New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day November 28, 2009

Test cricket at its finest

Just for the high quality of consistent fast bowling throughout the match, the Dunedin Test needs to be celebrated
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Sheer pace? Shane Bond. Wily craft? Mohammad Asif. Swing and reverse-swing? Mohammad Aamer. Persistence? Chris Martin and Umar Gul. Coming back and seizing the moment? Iain O'Brien.

Just for the high quality of consistent fast bowling throughout the match, the Dunedin Test needs to be celebrated. Add to that the match itself ebbed and flowed so beautifully that almost every session had a story to tell, and even in the last session either team could win, and there was an outside chance of a draw too.

And the relief at watching Bond and Asif in their national whites, and realising that they still had it. That the Asif wrist still controlled what the ball did. That Bond could still bowl bouncers at 150kph, and yorkers, and quick legcutters.

And the joy of watching Umar Akmal's debut, rivalled - in a long, long time - only by Ajantha Mendis'. Also that his elder brother was with him for the majority of his first-innings century, and that he was the first person to congratulate him. That Umar changed his game completely in the second innings, when he had much more to be responsible for and much more to lose.

And that the first ball of the match was a swinging yorker from Aamer to clean Tim McIntosh up. And the same bowler reducing New Zealand to 0 for 2 in the second innings too. Also, the captain, coach, selector, major batsman, major bowler, all in one, rescued New Zealand from a rut again. Relentlessly good fast bowling is mine; pick your own story, and tell it. And the bottomline was that despite the rain, despite the bad light, the match was wide open in the final session.

This hasn't been a good year for Test cricket. Australia in South Africa couldn't replicate South Africa in Australia; Ashes were a good story because England regained them, but not many of the neutrals will remember them for sustained high-quality cricket; India played one tense Test in Napier, but the pitch there hardly tested the batsmen; and West Indies and Bangladesh played out a farce in the Caribbean. India didn't bother to play one for more than seven months, and when they finally did, they did so on flat roads. Sri Lanka in Pakistan is best forgotten.

And it's not just what happened or didn't happen in Tests. It's what happened outside the Tests that has been bad news for the format. The ICC talked of four-day Tests, and pink-ball Test cricket. A Test captain turned up for a series with his mind still back in the IPL, and openly talked about how - compared with Twenty20 - Test cricket is not where it's at. The crowds found more entertainment in the shorter formats, and in the modern consumer-driven world it was no surprise that questions were raised about Test cricket's survival.

For entertainment, though, don't look beyond Pakistan in Sri Lanka, with all the myriad collapses and sharp turns, but how those collapses came about still remains inexplicable. Younis Khan couldn't make any sense of them, Kumar Sangakkara smiled and accepted the gifts, and those who watched are yet to get over it.

In this Test, though, you could see the build-ups, the plans, the execution. And then the extraordinary knocks to foil those plans too. Bond v the Akmal brothers in the final session of the match was one such plan that came through. Four times in that spell he made the batsmen play and miss outside off, and twice he got edges that fell short of slips. Twice Kamran got close enough to those balls reversing away, and drove them for four. Then came the first ball to jag in, and got Umar. Game over. This, and other such plays, over a eight-over spell; no other format affords such sustained contests. Such plays need to be preserved. Such plays need to happen more often.

This was perhaps the Test of the year. Unlike the Cardiff Test, which came alive only on the final day and was played on a lifeless pitch, this one kept going back and forth throughout. The fragile batting line-ups on both sides gave the proceedings an edginess, a feeling that there was drama looming. It was played on a fair pitch, despite this being the first-ever November Test in Dunedin. The surface provided just enough help to the bowlers, there was no maddening seam movement, and batsmen got value for their shots too.

