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Stuart and Ash

Gordon Greenidge 214 not out

Is murderously fast scoring really the way to approach Test cricket?

Alex Bowden

Comments: 5 | Text size: A | A
The scoreboard tells the story of a remarkable win, England v West Indies, Lord's, July 3, 1984
Get him a meat cleaver already © Getty Images

Ash: I don't know if batting gets any better than that, Stu.


Ash: Stu? Stu, are you all right?

Stuart: (Muffled speech)

Ash: Step away from the battenburg, Stu. No one can understand you.

Stuart: But I need it.

Ash: You don't need it, Stu. You're better than that. Be strong.

Stuart: But it makes me feel better.

Ash: You don't need battenburg to make you feel better. That's not what food's for.

Stuart: It's all I've got left.

Ash: Just calm down, Stu. Give me the battenburg.

(Sounds of a scuffle)

Stuart: (Sighs deeply and mournfully)

Ash: Here you go. Take a sip of water. Take a sip of water and tell me what's wrong.

Stuart: They're ruining it, Ash. They're ruining Test cricket.

Ash: Who's ruining it, Stu?

Stuart: The players. Modern players. They're making a mockery of the sacrosanct nature of Test cricket.

Ash: This was astonishing stuff, Stu; one of the best passages of play I've ever seen. I don't know how you can say that.

Stuart: It wasn't Test cricket though, Ash. It was a travesty. Gordon Greenidge violated Test cricket's traditions doing what he just did.

Ash: What he did was cricket at its very best: 214 off 242 balls with a leg injury. It was an absolute triumph.

Stuart: It was barbarism. It was so uncultured.

Ash: Were you watching the same innings as me? Did you see some of the shots he played? It was jaw-dropping.

Stuart: Don't you see, Ash? It's not what Test cricket's about. Test cricket's about patience and watchfulness and creating something of beauty.

Ash: I've got to disagree with you there, Stu. Test cricket's about beating the opposition within five days.

Stuart: Well, I pity you if that's the primitive way you look at the game. Does no one value aesthetics and tradition any more?

Ash: All the finest art has meaning, Stu. In a Test match the meaning comes from two teams trying to beat each other and the different situations that throws up.

Stuart: Well, I feel like throwing up.

Ash: That'll be the battenburg, Stu. Don't blame Greenidge - he's done nothing wrong. In fact, he's done everything right. He's shrugged at his injury, defied and conquered England, and he's beaten the clock as well. It's one of the great Test innings and one of the great Test victories. It was against all the odds. Greenidge didn't play that way to offend you. He played that way because it was the only way his team could win the match - and winning matches is what Test cricket's all about. The shots, the drama, the story - those are all by-products that add to the experience.

Stuart: Well if this silly fast scoring is the future of Test cricket, I want no part of it.

Ash: Who hit the fastest Test hundred, Stu?

Stuart: I neither know nor care, Ash, but I imagine it was this one.

Ash: It was Jack Gregory. In 1921. It took him 67 balls.

Stuart: Really?

Ash: Fast scoring's not a modern one-day cricket thing, Stu. It's not intrinsically wrong.

Stuart: Well, either way, I don't much care for those sorts of statistics.

Ash: Neither do I. When I've seen a team win after needing to make 342 in less than a day on a fifth-day pitch, I don't need a stat to tell me that it's a special achievement.

Stuart: I've had four battenburgs today.

Ash: That's a very special achievement, Stu.

RSS FeedAlex Bowden blogs at King Cricket.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Comments: 5 
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Posted by Tom on (December 20, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

@Noel Bernard Carr - presumably this conversation was set in 1984 when GG scored 214 at Lords which would have been before Viv's 100 in antigua (1986)

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 20, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

Just wanted to confirm that it was not Jack Gregory who scored the fastest test hundred.Sir Vivian Richards scored the fastest test century in 56 balls against England at Antigua in the 80's . I am not too sure the year . England team was lead by David Gower.

Posted by James on (December 20, 2011, 2:49 GMT)

I think Stu has in the back of his mind that if you can't score fast at least you don't behave as if you can. These fakes fear that even if they block they are going to get out. Hence the beauty of Jim Burke and Bill Lawry. They produce draws, and there are not enough of these these days. All these results are harrowing, not what cricket is supposed to be.

Posted by Alan on (December 19, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

Anyone else miss the good old days of Stu and Ash when Ash used to go on all the time about "Global Banking Incorporated sixers"? (e.g., I always used to find it amusingly inconsistent to see product placement and blatant flaunting of sponsors critcised in that way on ESPNcricinfo ...

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 19, 2011, 8:42 GMT)

For Stu only. Watch the current Pakistan vs Bangladesh, especially Pakistan's first innings.. that is of some beauty (cough!)

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