already number 1, with a captain that's renowned for belting 6s to win close, high caliber games. Why would anyone care about a series win? Money? Endorsements? The fear or losing?

    The fear. Some commentators, have mentioned that Aus would have gone for the chase. Damn straight.

  • Jack on July 11, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Cricket captains will baulk at going after a win in these circumstances and losing the match. Remember Garry Sobers' declaration against England in Trinidad in 1968? Sobers declared, England knoecked off the runs, and he was eaten alive. For many people it is the major event of his illustrious career.

  • Anish on July 11, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    ICC should do away with this voluntary calling off of test matches. Paying public and TV viewers, not to talk about the advertisers, should be entitled to get full value for what they pay for. Teams should not be allowed to avail of this easy option in this day and age.

  • S K Iyer on July 11, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    To blame Dhoni alone is wrong; these decisions are normally that of the tour-management which includes the Coach and the Tour-Manager. HST, it was thought that bringing Raina on at 4 after sending a message to Vijay to get out (thru Badri), was an intent to switch to a t20 mode and get the balance with the Wall dropping anchor at the other-end. But all Raina managed was to ensure that Ravi Rampaul would have a large laundry-bill - and so the Plan B was immediately enforced. It is good that Young Kohli is not on the UK tour; the vote of no-confidence in him would have ensured that it would have been a miserable tour for him. BTW, Andy Zaltzman - you need to read up history of cricket quickly to be upto speed with the fact that the spectators and the game-followers were not exactly for whom the game has been played so far!! Ever heard of Wisden providing info on the no of spectators at each match, or something like that?? It is just an incidental stat!!!

  • Sreenivaasan.S on July 11, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Not fair at all to MSD... India has this habit of shooting itself in their foot... A draw like this is better than a chase gone horribly wrong... Worst things have happened.. Then people would have been writing about how Indian batting is still "loose" and would have blamed MSD for the defeat

  • David on July 11, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    O to have the gift of articulacy like you Mr Zaltzman! How on Earth could any cricket fan explain this nonsense to someone not as yet into cricket? Man Utd 2-1 down with ten minutes to go against a stubborn defence and they say " don't thnk we will score" and walk off? And the worst of it was the compliance of TMS commentators not raising a word of complaint in the Lord's/Strauss case. How true that you can't trust the players (or ex-players) to think of anything more than their own convenience. The good of the game and the entertainment of the people who pay for the professional game is far to important to be left to them it seems. So what can be done? Thanks again for you great writing.

  • Samir Desai on July 11, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Why is this on page 2? This deserved to be the banner headline! Pathetic display by the No 1 team. Well done Andy!

  • Lochan G.P. on July 11, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    India would have earned respect if it had even lost going for a win than end in this fashion. And umpires had no business to allow the match to be called-off with 15 good overs remaining. ICC should look into this aspect.

  • Y2SJ on July 11, 2011, 10:27 GMT

    Dhoni took a defensive decision instead of going for the kill. Unless they show ruthlessness, they cant become world beaters. they might be world champions, but not world beaters.

  • Aditya on July 11, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    "It must not be allowed to happen in future." +1 to that. ICC should worry more about such rules than the UDRS. A rude reminder to us fans that India is a statistical no. 1 as yet.

  • prince on July 11, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    last night i aborted my sleep for hours to c sum exicting stuff....what the hell it was! i feel cheated..and sidelined....................at that instant

  • Dilip Mishra on July 11, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    This is the only reason that despite ranked no 1 test team, no body accept this reality for India, Inida looked satisfied at winning the series 1-0 and not the hearts of the people who are cricket lovers, It was best opportunity for India to make it 2-0 but lack of interest denied victory, It is a negative point for leadership qualities of Dhoni, Remember W Indies has always beat every nation at their peak performance and despite they are at bottom of rankings, people still love West Indian enthusiism

  • Nasser Ali Khan on July 11, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Well said, Andy - yet again!

    As you mentioned, "why were they allowed to?", is the question the cricket authorities should answer. The game exists because of cricket lovers. If they are continously short-changed, they shall start to disappear. The comments to your article support your views on this shameful episode.

    Even if India tried not to lose the match, the tussle between bat and bowl would have been intriguing. This is what test cricket is all about. And I say this as a Pakistani supporter.

  • Arun Reddy on July 11, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    I sacrificed what is supposed to be the last best summer weekend in UK to watch this match & all i get from my captain is ''we played safe''. Atleast for this reson BCCI should ban Dhoni from a series.Its such a shame. good article though, someone make Dhoni read this plz.

  • Ajay on July 11, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    Common BCCI ask for accountability from the Coaching and the mgmt staff in the team. They just can't get away with this. Else be ready to be crowned as Cowards no. 1.

  • Tom on July 11, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    A little dismayed to see the response of some commentators has been "limited overs, coloured uniforms, blaring music, cheerleaders, etc.." Test cricket is going to be saved by improving the quality of the product, not by changing it into a longer version of the IPL- that's still killing it, just in a different way.

    It seems to be taken for granted that Test cricket should be drawn-out and dull, by both spectators and players. Makes you wonder how it survived for ~100 years as the only form of international cricket.

    If there are to be changes to the laws they need to retain the integrity of the product (not cheapen or lessen it) while encouraging teams to be more positive. I don't think there's anything wrong with a draw so long as at least one side is playing for a win (e.g. Old Trafford 2005). In any case, the article was bang on. Maybe it's time for an "Admiral Byng" rule - match referees to issue suspensions to those captains not thought to be playing sufficiently positively

  • ritesh on July 11, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Agree, so disappointing. Minus 1 for Dhoni. whats fletchers role in this? minus 5 for him.

  • EZ on July 11, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    One word: BRILLIANT!

  • Andrew Dodds on July 11, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Simple question that aspiring no-1-in-the-world-captains should ask:

    What Would Steve Waugh Do?

  • AS on July 11, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    No wonder Zaltzman doesn't actually play cricket ... and only writes about it. If only things were as easy playing the 4th innings on a 5th day pitch in West Indies as picking up your pen/laptop and writing/typing that witty, ranting, funny article.