This was a reiteration that when played the right way Tests are superior to any other format. That such one-off matches come as reassurance for Tests cannot be good news. That these Tests come at all, given so many duds in the year, cannot be bad news.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • khanbhai89 on November 29, 2009, 21:40 GMT

    you believe me or not... Pakistan is the only team which can make a match dramatic... and Pakistani team is needed for cricket... why I'm saying so... Few days back people said ODI's are no more a good format then Aus Vs Pak in Chmp. Trophey produced such match that people learned it value....Pak Vs NZ semi-final...Pak VS NZ last ODI of the series..in T20 you all can witness urselves.. 1st world cup won all the match but lost the final.. second.. lost many but won the world cup..in test match in sri lanka was so strong in position but still lost :P and now NZ vs Pak again produced a perfect match... Cricket needs teams like Pakistan :) Sometimes like champs but sometimes like under-13.. but it how pakistan played world cup of 1992 also.. luv you Pakistan.. Proud to be a Pakistani Fan... We may have lost but still it was worth watching it...

  • gottalovetheraindance on November 29, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    this truly was a classic test match. this proves that test cricket can be exciting outside of the ashes if its played in the right spirit and conditions. however this requires co-operation & effective communication between everyone. from the fans & groundsmen to head of the respective cricket board. proper planningis key. all of this is absent all over the world especially in west indies cricket at the moment. that is why the WICB put a series in england when gayle bravo and co were to be playing in IPL. no wonder it was such a disaster & Gayle said what he said that is why the player strike and the big stand off between WICB and WIPA took place in the summer. that is why test cricket is considered boring & is losing fans & sponsors in India & Pakistan because nobody ensures that good pitches are made for matches bangladesh vs wi actually was not as boring as 1 would think as in both tests either team could have won upto the final day just bad publicity and stupidity by WICB

  • asim900 on November 29, 2009, 9:59 GMT

    @putrevus and Duthu....We are not talking about the quality of batsmen here just discussing the quality of cricket passion with which it was played..India no doubt have world's best batsmen but in this match everyone was waiting for the result till the last wicket fell. Siddharth I liked your article and you have spoken my heart out here..India series has been very lazy one as India are far superior to the Srilanka...Although m a Pakistani fan but I love Bond's bowling.He has got all the thrills which a flamboyant palyer needs...Umar akmal is the best upcoming talent in world cricket alongwith Amir....Best of luck Pakistan...and we want such matches on regular basis...

  • binkaf on November 29, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    This match has yet again proved that no other formats even come clozer when it'z about sheer quality of pure cricket. Yes, Test match is the Heart & Soul of Cricket and no life can imagined if Heart is missing. So, Test cricket is here to stay, entertain and of course teach. Long Life Test Cricket!

  • JohnSnider on November 29, 2009, 7:53 GMT

    Wow Wow Wow. What a test match no one is looser, Both NZ and Pakistan entertained the world. It was tense all 5 days. I did not know what will be the result with Aamir is te last batsman a 17 years old yet to learn fear and magistic Bond and greatest Captain of NZ as chrismatic as Imran Khan in the field, I believe he is the one of the best man in the world of Cricket. Gratest bowlers from both sides working their heart out to win the match. Gratest and heartiest congratulations to both Newzealnd and Pakistan you have won our hearts. What a drama was that

  • shang1985 on November 29, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    it was nice to see Mr. Bond back to where he belongs and doing what he does best. i have to agree with duthu that the quality of the cricket was not up there with the best. save Taylor & yosuf, there were no established batsmen. Pak & NZ have 2 most fragile top orders among top cricketing nations. but the see-saw battle right from the first day made up for thet. i guess it is better than the team batting first ends the first day on 417/2 which means the match was effectively over.

  • Rommel on November 29, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    Wow!! Five splendid days of test cricket,full of fascination,intrigue,tension and drama. This test had it all with determined performances by both sides on a fantastic pitch in Dunedin which offered all the bowlers over the 5 days just a little encouragement and insentive if they were prepared to bend their backs and offered the batsmen full value for shots with a quick outfield and generous 65 metre boundaries square and 60 metres straight.What an absolute delight to watch this sporting theatre unfold over 5 days with both sides counter thrusting and exploring any potential week spots in their opponents. This is what Test cricket needed just to remind everyone why this game is so special. To have all 3 results as a real possibilty going into the last session on the last day, with every Pakistani boundary critical and every wicket greeted with passion and delight by the New Zealanders. Lets hope the second test match at the Basin Reserve is just as compelling.....Can't Wait!!!

