November 13, 2008

Why ugly can be beautiful

The cricket in the Nagpur Test was variously decried as being defensive and unimaginative. But who said Test matches are about attacking all the time?
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Day three at Nagpur: made the thrilling bits more thrilling © AFP

The well-wishers are out and about. They are growing in number and getting louder. They say they love Test cricket, but they fear for Test cricket, because the kids are watching a new kind of cricket and Test cricket is under threat. And whenever there is a slow day's play, or a tense day, or a day that's a bit ugly, when wickets are scarce and boundaries seldom spotted, they fret. They start to wish that the thing they love would become more like the thing that threatens it.

On the fourth morning in Nagpur the well-wishers got so noisy and numerous that you could not jump out of their path. The day before, bowlers had bowled defensive lines and batsmen had not noticeably tried to thwart them. So the well-wishers were in the papers, on websites, in your headphones, craving "adventurous" captains, "exciting" captains, less "boring" captains. Captains, they said, had a duty. There was well-meaning talk of rulebooks needing fiddling with, and self-absorbed men, and stakes being driven through a sport's heart. And while we took all this in, the cricket went on. Jason Krejza was landing high, big spinners wide of the stumps, hoping to clip the off bail, which is a pretty daring thing to do. Virender Sehwag was tilting back and swatting these balls through or over the covers, against the spin, which is highly dangerous.

How long could this last? It could not last, surely. It lasted a couple of hours. Then India lost six wickets in a clatter, Sehwag finally nicked one, the Test match was anybody's, and the people seeking excitement and adventure were ransacking their laptop cases in search of sedatives.

Test cricket can be like that: so slow, tense and ugly that you can't stand to look, then so thrilling and unexpected that you don't dare look away. Without the slow, tense and ugly bits, the thrilling bits would not be so thrilling.

Those six Indian wickets put Australia four wickets shy of batting again. If they could bundle those four wickets out quickly, they would have relatively few runs to chase and relative aeons to get them. That's when Ricky Ponting, the captain, began obsessing about the slow over-rate. Panic struck: unless he hurried up proceedings, he might get suspended. So he brought on a pie-chucker or two and blew his team's momentum.

Test cricket can do that too. It can turn a gum-chomping Tasmanian streetfighter who has cricket in his bones into an addled worrywart who cannot see past the next five minutes. Passages slow, tense, ugly, thrilling and unexpected give way to moments bewildering and incomprehensible. And out of bewilderment and incomprehension come bouts of self-examination, as the game wrestles with itself over its direction, its well-being. Test cricket, an intricate contest that goes for nearly a week, is richer for all of this.

No other sport quite does it. Test cricket thrives on it. It has been happening for a century and more. Yet the well-wishers have screeched themselves hoarse all Indian summer, lecturing the captains to do their duty in the name of entertainment, in the name of Test cricket's salvation. Alan Ross, journalist and poet, once wrote: "Captains of Test teams consider themselves to have two responsibilities. One is to lead their countries to victory, and, secondly, failing that, to avoid defeat. No one could possibly quarrel with this. At no stage does the obligation to entertain… come into it. Nor should it. Once Test cricket ceases to be wholly competitive, in the purest sense, it would lose all intensity, and decay."

Ross wrote that after the 1962-63 Ashes series. Slow, tense, ugly days were in high supply that summer too, although Ross found plenty about them to enjoy. Next, he had this to say about the coverage of cricket in Australia's newspapers: "Every quote or remark, every incident no matter how trivial, is likely to be inflated out of all proportion… A casual observer, flicking through the papers, might be forgiven for thinking all Test cricketers are sado-masochists, riddled with resentment, intent on boring at all costs."

The words ring truer now than 46 years ago. Blame rests with the editors, you feel, more than the writers, but the two big publishing houses are as bad as each other and the ABC not much better. Always they hunger for the story. A day's play cannot be the story. A story needs shock. Players must throw bat at ball, or else at each other, or where is the story ? And so every tiny flash of heat, every word or frown exchanged between batsman and bowler, just the normal rough stuff of Test cricket, of any cricket, is sensationalised. You wonder what the sport sections truly care more about: Test cricket's salvation, or having something to blow up on their full-colour, tabloid-size front page.

 
 
Always the newspapers hunger for the story. A day's play cannot be the story. A story needs shock. Players must throw bat at ball, or else at each other, or where is the story? And so every tiny flash of heat, every word or frown exchanged between batsman and bowler, just the normal rough stuff of Test cricket, of any cricket, is sensationalised
 

Five weeks of absorbing Test cricket have just finished, if only the well-wishers had cared to really look. The two teams were good, not great, and evenly matched. Often this is the most fun to watch. In the Australian team alone, mediocre quick bowlers strived to find a line that meant they would not get slogged. Athletic and reliable outfielders mucked up simple catches. Pressure, the prospect of three more hours under the sun, made them do that. When byes galloped away from the wicketkeeper's grasp, it was tempting to believe that his furrowed brow was due not to disappointment but to the wail of a million Queenslanders echoing in his ears: "Chris Hartley wouldn't have stuffed that up."

Again and again the selectors picked three specialist bowlers, five specialist batsmen and insisted on calling it an XI. The pitches, far from spoiling festivities, helped make them. Wickets difficult for both batting and bowling almost always produce more engrossing cricket than the 22 yards of over-rolled tarmac Australians have grown used to.

Perhaps the most interesting day was the one that stirred outrage, when the bowlers aimed balls wide and the batsmen did not try to hit them. No one, tantalisingly, knew who would crack first. We learnt a little that morning about Mike Hussey. His batting average puts him, with a dozen runs to spare, in the genius category, yet when unorthodoxy is required he can look clueless, and he has not so far mastered the knack of lifting his own tempo when accompanied by a slowcoach up the other end. All this, the well-wishers missed: 166 runs in a day must equal boring, mustn't it?

In Australian minds, no Test cricket could be finer than that which unfolded when West Indies came to play in 1960-61. That freewheeling summer, runs rattled along at the equivalent of 2.5 every six-ball over; in the five slow, tense and ugly weeks just gone, they accrued at 3.2. Two more champagne series, the 1981 and 2005 Ashes clashes, involved run-rates of 2.7 and 3.7.