  • mikeindex on July 11, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Top-notch article, and absolutely spot-on regarding the Indian strategy and indeed the prevailing attitude among most Test captains. Andy writes so much better when he gives his passion for the game free rein and doesn't try excessively hard to be funny

  • Frustrated on July 11, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Can you imagine any of the truly great No. 1 teams of the past settling for the draw given a similar situation? Picture Sir Viv chewing on his gum and deciding he didn't think his team good enough to chase such a target. Would Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh have been content to shake hands and amble off with time to play and a game to be won? It was the desire and need to win that drove those leaders and their teams to become the dominant personalities and sides of their generation as well as becoming the most watchable sides, not only for their own fans but the neutral spectators as well. I can see myself in 40 years regailing my grandchildren with stories of Steve and Curtly being dragged apart, Taylor declaring on 334 to give his team every chance of forcing a win and Dohni walking off the field with 86 needed from 15 overs and 7 wickets in hand.

  • Mark on July 11, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    The Lords Test was somewhat different. Sri Lanka were batting comfortably and the match was going nowhere. Yes, it's true that you would have liked England to try one final burst and then probably bail out with 10 overs to go if no more wickets had fallen, but the decision was defensible.

    Here though, both sides started the final innings with a shot at victory, but both were oddly defensive. Fidel Edwards took a wicket with his first ball and was creating real problems in his first spell, but there never seemed to be a belief that the West Indians could put India under real pressure and India seemed terrified of the prospect of losing the Test. Both sides seemed to feel that 1-0 was a good enough result and didn't want to do anything that might threaten it.

    Could the West Indies have batted faster and set a target? Probably not. With 8 wickets down any attempt to force the pace would have handed the match to India on a platter, but you still feel a bit disappointed.

  • aaditya on July 11, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    what was more annoying was fletcher's defence..he said that it was difficult to bat on the track and score 3 an over..hmm..fiedel edwards batted for 40 overs..so there was no chance of the indian tail to fold up in 15 overs..dont make rubbish arguments..either say that u were too lasy to bat on and wanted to go the hotel and party or just say that u were incompetent to score at that pace..dont give excuses!!in 2002,eng chased 50 in 5 overs against sl..sl had 2 wkts left & were ahead by 50,and only 40 minutes were left on clock..eng got the last 2 of consecutive balls,and then chased the total with 1 over to spare..situation might hav been different,but atleast intent shud hav been there..even in 2nd test on day4 we batted without any accountability!!it was a slap on the face of fans like me who stay awake till 3am for their favourite team to beat everyone,but our team decides that they dont have the 'balls' to chase!!test cricket was stabbed in the back by the indian team!!:(

  • srikanth on July 11, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    In addition to previous comment dont forget that Bishoo was bowling negative line and its not T20 and umpire is not going to give them wide. He wud have bowled atleast 7-8 overs in the last 15 and theres no point in continuing the play for the last hour.

  • Praarav on July 11, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    Test Cricket is the top form of cricket, people make noise about T20s & ODIs, but this is the form of cricket which really bring out the true character of player. In case of India all it look that behind the glamorus face the real face that is pretty timid. I believe that who are afraid of defeat will never win. Thats why being an Indian I still believe that Aussies were the best test team ever they always maintained a runrate of 4 in ever test they played in last one decade and hence they have won so many of them around the world. They had the apptide and zeal and passion to win. Today the Indian team has not only failed themselve but India and Cricket. All the Indian would have be proud if they had tried to win. But it is lost now. Well with a sad and dishearted heart I wish the Indian team luck for upcoming test series aganist England and I would like them to lose the series and lose the No.1 spot as because they dont deserve it.

  • srikanth on July 11, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    LOL. Every ones talking about batting those 15 overs but what about the bowlers who could not remove the tail in one session? you let edwards and chanders stay there for 37 overs and expect the batsman to score 4 an over in last day of a test match. This is not T20 Guyz.

  • dr sujoy on July 11, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    piece de resistance article of the ind-WI series!wow andy! if u remember ganguly`s disappointment when he could not win sydney 2003-04,ended up winning the border gavaskar trophy,but squaring the series,he collected the trophy with an air of disappointment. sums up dhoni`s petulance at winning,which is probably why he wins so much!sending in laxman was a clear indicator; atleast kohli and dhoni himself should have come,if they were out then laxman and dravid cud have saved our asses as usual. of course dhoni knows the calamitousness of losing the test match,squaring the series, angering the indian public much more if he lost;thereby his cautious approach,and he`s not known to give an inch,so it was natural on his part. about the umpires,i`m sceptical; if they call everything off on "slightly bad light",its because they call the groundstaff to mop up with a rope!if anything,there can be a match referee override on the situation,and the captains need to be in his room to call it off.

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    Dhoni and his co should be ashamed of this ridiculous decision,indian cricketers have never had that killer instinct what Australians have,dhoni proved it again by backing the decision and more than content with a series win.I bet Australia in a similar situation with 300 runs on board in 50 overs would have gone for the kill with all guns blazing...If similar attitude persists in indian cricket its certain that the future is bleak

  • Akmal on July 11, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    Spot on, Andy! It would be shameful even if it was Zimbabwe batting against India, i mean honestly, they had 40+ overs to chase down less than 200, they should have at least TRIED to chase that down. What a rip off. And then they call themselves the best in the world.

  • Shantesh Row on July 11, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    The next time someone decides to drop Sehwag - for reasons other than fitness - I shall personally go and thwack their bottoms with my vintage 1983 Symonds cricket bat.

    If ever proof was needed as to how effective Sehwag really is, this Test proves it. If he was there in Dominica, he might have got out first ball, but boy would he have gone down swinging.

  • Aditya on July 11, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Funny to see so much criticism. You do not play for the crowd. Let's be practical. The series was already in the bag. There was no need really to 'go for the kill'. It was a high risk low return strategy. Anyway, it is best to leave these decisions to the guys on the field rather than crib about not having a 'game on our hands'. These people were singing paeans about Dhoni 2 months ago; hence there is no need to get all hypocritical. Give the guy a break!

  • Bhadra on July 11, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Andy : I thought you were supposed to write satire or try to be funny, not rant about the various bits of the game you find annoying. If you're on Page 2, do as Page 2 does.

  • Amit Vaidya on July 11, 2011, 8:50 GMT

    Test Cricket is at its verge of being shadowed by One-day and T20 formats. The era is of quick results which Test Cricket will never give. In such a situation leaving a test match that would have been an enchanting and a nail biting affair in the very last session is un-justice to the game and its followers. world champion team should play like one and not like cowards running away from the fear of being bowled out on a pitch where a tail ender like Fidel Edwards can survive 2 hours against an Indian attack which again got exposed of its lack of killer instinct. An Australian world champion team or for that matter any Australian team would not only sealed a victory but a demoralizing one to the opponent. I think India has lost a major chance to win 2 test matches on West Indian soil. They might do it in future but i hope it should not be a tame affair with people having no interest left in Test Cricket.