  • rocket123 on November 29, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    I was following this match uninterrupted on cricinfo.com. It definitely showed that the test match is the best cricket where you can witness true ability of a batsman and a bowler. Disappointed a bit that Pakistan lost but glad that the match had a great touch of rollercoaster. I just want to see Umar Akmal showing his batting class against Australia thrashing them all over the place with his skills, finesse and solidity and Shane Bond bundling Australians with pace. I hope they both succeed against Australians and bring honors for their countries. Wish both Unar Akmal and Shane Bond best of luck and believe me that everyone would be cheering for you two when you face hollow Australians who are best when facing mediocrity.

  • banglafan on November 29, 2009, 3:16 GMT

    Mr Siddhart, you brought out the best things that came out in this test. Let the failures like batting collapses fade into the background. This test should be remembered for its stellar individual performances, edge-of-the-seat excitements, ups-and-down moments and finally your poetry in motion. Two things : expecting great things from Umar, and we want Misbah-ul Haq back in the test team urgenty.

  • BabishMohan on November 29, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    Indeed this was a good test match and watching it along with other tests/ODIs in parallel there are a set of new/relatively new players who are there to stay for next 8-10 years, Adrian Barath,Umar Akmal,Masakadza,JP Duminy,Shakib Al Hasan,Ed Morgan,Ross Taylor and also with good fast bowlers back in action for every team test cricket will see better contests compared to last 1-2 years.

  • khanbhai89 on November 29, 2009, 21:40 GMT

    you believe me or not... Pakistan is the only team which can make a match dramatic... and Pakistani team is needed for cricket... why I'm saying so... Few days back people said ODI's are no more a good format then Aus Vs Pak in Chmp. Trophey produced such match that people learned it value....Pak Vs NZ semi-final...Pak VS NZ last ODI of the series..in T20 you all can witness urselves.. 1st world cup won all the match but lost the final.. second.. lost many but won the world cup..in test match in sri lanka was so strong in position but still lost :P and now NZ vs Pak again produced a perfect match... Cricket needs teams like Pakistan :) Sometimes like champs but sometimes like under-13.. but it how pakistan played world cup of 1992 also.. luv you Pakistan.. Proud to be a Pakistani Fan... We may have lost but still it was worth watching it...

  • gottalovetheraindance on November 29, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    this truly was a classic test match. this proves that test cricket can be exciting outside of the ashes if its played in the right spirit and conditions. however this requires co-operation & effective communication between everyone. from the fans & groundsmen to head of the respective cricket board. proper planningis key. all of this is absent all over the world especially in west indies cricket at the moment. that is why the WICB put a series in england when gayle bravo and co were to be playing in IPL. no wonder it was such a disaster & Gayle said what he said that is why the player strike and the big stand off between WICB and WIPA took place in the summer. that is why test cricket is considered boring & is losing fans & sponsors in India & Pakistan because nobody ensures that good pitches are made for matches bangladesh vs wi actually was not as boring as 1 would think as in both tests either team could have won upto the final day just bad publicity and stupidity by WICB

  • asim900 on November 29, 2009, 9:59 GMT

    @putrevus and Duthu....We are not talking about the quality of batsmen here just discussing the quality of cricket passion with which it was played..India no doubt have world's best batsmen but in this match everyone was waiting for the result till the last wicket fell. Siddharth I liked your article and you have spoken my heart out here..India series has been very lazy one as India are far superior to the Srilanka...Although m a Pakistani fan but I love Bond's bowling.He has got all the thrills which a flamboyant palyer needs...Umar akmal is the best upcoming talent in world cricket alongwith Amir....Best of luck Pakistan...and we want such matches on regular basis...

  • binkaf on November 29, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    This match has yet again proved that no other formats even come clozer when it'z about sheer quality of pure cricket. Yes, Test match is the Heart & Soul of Cricket and no life can imagined if Heart is missing. So, Test cricket is here to stay, entertain and of course teach. Long Life Test Cricket!