It tells us nothing much. Test cricket's charms have little to do with attack-attack-attack. They never have done. To survive, Test cricket has to look like Test cricket. Well-wishers should remember that trying to change the thing you love is one sure way of wrecking it.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • avinash.misra on November 15, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    Agree completely with the author. However we should be prepared for change. Those that love test cricket are thoroughly out numbered by those who have an appetite for more gory and quick forms of the game. In addition the media principals are more likely to support forms that will earn advertizing revenues; and the same dollars will ensure complicity from the ICC and country boards. In that sense it boils down to market forces , the buying public. In that , it is the lowest common denominator in taste that will rule. The nuanced taste of test cricket cannot be expected to remain mainstream. We can expect exactly what we get from mainstream movies, food etc. Chess suffers the same fate in that in its inherent nature it requires you to recognize and appreciate a nuance.

  • Prats6 on November 15, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Very well written, I have loved tests since I started understanding cricket, somehow I managed to miss my classes(when in college) for Tests while hardly ever for an ODI. Tests remain the epitome of the game, and its just fascinating to watch a game unfold over sessions. Though I would like to add something here, I think pitches should strictly favour the bowlers in Tests as they do so batsmen in ODI's. And for heaven's sake do not change rules for tests. People who love tests will never want changes in the purest format.

  • docmsf on November 15, 2008, 4:44 GMT

    There are 2 things highlighted and rightly so by Christian Ryan in this article:

    - Entertainment value of Test Cricket - Role of media in blowing things out of proportion

    Coming to the first one, What is the notion of entertainment in terms of Test Cricket? Opinions may differ, but some may agree that the 3rd day in Nagpur was about perseverance. To start with, Test Cricket is not about bang bang slog. As the name implies it is about testing the nerves and that may go beyond just physical capacity. The story folds over 5 days, not in 3 hours as it happens in T20. Expecting T20 sort of entertainment out of Test Cricket is missing the whole point about Test Cricket.

    The second point about media blowing things out of proportion. Well again it is linked to the first one. Times have changed and everyone wants tabloid news. Sadly this included some greats from the past, as Ricky Ponting pointed its different to sit in the commentators box and to be in the middle of the ground.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on November 15, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    I enjoyed reading your article yesterday, and I must say, it strikes me how the love of the game which people harbor, makes them wax eloquent on the game.

  • 1stSlip on November 15, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Very well put.

    Test cricket has survived many a challenge to-date ie the rise of the shorter forms of the game.

    One of the latest threats is the BCCI's attempts to knowingly undermine the Test format (in favour of short-term commercial gain).

    I believe that Test cricket will be strong enough to survive this.

  • jamrith on November 15, 2008, 1:38 GMT

    Brilliant article, the essence of Test cricket is its unpredictability, teams making 450+ are by no means safe and have to remain focused. Playing for a draw often equates to playing into the enemy's hands. How different ODIs are, very rarely are scores of 320+ chased down, the Johannesburg run-fest was a rare exception.

  • ab1968 on November 14, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    75 comments and counting but had to add my compliments - fantastic article.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 14, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    Test cricket at its best is often about the building of pressure , consolidating a position of strength or slowly grinding your way back into a match. This wasnt a great series as frankly India were too good and it lacked the cut & thrust of both teams having periods of control but a situation like where Dhoni challenged the Australians to counter attack & they couldn't is often as much an expression of dominance as carting the bowling around for a century partnership. A slow burn Test match that builds the tension over 5 days (even at 2 runs an over for periods) of ebb & flow is like a multi-course meal while ODI's & 20/20 are more of a snatched fast food meal. Often hit the spot & are just what you want but no match for the real thing. I'm off for a cigar & glass of port.

  • TheDoctor394 on November 14, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Wondering article. I've been hearing about the "death" of Test cricket for all of about thirty years of my cricket-following life. First One Day matches were going to kill it, and now 20-20 is. And yet it goes on and on. It seems like every time there's a less-than-brilliant Test Match, and/or there's a mediocre crowd at it, we hear the scribes saying "Oh, Test matches are in trouble." Then along comes a close, exciting one and it's "We ALL thought Tests were gone, but they are alive and well!" I've lost count of the amount of times I've read "Test cricket is alive and well!" Er... yes. It is. It always has been. And if we could look closer at it, we could see why.

  • vik_cricfan on November 14, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    very well written!...though being an indian fan watching india thrash the english bowling out of the park in odi 1, i find myself wishing i was watching day one of a test match instead...keep pu the good work cricinfo/ mr ryan..

  • avinash.misra on November 15, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    Agree completely with the author. However we should be prepared for change. Those that love test cricket are thoroughly out numbered by those who have an appetite for more gory and quick forms of the game. In addition the media principals are more likely to support forms that will earn advertizing revenues; and the same dollars will ensure complicity from the ICC and country boards. In that sense it boils down to market forces , the buying public. In that , it is the lowest common denominator in taste that will rule. The nuanced taste of test cricket cannot be expected to remain mainstream. We can expect exactly what we get from mainstream movies, food etc. Chess suffers the same fate in that in its inherent nature it requires you to recognize and appreciate a nuance.

  • Prats6 on November 15, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Very well written, I have loved tests since I started understanding cricket, somehow I managed to miss my classes(when in college) for Tests while hardly ever for an ODI. Tests remain the epitome of the game, and its just fascinating to watch a game unfold over sessions. Though I would like to add something here, I think pitches should strictly favour the bowlers in Tests as they do so batsmen in ODI's. And for heaven's sake do not change rules for tests. People who love tests will never want changes in the purest format.

  • docmsf on November 15, 2008, 4:44 GMT

    There are 2 things highlighted and rightly so by Christian Ryan in this article:

    - Entertainment value of Test Cricket - Role of media in blowing things out of proportion

    Coming to the first one, What is the notion of entertainment in terms of Test Cricket? Opinions may differ, but some may agree that the 3rd day in Nagpur was about perseverance. To start with, Test Cricket is not about bang bang slog. As the name implies it is about testing the nerves and that may go beyond just physical capacity. The story folds over 5 days, not in 3 hours as it happens in T20. Expecting T20 sort of entertainment out of Test Cricket is missing the whole point about Test Cricket.