  • RD270 on July 11, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Makes you wonder- did someone have big money on the match being drawn? Unfortunately and sadly that is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from this cowardly and stupid act.

  • Marndi on July 11, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    What a cop out. Fie on you Dhoni. Dada would have never done that. That number one status in Test Cricket suddenly seems so hollow. Australia is still my number one side. They play cricket like its ought to be played.

  • andy on July 11, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    we'll complain if we win, cause then we'll find other excuses to criticize players and we'll definitely complain if we lose. So why don't we all shut up and swallow what has happened. And Dhoni being a "reactive" captain than a "proactive" one is just B.S. What if say, he lost a couple of batsmen and found himself in a hole from which he can't dig himself out of. What are we gonna say then " that we pushed the self destruct button". So things like this happen, should've, could've,would've is not gonna help. Hindsight doesn't cost anyone a penny

  • Sanyog on July 11, 2011, 8:25 GMT

    Looks like beginning of slope , until miraculous is achieved by the players in England,

    Seriously missed to the likes of Shewag and Sachin , who really swing the strokes , this was not an unfamiliar situation and was like "been there done that" many times.

  • Nick on July 11, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    I find the rantings incredibly funny. What about the situation where India had lost 3 more wickets going for quick runs, then the light fades a little and Dravid gets an unplayable delivery and then Laxman is undone by a ridiculous piece of umpiring. Suddenly a test that should have been won is lost and with that the series is drawn. And this same columnist would have blasted the captain for throwing caution to the wind. I agree that not making it the captain's call is a good suggestion and the only good idea to emerge from this entire exercise.

  • Sukhwinder on July 11, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    Even if captains were not allowed to end the game early it would have made no difference as India could have just tried to play out those 15 overs and it would have been even more painful to watch. It was clear that they didn't want to go for a win.

  • AAK on July 11, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Utterly disappointing tactics. No wonder India has the "Worst Win Ratio (barring NZ, Zim, BD)" and "Highest Percentage of Draws (44% & 201 Draws)" in Test Cricket. Moreover, to come up with an excuse of slow pitch, bouncers, field placings, etc. without even trying to send there 3 accomplished world renowned hitters (Virat,Dhoni,Harbhajan) is simply disgusting. Dravid and Laxman could have come later, even if India would have been 5 down fo 50 odd runs to shut the game. I don't see India being No.1 in Test cricket for too long with such tactics. This draw has already costed them 2 rating points for not even attempting. No wonder, Australia (and to some extent Pakistan) are always more fun to watch.

  • nori on July 11, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Ppl say test match this... test match that. great... but cannot accept a draw! Negative lines can always be brought in if you go for kill..... so shut the shop... instead of wasting time in the field!

  • Kumar on July 11, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    Why didn't you write an article about cricket being the winner when Dhoni made a bold declaration (280) at Barbados??? Your (English) bias is just screaming out!

  • Aditya Barve on July 11, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    This is utter nonsense. Dhoni you have cheated your fans. I was up and awake waiting for the result, I got so disappointed that couldn't sleep till 0430 Hrs.

    This decision was completely shocking coming from DHONI. He should explain himself to the fans and apologize for this decision of his.

    I think Indian players are used to easy money [IPL]. They don't want to do hard work. I can't see any other reason.

  • Jazzman on July 11, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    India needed to show intent from ball 1 ...there was nothing in the pitch and even Bishoo's negative line should have been countered by Raina & Murli. But neither one showed that they have the class to over power the opposition in a situation like this. Guys learn to hook/pull and square cut the short ball ...please!!! You can't bat on flat Indian wickets all the time. Very dissappointed to say the least and we all know that in the same position the Aussies or WI of old would have won this game quite easily ...difficult pitch or not.

  • Shikhar on July 11, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    All foreplay and no action. That's how I felt last night. Frustration of such high level. I don't think that even the apologetic fans would have any reasonable justification to the team's mentality. Dhoni's and Fletcher's defense towards the abandonment is not convincing enough.

  • Tom Hedley on July 11, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Andy, it's not Smythe v Whitworth in the junior leagues! I admit it's a shame that teams who are leading a series with one to go seem more interested in shutting up shop than going for a attainable target. Unfortunately most mortals have a fear of failure embedded into them, clearly Dhoni is only mortal, (sorry 99% of Indians!) whereas the Australian team under Waugh would have gone for and almost certainly got that total. That's the difference between great teams and good ones.

  • shivam on July 11, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    i see it as WI win rather than a draw dhoni seems to be pleased by getting his name as a series winnig captain in carrebea. it's does enlighten my heart seeing result 1-0 againt a dissimal and pitty WI side. i hope ENG give them tough fight so thry realize it's all about desire not satisfction.

  • Amit Khanna on July 11, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    Thanks Andy for the article. I think in hindsight..why did'nt Dhoni and Samuels just have a telecon before the series and discuss if there is a mutually agreeable outcome..is 1-0 acceptable? And sent the signed documents to ICC to fill in the results of the series (BON: based on negotiation).

    Im sure they wudve done it except that a touring Indian team generates revenue. Note this, this revenue comes in the first place due to fans and audience.

    And how well they completed the circle - they fooled the very fans who watched the matches (and the lousy adverts) and woke up at weird hours to see at the climax - 'a negotiation'.

  • Priash on July 11, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    Ohh I missed Sehwag and Gambhir , they have gone for it certainly.

  • Venkat on July 11, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Very well said! Hope Dhoni reads this. We deserve some answer from Dhoni that makes sense.

  • Said on July 11, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    I would love to be sitting at the final table of a poker tournament with the least amount of chips and split the prize money with Dhoni and BCCI sitting on the largest stack.

  • ste33 on July 11, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    I am not suprised with India tactics - they are no. 1 and they are defending this ranking. But they are now like Italy in football - score a goal and defend. This is hardly supported in football and this is killing test cricket. Something should be changed to kill negative tactics - first idea repeated by many fans on forums is to limit the number of overs per side.

  • ASHRAF on July 11, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    This is one of the worst strategy of captain cool and the coach.India should try to win the match.we can understand that fourth day the pitch was bad but still see our batting line on the paper one of the best in the world.Its really shame to see India approaching defensive gave.Actually its not a draw. Its India's defeat. Even Bangladesh will try to win this match.This is the difference between team Australia and team India.At the end i just wanna say that last night i feel ashamed to see India's defensive approach and as an Indian feel really very very very bad.

  • Aravind on July 11, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    No 1 team doesn't play like this. First in the bowling you cannot allow No 9 to play like that. Moreover in batting, we should have gone for the kill..