  • JohnSnider on November 29, 2009, 7:53 GMT

    Wow Wow Wow. What a test match no one is looser, Both NZ and Pakistan entertained the world. It was tense all 5 days. I did not know what will be the result with Aamir is te last batsman a 17 years old yet to learn fear and magistic Bond and greatest Captain of NZ as chrismatic as Imran Khan in the field, I believe he is the one of the best man in the world of Cricket. Gratest bowlers from both sides working their heart out to win the match. Gratest and heartiest congratulations to both Newzealnd and Pakistan you have won our hearts. What a drama was that

  • shang1985 on November 29, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    it was nice to see Mr. Bond back to where he belongs and doing what he does best. i have to agree with duthu that the quality of the cricket was not up there with the best. save Taylor & yosuf, there were no established batsmen. Pak & NZ have 2 most fragile top orders among top cricketing nations. but the see-saw battle right from the first day made up for thet. i guess it is better than the team batting first ends the first day on 417/2 which means the match was effectively over.

  • Rommel on November 29, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    Wow!! Five splendid days of test cricket,full of fascination,intrigue,tension and drama. This test had it all with determined performances by both sides on a fantastic pitch in Dunedin which offered all the bowlers over the 5 days just a little encouragement and insentive if they were prepared to bend their backs and offered the batsmen full value for shots with a quick outfield and generous 65 metre boundaries square and 60 metres straight.What an absolute delight to watch this sporting theatre unfold over 5 days with both sides counter thrusting and exploring any potential week spots in their opponents. This is what Test cricket needed just to remind everyone why this game is so special. To have all 3 results as a real possibilty going into the last session on the last day, with every Pakistani boundary critical and every wicket greeted with passion and delight by the New Zealanders. Lets hope the second test match at the Basin Reserve is just as compelling.....Can't Wait!!!

  • rocket123 on November 29, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    I was following this match uninterrupted on cricinfo.com. It definitely showed that the test match is the best cricket where you can witness true ability of a batsman and a bowler. Disappointed a bit that Pakistan lost but glad that the match had a great touch of rollercoaster. I just want to see Umar Akmal showing his batting class against Australia thrashing them all over the place with his skills, finesse and solidity and Shane Bond bundling Australians with pace. I hope they both succeed against Australians and bring honors for their countries. Wish both Unar Akmal and Shane Bond best of luck and believe me that everyone would be cheering for you two when you face hollow Australians who are best when facing mediocrity.

  • banglafan on November 29, 2009, 3:16 GMT

    Mr Siddhart, you brought out the best things that came out in this test. Let the failures like batting collapses fade into the background. This test should be remembered for its stellar individual performances, edge-of-the-seat excitements, ups-and-down moments and finally your poetry in motion. Two things : expecting great things from Umar, and we want Misbah-ul Haq back in the test team urgenty.

  • BabishMohan on November 29, 2009, 3:04 GMT

    Indeed this was a good test match and watching it along with other tests/ODIs in parallel there are a set of new/relatively new players who are there to stay for next 8-10 years, Adrian Barath,Umar Akmal,Masakadza,JP Duminy,Shakib Al Hasan,Ed Morgan,Ross Taylor and also with good fast bowlers back in action for every team test cricket will see better contests compared to last 1-2 years.

  • zak123kaif on November 29, 2009, 2:41 GMT

    Certainly this was one of the finest test of this year as all 3 results was possible even in the last session.test cricket needs more matches like this ti reignite itself in mind of fans.With AUS-WI encounter is most likely to become a mismatch,lets hope that SA-ENG test series will come close and both teams will take it to a live wire.

  • NishathP on November 29, 2009, 2:18 GMT

    Oh how much I missed this format. Test cricket is so refreshing to see. I'm a purist and I absolutely loved this game, a riveting contest. As cliche as the phrase sounds, Test cricket was the real winner today. Hats off to both these teams!

  • Paul_M_NZ on November 29, 2009, 0:12 GMT

    @ putrevus. Its easy to praise Sri Lanka's batters for scoring 760 for 7 in Ahmedabad, but the fact is these are different conditions mate. If you watched the game you would see that Guptil and Flynn got out to great deliveries by Aameer in the second innings. Taylor was run out, and Fulton got a bad decision. In the first innings NZ scored 400. The conditions didn't give Aamer the wickets, but allowed him the opportunity. He exploited the conditions well.