    The second point about media blowing things out of proportion. Well again it is linked to the first one. Times have changed and everyone wants tabloid news. Sadly this included some greats from the past, as Ricky Ponting pointed its different to sit in the commentators box and to be in the middle of the ground.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on November 15, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    I enjoyed reading your article yesterday, and I must say, it strikes me how the love of the game which people harbor, makes them wax eloquent on the game.

  • 1stSlip on November 15, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Very well put.

    Test cricket has survived many a challenge to-date ie the rise of the shorter forms of the game.

    One of the latest threats is the BCCI's attempts to knowingly undermine the Test format (in favour of short-term commercial gain).

    I believe that Test cricket will be strong enough to survive this.

  • jamrith on November 15, 2008, 1:38 GMT

    Brilliant article, the essence of Test cricket is its unpredictability, teams making 450+ are by no means safe and have to remain focused. Playing for a draw often equates to playing into the enemy's hands. How different ODIs are, very rarely are scores of 320+ chased down, the Johannesburg run-fest was a rare exception.

  • ab1968 on November 14, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    75 comments and counting but had to add my compliments - fantastic article.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 14, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    Test cricket at its best is often about the building of pressure , consolidating a position of strength or slowly grinding your way back into a match. This wasnt a great series as frankly India were too good and it lacked the cut & thrust of both teams having periods of control but a situation like where Dhoni challenged the Australians to counter attack & they couldn't is often as much an expression of dominance as carting the bowling around for a century partnership. A slow burn Test match that builds the tension over 5 days (even at 2 runs an over for periods) of ebb & flow is like a multi-course meal while ODI's & 20/20 are more of a snatched fast food meal. Often hit the spot & are just what you want but no match for the real thing. I'm off for a cigar & glass of port.

  • TheDoctor394 on November 14, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Wondering article. I've been hearing about the "death" of Test cricket for all of about thirty years of my cricket-following life. First One Day matches were going to kill it, and now 20-20 is. And yet it goes on and on. It seems like every time there's a less-than-brilliant Test Match, and/or there's a mediocre crowd at it, we hear the scribes saying "Oh, Test matches are in trouble." Then along comes a close, exciting one and it's "We ALL thought Tests were gone, but they are alive and well!" I've lost count of the amount of times I've read "Test cricket is alive and well!" Er... yes. It is. It always has been. And if we could look closer at it, we could see why.

  • vik_cricfan on November 14, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    very well written!...though being an indian fan watching india thrash the english bowling out of the park in odi 1, i find myself wishing i was watching day one of a test match instead...keep pu the good work cricinfo/ mr ryan..

  • jerimini on November 14, 2008, 3:28 GMT

    Dear Christian Ryan / Cricinfo, Thank u for this lovely, balanced, fantastic article. Keep up the great work. Hope to hear more and more in the near future from you. Good luck. God Bless.

  • Ashique129 on November 14, 2008, 1:19 GMT

    I started watching cricket back in 1986, with Imran's Pakistan's 'boring' tour of India when the dead summer pitches didn't have much of a result until we all found ourselves stumbling in the minefields of Bangalore when the masters of spin couldn't handle Tauseef and Qasim, and ironically Qadir wasn't playing!! My love for test cricket has only augmented since then when I saw some incredible cricketers come, rule, shake the world and perish. Never in these 22 years had I found test cricket to be dull. Histories were made and broken - session after session, day after day. No offence to 1-dayers and 20/Twenties, but I rarely find them interest me (except when Bangladesh involved in it ) Maybe it's a good idea not to have the dominance of Australia of the last 15 years and West Indies the 20 years prior to that. Thanks Mr. Ryan for this timely, astute article - I would like to make this a motto for the non-believers - "To survive, Test cricket has to look like Test cricket"

  • lokhtar on November 14, 2008, 0:54 GMT

    I think I love you.

    No one has articulated my thoughts on Test cricket more eloquently.

  • SureshVish on November 13, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    Excellent article. I have been an ardent cricket fan as is the case with most of the Indians. I completely agree with Christian Ryan when he states that Test cricket is not attack-attack-attack. It is a battle and sometimes in a battle, teams tend yo use tactics that might be defensive or "boring". But, that is the charm of Test cricket. I can recollect a test match in Sri Lanka between India and Sri Lanka when, Jayasuriya and Mahanama had the world record partnership and frankly I was waiting for the match to end. Cricinfo also quotes Ian Chappell as having said that the ICC needs to look into this and make some changes. I strongly disagree with Ian. Test cricket is what it is because of all this.

  • ragomsk on November 13, 2008, 22:26 GMT

    Excellent analysis of the game and the media's attitude to it. I remember one comment about the effect that 50 overs game had on Test cricket - it made a generation of players think that the way o play the game was in the limited overs mode therefore the skills of Test cricket had been eroded. Now with 20/20 the skills are being eroded even more. The true contest of skill and technique can be seen only in Test cricket.

  • sharman on November 13, 2008, 22:06 GMT

    where are your feet?? would love to touch them right now!! after such a long time, i have read a nice article about test cricket..this is exactly what test cricket needs n not the bang bang type cricket which so called well-wishers crave for..hell with them, this is what I, you and so many true test match lovers enjoy the most in a 5-day game.. everyone criticized dhoni for employing that 8- field but to me that was the most entertaining cricket i saw this series.. same was the case this january@perth when ponting cudnt score fr 10-12 overs when ishant n someone else were bowling in tandem n finally ishant got him.. dats wat test cricket is.. a true test of nerves..so called well-wsihers may go n watch that 20-20 cricket..test cricket is nt for them n tehy shud stop caring fr it.. we true lovers can ourselves make sure that test cricket survives..we dont need them!!

  • JiggsBda on November 13, 2008, 21:59 GMT

    That is a very good article. All this Brouhaha about excitement needs to be put into context. What ever happened to the term holding on for an exciting draw. Test cricket is called that for a reason you have to pass the test, this is the absolute highest form of the game and guys like Chappell should know better. All the history and glory of the game will be lost if it becomes a part of "the microwave generation". How about the tied test in Aus that taught Steve Waugh to let a bouncer hit him rather than offer a stroke because it may cost you the game, or the draw. This is not an American sport, get over it. Aus were well and truly beaten and outfoxed, that can happen, they failed the test. The game will be better for it and make no mistake Aus is no weak team and I think the rumours of their death has been greatly exagerrated. So cheer up fellow purists and leave the flash and glamour to the short game and continue to enjoy TEST CRICKET.