    ANyhow series in the bag, both the team are taken cricket for granted.

  • Rahulbose on July 11, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    I did not expect any result other than a draw today. Not really that surprised at play being callled off. But I do agree they should change the rules on the last hour of play. For a test cricket fan watching another hour of slow cricket is not really that big a problem, and you never know the game could have a spectacular finish. Isn't that the whole point of watching test cricket?

  • Preetam on July 11, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    I got my beer and chips and was buckled up to stay awake till 3.00 AM in Bangalore. I started seeing signs of India wanting to play out after drinks in the final session (over 19, when India needed 116 from 28 @ 4.14). There was an effort to got for a win just before drinks, with India scoring 26 runs from 5 @ 5.2. After the drinks, India scored 30 runs from 13 @ 2.3 before they agreed to call it off.

    I went to bed outraged. Before sleep shut my mind out, I was thinking - Australia wouldn't do it. Not when they were the #1 team until their fall a few years ago. Not now!

  • Vinod Pillai on July 11, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    ICC must look into this. Captains should not be allowed to call the match off on thier own. How can they just fool the fans all over the world who had been watching the match for 5 days?

  • narayanan on July 11, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    CRAP Moment we chase, they bowl far away from leg stump. Darren will slow down things and pay the fine.

  • Nadeem on July 11, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    very good article, right on the money! We wasted our time sitting all night in India expecting Indian team would press for victory but in the end, it opted for shameful draw. Already test cricket is endangered species like Indian Tigers and soon it's gonna be bygone thing in front of our eyes. Spectators deserve much better than this. I agree this right of calling off the test match should be taken away from captains in the best interest of the game, otherwise they're gonna ruin test cricket totally without any remnants.

  • Ashish on July 11, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Yes, disappointing decision. However, I think the result would have been still the same-a draw. It was evident that scoring fast was not easy on that pitch. Having said that, India could have still gone for playing those 15 overs and try to make things happen. Even if scoring wasn't easy, staying at the wicket was not that difficult. And they has 7 wickets left. They could have tried one more hitter like Raina before shutting the shop. Dravid, Laxman and Dhoni could anytime play those last 10-12 overs safely in case had anything gone wrong.

  • SportySpice on July 11, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    It was a stalemate, andy, let's live with it.. in absence of sehwag.. laxman should have batted at 3, dhoni at 4 and dravid at 5..... We may have had a result..

  • Siva on July 11, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    I loved reading this! A point made ever so lucidly. Throw that arcane rule book out! No more paroles! Rules are demeaning when not applied with spirit! Also yes while we are at it throw those light meters out! Hello Flood lights!

  • Amin Alvi on July 11, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    This is really ridiculous. Dhoni should be held responsible & accountable for this shameless act. He could have send Harbhajan ahead of Laxman, he could have waited for another 6-7 overs & if these two could have scored 15-20 runs without loosing a wicket, India would have been left with a target for 60-65 is the last 8 overs with seven wickets in hand. Alas, Dhoni spoiled all the thrill, I was awake late night just waiting for the result & like me he spoiled the night of many cricket lovers. Shame on Dhoni & India who boast of being a Number 1 team. Atleast they should have tried a little more hard.

  • Varun Taparia on July 11, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    I do not agree with you at all. It was WI who should have pushed for victory on the final day with setting India a target of around 175. The ball was in their court with Chanderpaul at the crease and the series to be leveled 1-1. The game was killed by WI with their slow batting. India on the other hand did not want to risk the series win. Remember guys this is India's only 3rd ever series win in the Caribbean and 2nd consecutive win.

  • Aditya on July 11, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    I do agree, although with a full-strength team on hand India would probably have chased it down easily and we wouldn't be talking about this. Personally I've been saying for months that Rahul Dravid's time has come. Even though he may have got runs in this series, he hasn't been doing it with the consistency of old -- if he were a more dominant and aggressive player he would still deserve to be in the team even if he were failing. But he isn't, and in this age we can't afford to have Sehwag give us momentum at the top before Dravid sucks it all up at no. 3. We need young blood at that position -- even if it means accepting a few failures temporarily as we groom someone there (e.g. Pujara). Rahul has been a great player for India, but everyone's time comes, and cricket should be a performance-based sport. You don't make decisions based on emotion.

  • Girish on July 11, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Well put Andy. Question is not why the captains were allowed to curtail the game. Had the Indians been batting for another 15 overs, they would have had no other intentions other than laboring to a quite 30 runs off 90 deliveries. Problem is with the attitude of these guys! This is not the mentality of world beaters, they do not deserve to be the world beaters. Even an Australian club cricket team would have shown enough balls to go for the kill. Dhoni disappoints this time after the courageous decision (early declaration) last test. Wonder whats Duncan's call on this was?

  • Prasad S on July 11, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Truly a disgrace. Having spent so much time watching only to see the way it ended, I feel like a stupid cricket fan.

  • Parth on July 11, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    Andy, over the years I have enjoyed your humour thoroughly. I sometimes even re-read some of the older articles, simply for another chuckle at your victims. However, today I have realised that you are truly a lover of the art and must be appluaded for your contribution towards not only 'cricketainment' but also to demand for higher quality cricket, something other test cricket lovers such as myself have been unable to do. I truly hope that test cricket doesn't become a victim of the ineptitude of administrators and that even in 50-100 years time, we can continue to enjoy this art.

  • abdullah on July 11, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    well said, andy. being a professional cricketer probably makes you less excited about cricket than a fan would be. for a fan, it's his diversion, for a player, it's his professional reputation. but surely in every cricketer there must be still some spark of that school boy who plays only to win.

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    well said each and every word shame on dhoni and fletcher

  • Abhay Arora on July 11, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    That was a very sad decision made by MS Dhoni..Could expect it from west indies as they are not that strong side..but never expected this from the world chammpions.And they say "they want to save test cricket"..How will this be possible wen u call off the interesting matches..and yeah rightly said..it should not be in control of captains to call off the test ..else the series will be called off before it begins.With the likes of kohli dhoni and bhajji remaining in the lineup result was very much poxssible,.and the form in which fidel edwards is..it could have been the other way round too,.But as mentioned ...they ripped of the last page and wrote "They lived Happily ever after"But Test matches soon goona die..forever..

  • Sathish on July 11, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    I agree with Zaltzman.