    Bond, Martin and O'Brian also did the same on the last day to Pakistan. Sure there were one or two poor shots played, but what match doesn't have that? The fact is the batters may have got away with those shots in other conditions but they were made to look silly on this pitch. And if you think Pakistan's tail is week you obviously missed the recent ODI in Abu Dhabi where they scored a record 9th wicket partnership.

  • jermp on November 28, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    @ putrevus: Who cares about the strength or weakness of the batting line up? The game was alive even in the final session, and the entertainment value was there. What is the point in criticizing the batting line ups when both teams had a few successes and failures. Both NZ and Pakistan are hit and miss, sometimes playing really well, sometimes... Awful. But that is what made this game so good, that both teams had their ups and downs and that we got a result. Good game to be watching, regardless of who you were supporting.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on November 28, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    well done pakistan and new zealand for giving us such enthralling entertainment and for reminding us that there is more to life and cricket than the interminable and tedious shenanigans of the BCCI and their cohorts - the ACB, SACB and the ECB.

  • duthu on November 28, 2009, 20:56 GMT

    Why don't you give it up Mr. Monga ? This test match was full of mediocrity, with both batting line ups full of no-names who will forever be no-names in test cricket. Add to that the great Pakistani fielding and yes it was the "test cricket at its best".

    And yes, India finally hosted SL on "FLAT TRACKS" ?? A certain Mr. Sreesanth was ripping apart batting line up of SL with 3 batsmen averaging 50+ on so called "FLAT TRACKS", ending the match on 4th day and yet he doesn't get a mention. But Bond taking out Khurram Manzoor, Arafat and Malik on helpful tracks is finest display of fast bowling ? Or Asif/Aamer taking out pretenders like Flynn is worth swooning ?

  • jackiethepen on November 28, 2009, 20:56 GMT

    Why knock other Tests to prove a point? Test matches aren't judged by whether the batsmen and bowlers are in the top 10 or whatever. Great games are when they are fought fiercely, have tremendous ups and downs, high moments and gritty efforts. It's when you are excited and can't wait, and keep checking the wickets if you can't see the game. I thought the Ashes were terrific this year. The matches ebbed and flowed, first one team was on top, then the other. Although Australia had the most centurions etc. they lost the Ashes. The last game at the Oval was a classic because all Australia had to do was draw. But England held its nerve on a difficult pitch. The excitement was nearly unbearable. That has to be Test cricket at its best - all to play for in the last game of a Five Test Series.

    I thought the New Zealand v England 2008 was also a very much maligned (by the media) but very exciting Series. Perhaps the media is more than a little jaded?

  • rohan024 on November 28, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    Its a real shame for world cricket and for NZ in particular, that Shane Bond didn't play international cricket for 18 months. No matter what, cricket can't afford to loose players like Shane Bond. There are not many bowlers like Bond for whom you turn on the TV set to watch them bowl. What a bowler!!!!

  • themandible on November 28, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    putrevus - have you for one instant thought that bowlers get wickets? batsmen don't get themselves out? and as for 3 number 11s, aamer is hardly an 11, and wouldn't you rather have the three best seamers you can have rather than lesser bowlers who can bat a bit? i suppose you think the tests between india and sri lanka and aus and wi were better because those teams (except wi) have top orders who can bat? the point he's making is it was an even pitch where application (taylor & vettori, akmal in the second inn, the fast bowlers) was rewarded, aggression came off (akmal 1st inns) and had more twists and turns than a south island mountain pass. are you effectively suggesting that only a test between say australia and south africa can be world class? i think a re-read of the article is in order.

  • Pragsl on November 28, 2009, 19:25 GMT

    nice article really.... but still i may not say or see this test as the best test of the year....... winning is not the only best...... the one between england and australia, where the result was draw. i would love to rate that test the best one... one team was struggling to take wickets, while the other teams tailenders james anderson and swann and panesar saved the match....