  • anjanb on November 13, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    Test Cricket is the ultimate test of a player's ability measured over 5 days. Then again, people don't seem to have the patience that they had earlier for Test. It's been several years since tests stopped having a rest day -- which means people don't have that much time on their hands.

    Given the new attention spans of the new generation and the attention span in about 10 years AND the fact that other sports are getting more recognition and awards, the chances that we will be playing so many Tests a year in 10 years is very little. I've been observing Test Cricket for about 25 years(since England's visit to India in 81 when it started coming on TV) BUT now the new generation(the teenagers) will take it to the next level.

    So Tendulkar's Records (OR for that matter Ponting's) are likely to stay for a long long time UNLESS we get a player who get averages of 65+ and plays atleast 15 years.

    All the same, Test Cricket will always be interesting for people of my generation!!

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on November 13, 2008, 20:27 GMT

    Damn true.Agree.This author is good and original.Who said test cricket is all about bang bang batting.The beauty of the game lies in the fact that test cricket is a struggle,struggle to survive,struggle to outthink the oposition.Unlke T20 its is fluctuating with high frequency.Pundits like chappels please rethink about their wisdom and stop talking. -sreekanth nair,london

  • archnat1112 on November 13, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Amazing article. The fact of the matter is that India played brilliant, THINKING cricket. Coming as a tactic from a man known as the face of T20 around the country, it was a brilliant move. He was ably supported by his fast bowlers. It completely disintegrated the Australians mentally. And when they tried to use similar tactics, they were not able to use them as well. Why is that 'negative tactics'? It's the essence of test cricket! And the double standards of those who can stand back and applaud when Australia and England carry out these tactics, and when India resorts to them, they become 'negative' and 'against the spirit of the game'. Those who get bored watching this are not really the audience catered to anyway. Stooped to conquer? I think not. Rose to conquer more like it. Or thought to conquer. With the emphasis on 'conquer'.

  • vinitvishal on November 13, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    Excellent Article . I was compelled to comment . I think Ian Chappel and Ravi Sastri should definitely read this.

  • Mehul_View on November 13, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    What an article. I totally agree with Ryan and strongly believe that test cricket is more than cricket. It brings out the character of the players and captains during the tense situations in the game. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series for each of them had one team trying persevere and catch up. 20-20 can't bring this and ODI only seldom. Long live test cricket.

  • Chakri_arun on November 13, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    Hi everyone this is my first post over here. Im impressed with the way he has written the article. But who are these people saying that test cricket is boring? and people react to it by writing articles. Definetly test cricket is good for someone who plays cricket and for someone who appreciates the grit and determination of a player to get some runs in the test level. we understand it as a player as a follower from a country where the saying goes like this "cricket is our religion" and we are not the best in it!

  • KiranTelukunta on November 13, 2008, 18:49 GMT

    Great article. I believe Test cricket will never loose its importance. I think in future it will go like this only for very small period:

    (1) T20 cricket (2) One day cricket (3) Test cricket

    And then it will be

    (1) T20 cricket (2) Test cricket (3) One day cricket

    For a considerable time but then finally it settles at :

    (1) Test cricket (2) T20 cricket (or) One day cricket

    And also it depends on at what level it is played. Like in olympics T20 will be famous. But for the Test playing nations it would follow above trend.

    However the direct viewers for Test cricket will drastically decrease and only internet followers remain such as to cricinfo and cricbuzz etc..

    Thanks for reading. Kiran

    For some time this

  • Kreacher_Rocks on November 13, 2008, 18:16 GMT

    Very well written article. However,I think that branding something as negative or not depends on which side of the fence you are on. I remember that when England visited India in late 2001 / early 2002 Ashley Giles bowled outside the leg-stump to Tendulkar for prolonged intervals, eventually having Tendulkar stumped for the only time in his career in tests, albeit after he made a century. Much was made out of Giles' bowling, in fact to the point of Tendulkar venting his frustration on the field. This situation is very similar, except that this time India has employed similar tactics and managed to win, while England failed to win then thanks to the Indian batting. As a supporter of the Indian team I wasn't feeling very happy about the English team at that time, though I had to marvel at Hussain's tactics. So while I feel the pain of the Aussies I think they could have batted more innovatively.

  • arjunrv on November 13, 2008, 17:13 GMT

    Fine article! Can the Cricinfo editor please ask this writer to contribute more!

  • vimalan on November 13, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    excellent article..my love is always for test cricket and for the reasons you have mentioned in your article..a very well balanced one. I thoroughly enjoyed 4th day morning play when Ishant and Zaheer bowled over after over in the same spot, thats accuracy

  • biju on November 13, 2008, 16:24 GMT

    Very sensible,unbiased article.Reabuck should read this article.Hats off to Ryan.All we know that test cricket will never die.It brings us every thing.It is a combination of physical & mental aggression,co-ordination ,planning and implimentation.I enjoyed both series between India & Australia.It brought us every thing test cricket can offer.

  • Incorrigibles on November 13, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    yep! Test cricket will always remain the best form of cricket! T20 offers glitz and glamour, ODIs are becoming stale, but Test Crickets rocks! Nice article.

  • prashant1 on November 13, 2008, 16:12 GMT

    Finally, some good sense. All the good folks decrying and yelling about the impending imagined "death of Test cricket" seem to be implying that the only way we can save Test cricket is by playing it in 20/20 mode.

  • atheotes on November 13, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    quite an exceptional article... very balanced. Loved it. I usually dont post comments but i felt compelled on reading this. The Chennai test between SA and Ind, where runs were scored at an average 3.6 per over was one of the most boring test matches i have seen.... fast scoring does not always mean entertainment... it is only the tussle between the batsman and bowler (when there is something in the pitch for both) that makes test cricket what it is...

  • prashbhaw on November 13, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    Cricket should be managed by people who have played the game and love it. Time to throw all the politicians, lawyers, and businessmen out of cricket boards. As an Indian, everytime I hear of a 2 test/8 one-day tour of India, I reach for the barf bag.