    In 1979 – 32 years ago – Sunil Gavaskar & Co pressed for win against England at The Oval, when India needed 102 runs in as many balls. That would have been the Greatest chase Ever had India made it. That was the titanic hour as India came as close to 10 runs to the target and England 2 wickets from a win. That match ended in a Draw, but the cricket stood very tall on that day.

    Today, in the era of T20, 86 runs off 15 overs is gettable, especially for the World Champions. But the Indians didn’t want to risk it; nor did the WI believe they can take 7 wickets in 15 overs.

    A few years ago in an Ashes Test, Australia were set a target of 160-odd runs by England. After Tea on the Fifth day, the Australian innings started. Hussey and Ponting batted in an attacking yet secure fashion to secure an unbeatable 3-0 lead. That’s the champion stuff ! Always hungry for one thing – winning!

  • Pranav on July 11, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Awesome analysis.. I feel I have been cheated by watching this game.

  • Fahad on July 11, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    Great article Andy. First time I felt you were agitated than your usual form but it is rightly so. Every word was true. This is and will remain the major difference between the other No. 1 test sides of the world than all conquering No. 1 test sides of West Indies and Australia. I take your example of Shakespeare as the metaphor for these two great, true and always deserving No. 1 test sides. With negative attitude, a side can be No. 1 on the charts but will never remain No. 1 in the hearts of the spectators.

  • Meryck on July 11, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    Right on Andy! Brilliant observation on a completely stupid rule. The crowd would have been treated to a thrilling final hour where their team had the chance to take 7 wickets for a highly unlikely victory, or conversely be made to bite their nails while India moved in for the kill .... what a joke.

  • Harish on July 11, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Very True. Cricket lost. The spectators lost and this is like lemme save my a**... Every word written here was in the minds of every supporter when Dhoni called his batsmen in. He could have been more bold and was looked upon when he made that daring declaration in the 2nd Test. That was lingering in the mind when he called off and settled for a draw. May be Grumpy Fletcher would have made an influence!!! who knows. Will it be different if Vijay had played his strokes a bit early to get a good score with Kohli coming in an playing some bold cricket to get confidence and then they could have left with Dravid and Laxman to seal it off. Sehwag would have never let this game off India's grasp. He would have finished it in the first 20 overs and say "guys take care from here. I am off." The Indians miss him dearly. Also India missed Yuvi for his attacking cricket. India could have gambled with Bhajji instead of Raina. May be that could have worked!!!!.... Would it????

  • Guru prasad on July 11, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    6) More flexibility in allowing bowlers to follow through on the pitch to create rough for spinners 7) Revisiting some of the laws like playing on uncovered pitches and having more than 2 fielders behind the leg umpire. In this day and age with the amount of protective equipment around, no batsmen are in serious danger of fatal injuries 8) Playing on result oriented pitches even if they may be under prepared. Teams must be discouraged from playing for a draw, perhaps introducing victories on first innings leads may help. 9) More sensible scheduling of matches with regards to weather conditions and wherever possible, playing in grounds with an option for a retractable roof. I'm not saying all these ideas must be implemented together at once but some of these are definitely worth having a look into. We need to save test cricket from dying. It's in a serious danger of being cannibalized by T-20..

  • agni on July 11, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    wow!!!! Andy.. strong words.. maaan.....

  • Guru prasad on July 11, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    I write in many times to your blog Andy,but never get published.Hopefully this time I will be.Here are my suggestions for improving test cricket 1) Day night cricket may be an interesting idea if they can find the right ball for it.No more going off for poor light which really irks me 2) Active measures to ensure minimum over rate of at least 15/hour.There must be penalties for erring teams in terms of deduction of runs instead of monetary bans for the players 3) More toughness on calling of wides for bowlers.Negative bowling mustn't be encouraged.Wide calls must be as strict as in other forms of the game. 4) Reducing it to 4 days with a quota of around 110 to 115 overs per day with around 7 instead of 6 hours of play. 5) Getting rid of the rigid lunch & tea breaks.There must be flexibility in arranging breaks when players go off for rain delays & such things.Coming back after a lengthy rain delay,playing for 10 minutes & going back for a 40 minute lunch interval is ridiculous. Contd..

  • a on July 11, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    yup, poor advert for TEST cricket......ICC is killing TEST cricket.......if ICC wants to save TEST cricket with real intent and not lip-service, do this 1) nobody can call off a test match 2) allow lights to be used 3) make it 4 day + 1 reserve day (for rain etc) 4) each team plays max 90 overs in1 innings (this will increase the run rates, force 2 innings per test match and force results) 5) bowling rules shud be as in ODIs, wide balls leg side bowling shud be punished with runs and fines 6) so match will be over in 4days with 1 extra reserve day if needed 7) new ball after 50 overs 8) mandatory use of DRS hawk eye hotspot ball track etc in TESTS 9) colored clothing 10) add some entertainment music dance contests to spice up the game 10) allow people to take photos with players and inetrveiws and lunch etc i.e. give incentives to audience to participate and make test match lively........hope anyones listening in ICC dumbos

  • Crazy on July 11, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Perhaps the batters know more than us on why they gave up although Cricket is the loser.

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    6) More flexibility in allowing bowlers to follow through on the pitch to create rough for spinners 7) Revisiting some of the laws like playing on uncovered pitches and having more than 2 fielders behind the leg umpire. In this day and age with the amount of protective equipment around, no batsmen are in serious danger of fatal injuries 8) Playing on result oriented pitches even if they may be under prepared. Teams must be discouraged from playing for a draw, perhaps introducing victories on first innings leads may help. 9) More sensible scheduling of matches with regards to weather conditions and wherever possible, playing in grounds with an option for a retractable roof. I'm not saying all these ideas must be implemented together at once but some of these are definitely worth having a look into. We need to save test cricket from dying. It's in a serious danger of being cannibalized by T-20..

  • Anonymous on July 11, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    I write in many times to your blog Andy,but never get published.Hopefully this time I will be.Here are my suggestions for improving test cricket 1) Day night cricket may be an interesting idea if they can find the right ball for it.No more going off for poor light which really irks me 2) Active measures to ensure minimum over rate of at least 15/hour.Penalties for erring teams should be in terms of deduction of runs instead of monetary bans for the players 3) More toughness on calling of wides for bowlers.Negative bowling must not be encouraged.Wide calls must be as strict as in other forms of the game. 4) Reducing it to 4 days with a quota of around 110 to 115 overs per day with around 7 instead of 6 hours of play. 5) Getting rid of the rigid lunch & tea breaks.There must be flexibility in arranging breaks when players go off for rain delays & such things.Coming back after a lengthy rain delay,playing for 10 minutes & going back for a 40 minute lunch interval is ridiculous. contd..