  • Down_the_Line on November 28, 2009, 18:33 GMT

    Superb Article !! Captures the essence of delight in Test Cricket and the Desperation of game lovers for such good games, for REAL game lovers, nothing beats test matches where fierce competition,ploys,characters,emotion,twists, balancing acts...etc are on... So, of all, it is the current and upcoming players/administrators that need to realise the value of the great game and stop making stupid decisions that harm Test Cricket... Let the better taste prevail......

  • Eddie74 on November 28, 2009, 18:02 GMT

    Well done Sidharth - great article. Akmal's batting was a joy to watch while the kiwi seamers just kept going in the final session when it seemed Pakistan were cruising for victory. It was a great test pitch - scores of 641/8 and 500/7 in reply are an absolute snooze - give the bowlers an even chance and you'll get an audience. Long live test cricket!! And go the blackcaps!

  • Coobair on November 28, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    Nice Article! I watched most of the TEST Match LIVE on TEN SPORTS, and followed rest on cricinfo. I was thrilled to see BOND getting a 5-wicket haul. Nice to see a wicket that helped fast bowlers. O'Brein bowled well but it was a match which will be remembered for Akmal's superb display on debut & for the MAN who has the License to THRILL- the name on BOND- SHANE BOND!

  • jatin17 on November 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Nice article, you are probably right this is the test of the year and gonna remain. We should thank both the teams for providing such a high quality entertainment ! I think New-zealand and South-Africa are the only two nations (srilanka for some extent) where can test matches like this happen. I am too, believer that the contest should be even between bat and ball, and those two countries only care to provide pitches like that. I am looking forward to next test of this series, I am supporting newzealand.

  • putrevus on November 28, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    how can it be test cricket at its finest when two teams whose top orders can't bat for a lick, this test was close because of the ineptitude of both batting line ups.

    Actually it was a disgraceful display of batting by both teams openers. pakistan has huge tail, if they intend to win any matches they better have some body in lower order who cant bat they have 3 number 11s who are batting up order because this team is so wrongly constituted.

    only 3 batsmen in pakistan batting showed they skills and technique to bat overseas.others are just Flat Track Bully who cant bat when ball does move a bit.

    this article didn't even address any short comings of both teams instead is praising their lack of talent and application.

  • HenkCornetto on November 28, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Great Article! Right on! This really was the first test in a long long time where I was excited to go to cricinfo in the morning and see what the score was. It could have gone either way.. This was a test worthy of the word quality, it may not have given the quanteties we are sadly getting used to but this is what I (we) want: exciting good cricket!

    I must admit I was looking for Afridi in the lineup?

  • mykuhl on November 28, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    It was not only the test of the year, it was one of the greatest tests I've seen in my lifetime. It is not without precedence to give the man of the match award at a test match in New Zealand the man of the match award, and I think that it would not have been injustice for Tom Tamati to get it for this fantastic surface.

    If a bowler bowled in the right places, there was plenty there for them, but if they strayed, the bounce was normally true enough, and the outfield fast enough that the batsman got full value for their shots. This game was a true test for the bowlers, a true test for the batsmen and a true test for the fielders.

    It also had it's moments of intrigue. Why Peter Fulton not challenge his dismissal? Why did Yousif not try and keep Chris Martin on strike? A truly great test needs to have all these. The only thing that it lacked was a session or two dominated by spin.

    We often have to put up with poor test matches, lets celebrate it when great ones come along.

  • Praveen_R on November 28, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    Nice article Mr.Sidarth. However you got to give it to the Sri Lanka Pakistan test match as the best one played so far this year.

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  • Praveen_R on November 28, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    Nice article Mr.Sidarth. However you got to give it to the Sri Lanka Pakistan test match as the best one played so far this year.

  • mykuhl on November 28, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    It was not only the test of the year, it was one of the greatest tests I've seen in my lifetime. It is not without precedence to give the man of the match award at a test match in New Zealand the man of the match award, and I think that it would not have been injustice for Tom Tamati to get it for this fantastic surface.