  • Howie_CrowEater on November 13, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    I dont know any true cricket fans who prefer 20/20 or ODI over Test matches. All the people I know who prefer the shorter formats couldn't tell you who their country played last season, or the results not to mention the history or the drama. This article is well timed and I hope some industry insiders take heed. I've been following cricket closely for twenty years, and i reckon every year there is someone doubting the future of Test Cricket. These days there seems to be regular polls asking people whether they think Test Match cricket is dying. I think that is impossible. Test cricket has got to be one of the oldest team sports in the world and its culture is far too entrenched and rich for it to be dismantled. I just wish administrators could figure out a way to get more spectators to the grounds. Empty stands hurts Test Cricket's image more than a couple of sessions of attrition.

  • CricketLoverHyd on November 13, 2008, 14:43 GMT

    Excellent piece and what a surprise it comes not from the Roebucks or Pieriks but someone I've never heard of before.

    Referring to the 8-1 field set by Dhoni in the Nagpur test, Roebuck writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that India stooped to conquer. If Roebuck and other Australian writers were so bored by Dhoni's tactics that they began predicting Test cricket's demise, perhaps they should switch over to 20-20. As Mr. Ryan says, a captain's first and foremost responsibility is to ensure that his team wins and Dhoni did just that. No one predicted Test cricket's demise when Glenn McGrath bowled with 7-2 fields for most of his life or when Mitchell Johnson did the same in this very series. Yet Roebuck and Pierik spare no opportunity to blame the "third-world countries" (yep that's what Matty Hayden just called India, never mind that he would go out on a limb to play in the lucrative IPL so he could rake in the moolah) for despoiling their "pristine" invention.

  • sskurupath on November 13, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    wunderful article. i cant c ? i cld disagree. the beauty of test cricket is not just a gilly/kp/dhoni smashthon but a back to the wall gritty century by the waughs the dravids etc....

    Test cricket is for real men to bboth play and liek good singlemalt it is sometimes a bit peaty sometimes smooth but always fun....

  • adhawan on November 13, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Finally a sensible Aussie columnist. You should write for Ian Chappel et al mate.

  • Sriram.Dayanand on November 13, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    Just brilliant. An article which articulates my strongest feelings about cricket so eloquently. Thank you Mr. Ryan.

  • SADARAJE on November 13, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    Excellent article. Puts the test in its perfect perspective. As an added view, I thought that Dhoni's tactics were a genuine case of mental disintegration. The rough style used by the Aussies so far looks crude and pales in comparison. Thanks for speaking up against the trash that came out in the last few days. I was surprised to find the number of people who could not see what was so clearly visible and chose to call Indian tactics negative.

  • Kobyashi on November 13, 2008, 11:29 GMT

    A truly brilliant article written on the game I love so much. "Test cricket's charms have little to do with attack-attack-attack. They never have done. To survive, Test cricket has to look like Test cricket. Well-wishers should remember that trying to change the thing you love is one sure way of wrecking it" You just summed up my thoughts!

  • Kalran on November 13, 2008, 11:11 GMT

    After the rubbish spewed by the media and the "experts" after the 3rd day's play at Nagpur, I really felt that I was out of tune with the rest of the world and was the only one who enjoyed the day's play. However, the column as well as the responses to this column reposed my faith on what I believe test cricket should be. 3 Cheers to Test Cricket!

  • linopaul on November 13, 2008, 10:31 GMT

    superb.....if i dont know about this game and one fine morning i started liking it .. you ask me which is best i say.. 20/20.. ask me if i am a person who love the game who will die for it ... i say its test cricket... the beauty that no other sport can boast off i love it.....those 5 days ..

  • Rummer on November 13, 2008, 10:21 GMT

    thats quite a different way of looking at it,most people think of,for sure all the 5 days cant the same thing,attacking or just get blown.Its gonna be a mixture and it was that! Good article with some real good references.

  • Uppi on November 13, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    Brilliant.

    I didnt want to write more but cricinfo has a minimum of 25 characters. Heartening to see so many other respond the same way as I did.

  • aussie_whinger on November 13, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    Good on you christian, nailed it mate. It was a hard earned victort by india. They kept saying till day four that india is not playing for a win, negative tactics etc.Truth of the matter is that India knew what they were doing, australia lost the plot.

  • rtom on November 13, 2008, 9:16 GMT

    you are absolutely right. When Aus-India playing test cricket, it is at its best. With all sort of complications involved, still these two teams give us the pleasure of watching test cricket. I have seen all those IPL matches, but believe me, it is more Afridi like. a temporary fun. there is no comparison with the test matches.

  • atulskulkarni1 on November 13, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    Brilliant - one word summarizes this article. If only the entertainers could understand the difference between coverage of a test match and a T20. (Both have a place and need to be respected, but both beg to be treated differently.)

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 13, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    Brilliant article. I have always maintained that Test Cricket is the best form of the game. For any cricket lover, it is undoubtedly the most exciting to play, maybe not to watch. However it is futile to fret over kids' preferences. At 10yrs, Test Matches may appear nothing but a bore. However ask them at 15, (granted that they have been through at least one longish session of cricket in the backyard/by-lane/gully) and they will tell you a different story!!

  • maverick.anupam on November 13, 2008, 8:39 GMT

    I just love test cricket, "that very day" was the most engrossing. The guy who said that let 20twenty be for masses hit the nail on the head. Any day I will take test cricket over rubbish 20-20. Again its a request to cricket boards around the worlds. Dont pander to the audience which doesnt understand the game(take a survey). test cricket is gruelling when there is gruelling & even contest between bat and ball, runs are choked, fats bowlers bending there backs, Spinners like Warne weaving there magic. The most amazing sight in the world it makes for

  • Samwise67 on November 13, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. No rule changes to regulate fields. It is the batsmen's job to score runs off of the deliveries bowled to them. If they can't, maybe someone else should be drafted to do the job.

  • Samson on November 13, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    The one and only sensible article summarizing the test series summarizers as well as one could!

  • vineet1979 on November 13, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Nice post,,,, most people say that Test matches are about winning but if any one looks deeply than Test matches are not only about winning its about either we should win but we should not be defeated.......So when India slows down the pace of game for Australia it shows they do not want to lose at any cost which is good signs for Indian cricket future,,,, Why any team want to lose by playing fast cricket rememeber India lost to Aus & SA after scoring more than 330 runs on first day.... so its better to slow down some times.....