  • Hanif on July 11, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    Absurd, absolutely absurd, there was a lot of croud to attend this last day, I was watching this match at 2 in the morning in anticipation of a close finish, I sincerely did not expect this from this India side where we have Rainas, Kohlis and Dhonis. I am 100% sure that if it was Ricky Ponting he would have gone for kill. It was the Australians that made test cricket look good, this is a shame really a shame a shame, I did not expect this from Indian think tank, especially from MS Dhoni whom I regard as a good captain. And mind you this is coming from a Pakistani cricket fan.

  • partha on July 11, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    I dont quite understand why the experts are so pickkully about this end. Remember, modern teams play back to back test matches. More than physical exhaustion, they are mentally tired, give them a break for heaven's sake.

  • levellyn on July 11, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    No doubt here is one chance Dhoni could have shown the world yet again the emergence of mighty Indian cricket team. Alas ! Andy - I haven't enjoyed reading the article much.. looked like a rush job :(

  • Graham Gould on July 11, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Thanks for voicing the views of many people on this one Andy. Let's hope the administrators will take some notice. Perhaps Cricinfo could start a petitions page to help guage support for issues like this.

  • VJ on July 11, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Dhoni and Sammy should be banned for a match.

  • Sharif U Choudhury on July 11, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    I totally agree with Zaltzman. Cricket, or rather Test Cricket, is the ultimate loser. This time Zaltzman didn't write satire, rather a very serious writing on Test Cricket, which is going to be "footnote" soon! Why the number one Test team, India, realise this? The ICC should look into these suggestions, take some notes and make the necessary and effective changes in the rules of the game. ICC must protect the game, otherwise, as Zaltzman said, Test Cricket can only survive in the Cricket Museums across the world.

  • Jaspreet Singh on July 11, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    Totally agree with the sentiments in the article - wickets and runs should be deciding match results, not the fact that the captains arent strong-willed enough. In the last match, Dhoni won plaudits for declaring when he did. But the brickbats are definitely deserved for ending this test match when it was. And ICC really needs to look into this.

  • Guru prasad on July 11, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    I'm still laughing my guts out imagining Joe Frazier & Muhammad Ali slow dancing a waltz. On a serious note Andy, your indignation is very pertinent. Allowing captains to fall back on this loophole is akin to allowing euthanasia for a terminally ill Test cricket. Allowing farcical draws like this will ensure a certain death for our beloved game. No wonder the Americans & the French laugh at the concept of playing for 5 days without a result. Test cricket has not only punched itself in the face, it has attempted suicide. It needs serious psychiatric counselling..

  • sree on July 11, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    I was so disappointed of the end result.India should have gone for win.Now,ICC must consider changing this rule of premature calling off of play.What about the spectators who paid for the tickets?And what about millions who are watching.There must be full quota of overs what ever the match situation and captions must not have a say in decision making to end a test match -sree,kerala

  • Ivan on July 11, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Andy, I am a big Indian supporter but I find this inexplicable. The public was cheated right at the very end. Imagine what people would feel like after having watched 5 full days of the game with bated breath only to see the captains walk off happily. As someone else said Test cricket needs better guardians. The laws should be changed. Draws not be allowed. AMD certainly walking off when a result is a distinct possibility should not be permitted.

  • Arjun on July 11, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    It was really disappointing, especially when we back at home stayed up the night hoping for a classic test match finish. this at a time when the ICC are looking for ways to make test cricket more attractive, to hell with the pink ball and night Tests, just change this Godamn rule of calling off the match.

  • Shesh Kondi on July 11, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    Well written. This is where a Captain's calibre and psyche is tested and you need to have b**ls to win matches like these. Alas, MSD has proven he doen't have any !!! Shame on Dhoni, Shame on team India and yes...as you aptly said ..Cricket was the loser today.

  • Pankaj Dwivedi on July 11, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    I cannot but agree. It was a nonsensical finish to a good test series. Chasing a little over 5 an Over in Test Cricket should not have been a big headache for the World's No. 1 team. They have failed to announce that India can remain at the top not by luck but by sheer ruthlessness and professionalism. The same has been the story with all other Indian Cricket teams of the past.

  • ullas krishnan on July 11, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    hey brilliant article Andy!!! completely agree with You.

  • anoob hakim on July 11, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    you seem to understand test cricket but keep forgetting the obvious. two bouncers, two outside the off, one to the body, one down the leg side and there goes your 6 run per over plan!

    No fielding restrictions, no bowling restrictions make things difficult. With almost one and a half days play taken out of the match by rain, a second-string Indian team almost won. End of story!

  • Suraj on July 11, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Very well said Andy.. I can see your frustration and it only makes sense! With due respect to Dravid, Virat should have been sent in at no.3 or even Dhoni, who bats at no. 3 in ODIs, could have promoted himself up the order. If that plan had failed then Dravid and Laxman were always there to bail them out. They didn't even try! Just shows the difference in approach a certain Sehwag can make!

  • Grama Prasanna on July 11, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    I think an eye opener. Very good article. I cannot agree more. Yes test cricket, the real cricket should never have an abrupt end like this test. 2 sets down and palying for a match point in the third set the player in tennis will not give up. He continues wins that set and the next two sets and wins the match. Hope ICC will look into this very very seriously.

  • NomDePlume on July 11, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    With bad light, India would have got a maximum of 41 overs. When was the last time a #1 team that chased 180 in 41 overs on Day 5 in the professional era? The real question is, why didn't Sammy go for a win? If WI had sped up and set India 180 with 60 overs remaining, then he would have given himself a chance to win. But he had decided to play out for a ugly draw, with negative lines. The real opportunity lost today was by WI.

  • Nishant Jain on July 11, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    The future of test cricket is surely in jeopardy. When the world's top test team shows an attitude like this towards the game, the questions over the longevity of this format rises even more. Surely this result will take away many spectators and admirers of the game. God save test cricket!

  • Samik on July 11, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Excellent, politically incorrect and the truth again, Andy! I am an ardent Indian cricket fan, a bigger test cricket fan, despise IPL and I felt really cheated after staying up till 2.15 in the morning on a Sunday night when I have a week of frenetic work to look forward to. I had stayed up for the Eng-SL Lord's test as well and had a almost similar feeling. Cricketers are doing a great disservice to test cricket and surely going to lose a few loyal fans.