    If a bowler bowled in the right places, there was plenty there for them, but if they strayed, the bounce was normally true enough, and the outfield fast enough that the batsman got full value for their shots. This game was a true test for the bowlers, a true test for the batsmen and a true test for the fielders.

    It also had it's moments of intrigue. Why Peter Fulton not challenge his dismissal? Why did Yousif not try and keep Chris Martin on strike? A truly great test needs to have all these. The only thing that it lacked was a session or two dominated by spin.

    We often have to put up with poor test matches, lets celebrate it when great ones come along.

  • HenkCornetto on November 28, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Great Article! Right on! This really was the first test in a long long time where I was excited to go to cricinfo in the morning and see what the score was. It could have gone either way.. This was a test worthy of the word quality, it may not have given the quanteties we are sadly getting used to but this is what I (we) want: exciting good cricket!

    I must admit I was looking for Afridi in the lineup?

  • putrevus on November 28, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    how can it be test cricket at its finest when two teams whose top orders can't bat for a lick, this test was close because of the ineptitude of both batting line ups.

    Actually it was a disgraceful display of batting by both teams openers. pakistan has huge tail, if they intend to win any matches they better have some body in lower order who cant bat they have 3 number 11s who are batting up order because this team is so wrongly constituted.

    only 3 batsmen in pakistan batting showed they skills and technique to bat overseas.others are just Flat Track Bully who cant bat when ball does move a bit.

    this article didn't even address any short comings of both teams instead is praising their lack of talent and application.

  • jatin17 on November 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Nice article, you are probably right this is the test of the year and gonna remain. We should thank both the teams for providing such a high quality entertainment ! I think New-zealand and South-Africa are the only two nations (srilanka for some extent) where can test matches like this happen. I am too, believer that the contest should be even between bat and ball, and those two countries only care to provide pitches like that. I am looking forward to next test of this series, I am supporting newzealand.

  • Coobair on November 28, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    Nice Article! I watched most of the TEST Match LIVE on TEN SPORTS, and followed rest on cricinfo. I was thrilled to see BOND getting a 5-wicket haul. Nice to see a wicket that helped fast bowlers. O'Brein bowled well but it was a match which will be remembered for Akmal's superb display on debut & for the MAN who has the License to THRILL- the name on BOND- SHANE BOND!

  • Eddie74 on November 28, 2009, 18:02 GMT

    Well done Sidharth - great article. Akmal's batting was a joy to watch while the kiwi seamers just kept going in the final session when it seemed Pakistan were cruising for victory. It was a great test pitch - scores of 641/8 and 500/7 in reply are an absolute snooze - give the bowlers an even chance and you'll get an audience. Long live test cricket!! And go the blackcaps!

  • Down_the_Line on November 28, 2009, 18:33 GMT

    Superb Article !! Captures the essence of delight in Test Cricket and the Desperation of game lovers for such good games, for REAL game lovers, nothing beats test matches where fierce competition,ploys,characters,emotion,twists, balancing acts...etc are on... So, of all, it is the current and upcoming players/administrators that need to realise the value of the great game and stop making stupid decisions that harm Test Cricket... Let the better taste prevail......

  • Pragsl on November 28, 2009, 19:25 GMT

    nice article really.... but still i may not say or see this test as the best test of the year....... winning is not the only best...... the one between england and australia, where the result was draw. i would love to rate that test the best one... one team was struggling to take wickets, while the other teams tailenders james anderson and swann and panesar saved the match....

  • themandible on November 28, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    putrevus - have you for one instant thought that bowlers get wickets? batsmen don't get themselves out? and as for 3 number 11s, aamer is hardly an 11, and wouldn't you rather have the three best seamers you can have rather than lesser bowlers who can bat a bit? i suppose you think the tests between india and sri lanka and aus and wi were better because those teams (except wi) have top orders who can bat? the point he's making is it was an even pitch where application (taylor & vettori, akmal in the second inn, the fast bowlers) was rewarded, aggression came off (akmal 1st inns) and had more twists and turns than a south island mountain pass. are you effectively suggesting that only a test between say australia and south africa can be world class? i think a re-read of the article is in order.