India’s two Test match series against Australia points to the fact that the Test match cricket is far from dead. A lot of it has to do with the quality of cricketers on either side, but some of the credit needs to be given to the manner in which the pitches have behaved in the series as well.
I write this even as Australia try hard to level the Test match series at Bangalore on the fourth day of the game. For the umpteenth time in these nine days, I cannot help but think what it might have been had the series been a four-Test match series. To say the least, an exciting one.
On paper, India would have gone into the series as favourites, but the danger of a two-Test match series is that it barely allows the teams to make comebacks and disallows the match-ups to flower out into meaningful contests – as has been the case here.
And yet, one look at the manner in which the games have progressed, there could not have been a better billboard for Test match cricket. Give it the rightful pitches and conditions and the games could still get exciting and meaningful. Yes, that, to me is the catchphrase – meaningful.
In this day and age of the administrators not having enough cricket, the quality of play and spectator interest seems to be going in opposite directions and adversely affecting the sport in general. And during such times, if a game like the one at Mohali and even to an extent, the ongoing one at Bangalore can be cloned across series, it could just provide an injection or two to the flailing format.
This brings me to the reason behind the manner in which the matches have been fought so closely. For one, there cannot be too much denying that although India is a better team given all the factors, the difference in the quality between the two sides is hardly monumental. However, most importantly, the reason behind the interesting contests is the manner in which the pitches have played in both the games.
At Mohali, two innings had been completed in the first three days and the remaining two were played in the next couple of days to make it interesting. Bangalore seems to be going the same way. If one were to include the fact that both the teams do not possess bowling line-ups which can be described as the best in the world – thanks to retirements and injuries – it will be easy to conclude that Mohali and Bangalore could well be role-models for the manner in which surfaces around the world should behave.
What has been heartening to watch is that the administrators world over have been waking up to the need to produce pitches that assist both, the batsmen and the bowlers, and in turn ensure that results are obtained on the fifth day. In a worst case scenario, exciting draws could make the audiences not leave their seats before the result has been declared.
Even in Pakistan’s tour of England, there were six Test matches played and all of them had results – probably due to a combination of various factors. But the best comes from Sri Lanka, where high-scoring drawn games have usually been the bane of the game. In the recent times, the Tests at Sri Lanka have seen more incidents of results, including the 1-1 drawn series against India.
One hopes that the trend continues and the tracks around the world continue to assist in providing some entertaining cricket.
About the Author
Written by Suneer Chowdhary
A cricket-aspirant at the age of 12, tried my hand at pace bowling, but those were the days of India aspiring for spinners! So, chose the next best option to profess my love towards cricket; became a cricket writer instead