  • Wests_Tigers on November 13, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    Thank goodness! I was wondering if I was the only one to have witnessed a good test match. There was all the usual excitement, sudden fall of wickets, dropped catches, but people were more concerned about other things. Twenty20 brings in new people into the game. The day we have to start worrying about the end of test cricket is the day that your average test fan isn't interested in test matches anymore and I dont think that is possible, not in my case. The good thing about all this is that there seems to be a general worry everywhere, which is a sign that there are test lovers who still love the game.

    Gavin Frantz

  • Maverick_topgun on November 13, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    Simply the best article till date covering the India-Australia series, for the mere fact that it signifies what TEST cricket truly is.

  • HipHipHurray on November 13, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    Excellent Article! One of the finest in praise of Test cricket. Really Test cricket is for the elite. If you need thrill-a-minute watch T20 or American football. Test cricket to T20 is what Steak is to Hamburger!

  • pusukuri on November 13, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    Excellent view. Thank you for clearly explaining the beauty of Test cricekt.

  • buddy303 on November 13, 2008, 7:43 GMT

    Fantastic articulation of the beauty of Test Cricket. Its called Test Cricket because it is a Test...of cricketing skills, mental & physical strengths, strategic abilities of the team think tank, leadership qualities of the captain, decision making capabilities of the players, know-how of the game & its rules and above all timing of your moves. Its the only sport left today thats played on natural turfs and gets affected by so many external factors including the pitch conditions, weather changes, demography of the ground, crowd pressure, detailed elongated media analysis, sessions, ball conditions, wind flow and above all the toss. This game is a perfect cocktail of many a sports put together in one show whether its chess, sprinting, throw, tennis and many others. Which other sport gives you such engrossing intellectual simulation of ardeniline that Test Cricket does?? Which other game would have allowed MSD to come back next day with a fresh approach and change the course of the game?

  • theNadenker on November 13, 2008, 7:14 GMT

    This is the best article I have seen on Test cricket. The main objective of the players on the field must be to win and nothing else. The so-called "entertainment" will take care of itself. Take for example the third day in the Nagpur test, the bowlers bowled wide on the off-stump to an 8-1 field. That I think was innovative. And on the fourth day, the Indian batting collapse was a sudden turn-around that was cool to watch. This is what test cricket is all about. It is sad to see ex-cricketers lambasting these occurences and lamenting that the cricket was not entertaining. What else could they have asked for? If it wasnt entertaining or if it wasn't absorbing, why on earth are there so many articles written about it? As for waning spectators, I think test cricket should be scheduled in such a way that its essentially holiday time and the stadia ought to be made more enjoyable to spend time in. Something like professional bands playing duing the course of the match among the spectators.

  • RaviTej on November 13, 2008, 6:55 GMT

    Hi guys,

    I am surprised to read all the articles that have been published after India won the test series. All the experts are speaking about the so called negative 8-1 field and the decision of Ponting of not bowling the faster bowlers on the fourth day. Why are the experts no accepting the fact that the Aussies were completely outplayed by the Indians, when Ponting set 7-2 fields and McGrath bowled on the offstump in 2004 it was termed as discipline in the bowling of the Aussies, when india does that it becomes negative, how ridiculous is that. We have seen that in the entire series the aussie bowling has been inaffective and i am sure that even if the faster bowlers would have bowled Dhoni and Bhajji would have scored the runs. Let me remind the experts it is the same Bhajji who scored runs in Australia and also in the Bangalore against the faster men. Please stop living in past glories and accept the fact that aussies are no more invinsibles. Well done Team India. Cheers!!!

  • Looch on November 13, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    What a great article, thank you Christian, and thank you to all those who made comments, I am heartened to see that there is still a love for test cricket out there. I also wanted to wax lyrical about the last test but Srinis1 has said all that needed saying far more elequently than I could! Nice one Srinis1!

  • D.V.C. on November 13, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    I liked this article a lot.

  • masterblaster666 on November 13, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    I have said this before: half of the outrage against the Nagpur Test is plain anguish at Australia's failings by Australian commentators. Sure, I wouldn't want to see an 8-1 field day in and day out but I didn't hear anyone complaining when teams packed the offside for Ganguly or Sehwag (perhaps because their drives still bisected the fielders!). The fact is Australia did nothing to counter Dhoni's tactics on day 3 and slipped into a comfortable pattern, which is what India wanted. After Day 2, there were all the makings of an easy Australian victory and yet another instance of a feisty challenger faltering at the final hurdle. What happened after is what gave us a topsy-turvy Test match. I also endorse the sentiment that what is referred to as sporting pitches is just pitches that Aus or Eng would like to play on. It is almost as if pitches that suit India or SL or Pak automatically disqualify but without the diversity of conditions, cricket would be one-dimensional and BORING.

  • Savii on November 13, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    An excellent article. I can't see how this last series wasn't interesting - what are people looking for? Glamorous, fast-paced 20/20 cricket which doesn't even reflect proper cricket? I found the Indian tactics extremely interested and really showe what test cricket is all about - strategy, instead of some hit and run silly form of cricket. If people can't understand this, then they obviously don't understand what cricket is all about.

  • tendilya on November 13, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    wow, excellent article. I live in Australia but i never read your article before Mr Ryan. All i read is pathetic sensationalized articles from 'oh or else i will loose my job' journalists. Even i thought that Test cricket is more about the technique, style, tactics, patience and of-course the pitch. Its not about fast cricket or entertainment. True cricket lovers will always back Test cricket and there is no danger to it. ICC will have to make sure that there is not too much cricket and eventually people will get bored no matter what format it is. Also i think Test cricket especially in subcontinent needs to be played in major cities to get more people to come in and watch. Anyways great article Mr Ryan. Thank you

  • Champ2000 on November 13, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Before I started readin, I thought one more in series, but no you have got it right. If test cricket try to do what ODI does, then whats the difference. Test cricket can not die, its the pinacle. forget spectator ask cricketer, they won't let it go.

  • Surya.Sripati on November 13, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    Fantastic, couldn't agree with you more.