  • Sachin on July 11, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    Brilliant as usual, Andy. Very well said. It was such a shame when the game ended, it was past 2 am in the morning here in India. And many, including yours truly stayed awake, only to see those guys to shake hands with 15 overs to go. Shame. Your Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bit took the cake. Just to point out that the Tony Hancocks link mentioned above is not working. Am sure it will be worth watching. Keep up the good work Andy.

  • Romel on July 11, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Agreed 100%. The real loser here is the dominican crowd who came out in their boisterous numbers to watch a game of test cricket. If you believe that cricket is still a game of glorious uncertainties then any of the four results was still possible...but alas...we shall never know. An utter disrespect to the game and its fans.

  • jay on July 11, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    You are so wrong, Andy. Every one deserves dignity. Dhoni did a great humanitarian act. Indian team saved its dignity by not losing. West indies team saved its dignity by not losing. The players are happy. The west indies fans are happy. Every one is happy (well, not the indian fans, but you know we always complain, any way). The latest reports (I heard them in my head) are that BCCI is right now negotiating with ICC to allow negotiated draws in ODIs and 20-20s also. And not just at the end of three overs but at any stage including even before starting the game. This move will have enormous benefits for every one. Apart from saving players from injuries and exhaustion, just think of the reduction in carbon emissions from all the spectators NOT driving to the stadiums!

  • Naren on July 11, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    Agree wholeheartedly. I sat up watching the match till 6am Australian time only to see exaggerated VVS leaves and Dravid petering away Bishoo's bowling.

  • V.Ramakrishnan on July 11, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    I'm sure any team in the world would have relished a target of 86 runs in 90 balls. All said and done,Dhoni is no more than a defensive captain and is more than happy to go with a 1-0 series win rather than think of a 2-0 win . It is also a discredit to players like Dravid and Laxman that they were denied the oppurtunity of going for glory . I'm very unhappy ,like many other Indians,that Dhoni lowered the shutter well before the closing hours of business.

  • naren on July 11, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    nice depth to the article. Humorous and insightful

  • Vikram on July 11, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Can't agree more Andy...loved the tenzing hillary and the mohammed ali frazier analogies!!!

  • Badarinath on July 11, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Spot On Andy...

  • Noam on July 11, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Too true. Someone prone to conspiracy theories might imagine that Dhoni is doing his best to damage test cricket, since the pecuniary rewards lie elsewhere.

    A possible problem with the suggestion of letting umpires decide whether to stop the game or not is that a recalcitrant batting side can block its way to a draw. In the last test in Wellington, New Zealand did the right thing and kept bowling on the last day, but Pakistan were not interested, and gave up chasing a very gettable target on a flat pitch. One-nil in a two test "series" was good enough. Depressing; but it seems that if teams do not have a competitive spirit, no umpire could force them to play positively.

  • Badri Ramki on July 11, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    i fully agree with your comments... What A Shame to Test Cricket... should have continued playing till the Last Ball Bowled... really shocked the way it ended....

  • Suresh on July 11, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    I agree. There are supporters watching last day of Test expecting some result. Was watching Telectast at about 2.00am in the night!! was disappointed and cheated when it was declared draw whens 15 mandatory overs were left to be played

  • Gaurav Kumar on July 11, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Took the words out of my mouth

  • Abhijit on July 11, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Andy dost, beautiful insight and well presented. I was also clueless as to how they can call of a probable chase with that many overs available and pure sunshine all around. I like your comment that this sort of silly decision making should be taken out of the captains hands and instead rely on match officials to make a match out of it:) MSD is MSD and has/will make interesting decisions. firstly as an Indian who has seen so many drawn tests watching cricket on TV, he like most of us believes in safety first. But in future there I hope there will be a Indian team with MSD as captain and Yuvraj, Raina, Virat, Rohit & of course Sehwag. I believe that team will dare and go for such chases without any second thoughts. with SRT, Rahul & Laxman around, we are and will still rely on safety first approaches. but who am I kidding. we Indians may just dream to dare and not actually do it ever..still I am hopeful about that dream team who will dare one day:)

  • ved kumar on July 11, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    I agree with you 100%. I am avid fan of cricket. Being away from home country for 40 years and watching Australian cricketers when Australia were #1 (even now) got me interested back in test cricket again, after almost 30 years gap (watching North American baseball during those years). But this test with the likes of Dhoni and Virat kholi to come and tailenders like Harbhajan and Kumar it's shame that Dhoni and Sammy decided on their own to end the test. These kinds of decesions will definately turn off even diehard spectators like me in test cricket. I would have no regrets if Indian team tried and found 3 overs left and 40 to 50 runs left to score with 6 down to abandon the test but not the way they did. I pray if test cricket even survives for 10 years with these kind of decesions.

  • neelkanth on July 11, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    I agree completely. The indian team has done this recently in south africa too. It appears as if the captains of international teams, especially that of the Indian team will push for a victory only when they HAVE to push for a victory, as in a one day match.

  • manish on July 11, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Absolutely loved this piece. What a farce ... the captain of the winning IPL doesn't have the cojones to at least attempt a win! SHAME ON DHONI!

  • Vinod Pillai on July 11, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    It was real shame on Team India...to me they don't deserve to be no. 1....how can they do like this? millions siiting infront of TV sets in India giving up their sleep to witness India's historic win were fooled by this crazy decision of settling for a draw..and I'm one of them....I wished if Sehwag and gambhir were there at the top, to me they are the only two guys who would have thought about a win.

  • Karan Puri on July 11, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Andy,

    Absolutely mate! The game has been cheated. So have I. A staunch supporter of the Indian team since the early nineties, it seemed to me to be a return to the old days. The meek mid-nineties-phew, at least we didn't lose that one-attitude. One can forgive the Windies, given their recent history for happily avoiding defeat, but one would think that the Indians have loftier pursuits and bigger fish to fry. Shocking. Sickening. Above all, a sad sad day for all cricket. Test cricket is the beacon of the sport. It has been shamed today.

  • shrikanthk on July 11, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    By the way, Andy - Hamlet is a turn-of-the-16th-century rom-trag.

  • gautham on July 11, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Well said Andy. Yet again.

  • KR on July 11, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Totally agree. By throwing the towel, India have shown that they lack the aura of a No. 1 test team that some of the past teams such as Australia had. Umps should decide when to call it off. Needing 85 off 90 with 7 in hand? They should have been asked to bat.Shame on MS Dhoni and Flethcher on giving up on the chase. It's quite emasculating and lack of fire in the belly kind of a performance towards the end after having fought so well before.