    For all the crap written and talked about negative tactics, defensive play etc by both teams, it is worthwhile to remember that:

    1. All teams, small or big, minnows or champions, start a game wanting to win - Operating words here are Start and Wanting

    2. All teams will have strategies and tactics and these will keep changing as the game progresses - In my book there are not positive or negative tactics - they are just tactics aimed at winning or making sure opposition team doesn't win.

    It is important to remember that in the game, you will win only when the opposition team doesn't win - As much as it is important to ensure that a team adopts those strategies and tactics which will help them win, it is also important to ensure that a team adopts those strategies and tactics which will ensure that opposition team doesn't win - If people call those strategies and tactics negative - God help them.

  • ruvvy on November 13, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    Excellently laid out. Well argued. My 2 pence worth. Those 'kids' watching 20-20 will eventually start appreciating Test Cricket. My friend, who is a most stubborn novice cricket follower of ODI, has become a test cricket fan. We should allow kids free to test matches and charge the evolved fans double (at least in the sub-continent) but provide excellent spectator experience.

  • jokerbala on November 13, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    very well written indeed .I say this not because India won the match, the last test was one of the most intriguing tests I've witnessed in recent times.The mohali test pales in comparison.The penultimate session where hayden cut loose, and dhoni going for desperate measures beats any T20 game anyday.

  • SRT_Jammy_Dada_VVS_and_Anil_legends on November 13, 2008, 5:42 GMT

    I agree, the beauty of Test cricket is that it allows for time to swing a match one way or the other using players of various shapes and sizes and with different skills to do so. I remember India v England at Headingley 2002, day 1 1st session only produced 58 for 1 wicket but it was enthralling to see Dravid and Bangar tough it out on a green pitch favouring the faster bowlers. Dravid then toughed it out and made a fine 148, right up there with his 76 at Wellington. Boy it was worth watching, as much as watching VVS's 281 or Dada's 144 or Sachin's 241*. Wah wah Dravid!

  • Caveman. on November 13, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    At last, after all the crap that had been written over past few days, here is an article with superb perspective. May writers of your ilk flourish forever, for they are the one who remind us what test cricket really is.

  • CurdRiceAurora on November 13, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    This article should be stuffed into every one of those mouths which ranted off the most illogical crap to take centre-stage in the media after the Sydney Test. Self proclaimed pundits with media presence do not speak for everyone.

  • CapnHem on November 13, 2008, 5:10 GMT

    First sane article I have ever read about Test cricket. I loved the bit about the "well-wishers" of Test cricket. Some of these well-wishers sit in the commentary boxes and spew forth such rubbish that I constantly have my finger on the mute button.

  • gunnarrekhi on November 13, 2008, 4:53 GMT

    I think this is the time where the masses would be segregated from the Elite. Let the Test cricket be for the elite and let the other stuff be for masses. How can you compare 20-20 with test. Cheerleaders, game over in 3 hours, women comentators :(. Chess, Golf are not followed by masses but who ever enjoy them get the pleasure of their life, and they are the most expensive games in sports.

  • Kochikkaran on November 13, 2008, 4:49 GMT

    Brilliant perspective, that I fully agree with!

    Everyone was slaying the tactics which was employed, and would have agreed in case Australia had done that successfully against us Indians. But, since it was Indians, I was not really sure whether to support it or not!

    But, whatever was written in this article made complete sense and I agree, test cricket need not try to emulate limited overs cricket to flourish. The true lovers are never going to leave it for the excitement of 20-20.

    At the same time, I wish more and more youngsters are able to fall in love with Test Cricket!

    Hats off, once again!

  • AnithaReghunathan on November 13, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    True to every word.The beauty of Test Cricket is everything that differs it from limited overs cricket.Test cricket is all about the mind,not adrenaline.What we should hope for is that it stays that way,and not give over to the so-called charms of 'entertainment cricket'.Test cricket is not a way of passing time,but a real test to gauge the characters of those who play it-how patient one can be,how long one can withstand the antics of another and outsmart him.That's what makes test cricket absorbing.And for a sport to be absorbing,it is not necessary for it to be an edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting,adrenaline pumping thriller.If that was the case,do you think that Vishwanathan Anand or his profession would stand a chance in this world?The foremost thing to consider is to whom does test cricket belong to.Not for those who consider it as a diversion from the long weekends,surely.It belongs to those who can understand and accept its true meaning and worth-no matter how short lived it can be.

  • cricket_wins on November 13, 2008, 4:36 GMT

    Christian Ryan - your heart is in the right place, and may you continue forever. The media sensationalizes virtually everything - Sachin sneezes, Dhoni rides a bike, Ishant Sharma cuts his hair, Punter has a beer, Freddy watches movie. The media is truly jobless, and have absolutely no idea of what their responsibility is. They are worried about readership and circulation rather than freedom of expression and reporting facts. And yes, they do create unwanted piles of trash on the first page. Pathetic state of affairs. Test cricket needs more respect, and media must know T20 is just a new type of cricket - not the oldest nor is it the most intriguing.

  • KapilVijan on November 13, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    India Australia proved to much more than a test series, with fortunes swinging every session. Till the time these sort of matches take place, Test Cricket will always rule!!

  • TheGuruji on November 13, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    Wonderfully well said sir!!! Impressive article. You should write more often.

  • gunnarrekhi on November 13, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    Can't agree more. Very well written. Its like a game of chess. If the player feels comfortable they can make quick moves lest they can take their time and think about. I really enjoy test cricket the way it is. 8-1 field is one ofthe tactics and the best part is that there are no restrictions, no powerplay , no boundation as a result, just feel free to play and win. Its like a battle hwich needs startegies and need sto be won come what may!!! Battles are drawn as well, which does not encourage humans to forgo them. Ask George Bush, if you dont believe me.

  • hsbakshi on November 13, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Good points raised. Nice to read.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on November 13, 2008, 4:19 GMT

    Simply brilliant. I thought I was the only one who saw the beauty in the whole series, let alone the last test. Damn! That was test cricket at it's best. I am one of those hopeless test match cricket romantics, who is, forever intrigued by the intricacies of the game than the game itself. I was truly fascinated by India's tactics on day 3 with the 8-1 field. The first thought that crossed my mind was "well, Oz need to win this test. So, let them go and get the runs" - and this was way before Ravi Shastri's comment about how this kind of test cricket will definitely put spectators to sleep. I truely loved the tactic and had a kick when Oz tried to imitate the same with much less success.

    I watched the T20 World Cup/IPL/Stanford etc. etc., but trust me. Nothing even comes close to Test Cricket. Test cricket needs growing into. The Nagpur match was brillaint in every sense. The series came down to almost-last session of the game. What more do you want?

  • wizman on November 13, 2008, 4:18 GMT

    I can agree to a greater or lesser extent with pretty much everything written here. Gone are the days of grafting and gritty cricketers who can play a long innings, for the flashy and spectacular T20 types. Yes Test cricket is better for being a long game of chess that can change on a single move (and has done in the series just played!)

    I will disagree that the pitches were good enough. They were not because they did not provide an actual contest between bat and ball, but attrition for very long periods followed by half an hour of something completely different. It is still true that the team that wins the toss in India bats first and more often than not stays on top for the rest of the match, as it was in the series just played. Pitches need to be a bit juicier, or deteriorate more so things can happen.

    Over rate minimums are a reaction to very slow cricket designed to prevent a loss, but with most rules the opposite can happen and stop you trying to win also.

  • SanjivSanjiv on November 13, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    India-Australia matches are a story as we have just seen and also in the recent past. Another story could be Ashes which is about 8 months away followed by no-story for some time. How true! Cricket journalists are heading for recession like the rest of the world. Pakistan winning the 1st one day match against West Inides last night in a thrilling contest is NOT a story these days. Smiles! Any more to come? Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia.

  • Srir29 on November 13, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    Brilliant article by Christian - I for one enjoyed the Day 3 in Nagpur a lot. Test Cricket is as much a mental duel between two teams as it is between bat and ball. Dhoni challenged the Aussies who failed to respond and it was brilliant to watch. Hats of Dhoni - Good Luck against England. They have a much stronger bowling attack and should be a much tougher opposition than the Aussies.

  • RogerC on November 13, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    Brilliant article. People say that 20-20 is not cricket and in the same breadth they want test cricket to be like 20-20. Test cricket brings gives us a chance to understand the strengths and weaknesses of humans like no other sport. Like celebrated Hussey and Ponting failing at key moments to do the right things in Nagpur. Or like Sachin Tendulkar attempting a silly run of the last ball before tea on 4th day.

  • sridharps on November 13, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Good points Christian.I do personally feel that people tend to overreact and fear too much for Test Cricket's future. It survived the onslaught of one dayers for the past 30 years and it will survive this 20/20 thing as well.

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  • sridharps on November 13, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Good points Christian.I do personally feel that people tend to overreact and fear too much for Test Cricket's future. It survived the onslaught of one dayers for the past 30 years and it will survive this 20/20 thing as well.

  • RogerC on November 13, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    Brilliant article. People say that 20-20 is not cricket and in the same breadth they want test cricket to be like 20-20. Test cricket brings gives us a chance to understand the strengths and weaknesses of humans like no other sport. Like celebrated Hussey and Ponting failing at key moments to do the right things in Nagpur. Or like Sachin Tendulkar attempting a silly run of the last ball before tea on 4th day.

  • Srir29 on November 13, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    Brilliant article by Christian - I for one enjoyed the Day 3 in Nagpur a lot. Test Cricket is as much a mental duel between two teams as it is between bat and ball. Dhoni challenged the Aussies who failed to respond and it was brilliant to watch. Hats of Dhoni - Good Luck against England. They have a much stronger bowling attack and should be a much tougher opposition than the Aussies.

  • SanjivSanjiv on November 13, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    India-Australia matches are a story as we have just seen and also in the recent past. Another story could be Ashes which is about 8 months away followed by no-story for some time. How true! Cricket journalists are heading for recession like the rest of the world. Pakistan winning the 1st one day match against West Inides last night in a thrilling contest is NOT a story these days. Smiles! Any more to come? Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia.

  • wizman on November 13, 2008, 4:18 GMT

    I can agree to a greater or lesser extent with pretty much everything written here. Gone are the days of grafting and gritty cricketers who can play a long innings, for the flashy and spectacular T20 types. Yes Test cricket is better for being a long game of chess that can change on a single move (and has done in the series just played!)

    I will disagree that the pitches were good enough. They were not because they did not provide an actual contest between bat and ball, but attrition for very long periods followed by half an hour of something completely different. It is still true that the team that wins the toss in India bats first and more often than not stays on top for the rest of the match, as it was in the series just played. Pitches need to be a bit juicier, or deteriorate more so things can happen.

    Over rate minimums are a reaction to very slow cricket designed to prevent a loss, but with most rules the opposite can happen and stop you trying to win also.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on November 13, 2008, 4:19 GMT

    Simply brilliant. I thought I was the only one who saw the beauty in the whole series, let alone the last test. Damn! That was test cricket at it's best. I am one of those hopeless test match cricket romantics, who is, forever intrigued by the intricacies of the game than the game itself. I was truly fascinated by India's tactics on day 3 with the 8-1 field. The first thought that crossed my mind was "well, Oz need to win this test. So, let them go and get the runs" - and this was way before Ravi Shastri's comment about how this kind of test cricket will definitely put spectators to sleep. I truely loved the tactic and had a kick when Oz tried to imitate the same with much less success.

    I watched the T20 World Cup/IPL/Stanford etc. etc., but trust me. Nothing even comes close to Test Cricket. Test cricket needs growing into. The Nagpur match was brillaint in every sense. The series came down to almost-last session of the game. What more do you want?

  • hsbakshi on November 13, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Good points raised. Nice to read.

  • gunnarrekhi on November 13, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    Can't agree more. Very well written. Its like a game of chess. If the player feels comfortable they can make quick moves lest they can take their time and think about. I really enjoy test cricket the way it is. 8-1 field is one ofthe tactics and the best part is that there are no restrictions, no powerplay , no boundation as a result, just feel free to play and win. Its like a battle hwich needs startegies and need sto be won come what may!!! Battles are drawn as well, which does not encourage humans to forgo them. Ask George Bush, if you dont believe me.

  • TheGuruji on November 13, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    Wonderfully well said sir!!! Impressive article. You should write more often.

  • KapilVijan on November 13, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    India Australia proved to much more than a test series, with fortunes swinging every session. Till the time these sort of matches take place, Test Cricket will always rule!!