  • Shikhar on July 11, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Another very funny article Mr. Zalztman, but I can see how even you are frustrated how yesterday's game panned out. It epitomises the plight of Indian fans. We didn't expect a win unnecessarily, what we hoped was that the team would go all the way through to chase down the target, and if fate resisted, miss out on reaching it by a few runs. But the over defensive approach was not desired. The days of dominance are still a far off thought. Very disappointing.

  • Pradeep on July 11, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    Its crazy to end a test match, because both the teams dont have desire to win. Even winides could have won this match. Stop test cricket its good for the viewers.

  • yash on July 11, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    very nice thought. a good article to give evidence abt where test cricket is going.. bt in d end u can not stretch match beyond five days... its nt good obviously to negotiate the game by pkayers themselves bt they r d ones who r playing d game..who knws d pitch better than any if us.. so we shouldnt argue with what they think.. if they r nt sure abt d result..then let b draw.. just b safe.. afterall its a gentlemens game!!

  • yash on July 11, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    very nice thought. a good article to give evidence abt where test cricket is going.. bt in d end u can not stretch match beyond five days... its nt good obviously to negotiate the game by pkayers themselves bt they r d ones who r playing d game..who knws d pitch better than any if us.. so we shouldnt argue with what they think.. if they r nt sure abt d result..then let b draw.. just b safe.. afterall its a gentlemens game!!

  • Gurpreet Singh on July 11, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Appropriate thoughts Andy. I agree that the decision to call off the game should rest with Umpires and not with the two captains. They should not be allowed to walk away just 'cause they do not want to risk loosing the game. Holy crap - this is not how you stake the claim of World's No. 1 Test team.

    A disappointed Indian Cricket Fan..

  • nishant on July 11, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    very well written Andy. Couldn't agree more on this matter. Seems like there are lot other factors affecting than just cricket, on this beautiful sport.

  • tomboy76 on July 11, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    U are right why do the people have to suffer,India could have gone for a win ,but dhoni preferred to get a draw,the match would be intersting if We the indian team would persevere for a win.

  • Krishna on July 11, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    Brilliant post !

  • kalyan on July 11, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    I wish India lost the first test so they could have had some fire in the belly to win the last two matches. Looks like they think only about the history books so some 10-20 years down the line if someone wonders what happened in WI, they would be seeing the final result (1-0) and India won the series. Losing a matching is completely different from denying a win by ourselves , a weird disappointment.

  • Avishek on July 11, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Absolutely right, Andy. If 5-6 wickets had fallen, then maybe Dhoni should have settled for a draw. But with Kohli, Dhoni and Harbhajan still to come, and a poised Dravid as anchor, they should have fought. A little distraught at such a tame end to the match.

  • Amit on July 11, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    well said Andy.. am pretty disappointed the way team india "forced" himself to draw the match.. I was disgusted to see Lax on field instead of Kohli/Dhoni/Bhajji who are quite capable of swinging their bat.. they atleast should have tried to come closer to the achiveable target. There was no way WI would have manage to take 10 wickets in 47 overs.. Being on the number one team is different and displaying why we are number one is different.

  • Swami on July 11, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Your rantings are quite silly. The next best option would have been to shut shop and play out the 15 overs, which they would have done quite easily. If the players are struggling to score at 4-5 RPO even after being in there for dozens of overs, then we have to accept that conditions were probably tough. These things are part of the game and will always continue to be so. BTW, cricket is not the only game where it happens, chess is one other I can think of where players agree to end a potential stalemate with a shake of hands.

  • Amit on July 11, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Funny article. I sent my wife and kids shopping, so I could follow the last 2 hrs. My first reaction when I heard they called it off: WTF?

  • ashok pai on July 11, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    somebody finally wrote about this! I'm absolutely flabbergasted at what happened last night. its utter travesty. BCCI needs to explain alongside dhoni, as to what in the name of god was happening out there in the middle.

  • Sanjay on July 11, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    it was so shameful. india could have easily won the match. but it seems they were not at all interested in winning. lack of interest was clearly missing. this is the clear proof of match fixing. any other team could have easlly gone for winning the match... another shameful performance.

  • Vishal Baliya on July 11, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    Absolutely spot on. Dhoni has shown that he is a reactive captain unlike Ganguly who was proactive captain.

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  • Vishal Baliya on July 11, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    Absolutely spot on. Dhoni has shown that he is a reactive captain unlike Ganguly who was proactive captain.

  • Sanjay on July 11, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    it was so shameful. india could have easily won the match. but it seems they were not at all interested in winning. lack of interest was clearly missing. this is the clear proof of match fixing. any other team could have easlly gone for winning the match... another shameful performance.

  • ashok pai on July 11, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    somebody finally wrote about this! I'm absolutely flabbergasted at what happened last night. its utter travesty. BCCI needs to explain alongside dhoni, as to what in the name of god was happening out there in the middle.

  • Amit on July 11, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    Funny article. I sent my wife and kids shopping, so I could follow the last 2 hrs. My first reaction when I heard they called it off: WTF?

  • Swami on July 11, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Your rantings are quite silly. The next best option would have been to shut shop and play out the 15 overs, which they would have done quite easily. If the players are struggling to score at 4-5 RPO even after being in there for dozens of overs, then we have to accept that conditions were probably tough. These things are part of the game and will always continue to be so. BTW, cricket is not the only game where it happens, chess is one other I can think of where players agree to end a potential stalemate with a shake of hands.

  • Amit on July 11, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    well said Andy.. am pretty disappointed the way team india "forced" himself to draw the match.. I was disgusted to see Lax on field instead of Kohli/Dhoni/Bhajji who are quite capable of swinging their bat.. they atleast should have tried to come closer to the achiveable target. There was no way WI would have manage to take 10 wickets in 47 overs.. Being on the number one team is different and displaying why we are number one is different.

  • Avishek on July 11, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Absolutely right, Andy. If 5-6 wickets had fallen, then maybe Dhoni should have settled for a draw. But with Kohli, Dhoni and Harbhajan still to come, and a poised Dravid as anchor, they should have fought. A little distraught at such a tame end to the match.

  • kalyan on July 11, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    I wish India lost the first test so they could have had some fire in the belly to win the last two matches. Looks like they think only about the history books so some 10-20 years down the line if someone wonders what happened in WI, they would be seeing the final result (1-0) and India won the series. Losing a matching is completely different from denying a win by ourselves , a weird disappointment.

  • Krishna on July 11, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    Brilliant post !

  • tomboy76 on July 11, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    U are right why do the people have to suffer,India could have gone for a win ,but dhoni preferred to get a draw,the match would be intersting if We the indian team would persevere for a win.