We’ve always been of the opinion that a Test can last up to five days and that if all of that allotted time is required, things haven’t really panned out correctly.
Others see it differently. We often see comments of the oeuvre ‘a Test is supposed to last five days’ in criticism of turning pitches, such as that being used for the third Test between India and South Africa. It seems to be one of the fundamental philosophical differences defining how you view low scoring games.
India were bowled out for 215 in their first innings. Not a great score, but within the bounds of normality to our eyes. Maybe it’s a generational thing with younger cricketer followers accustomed to 560-5 declarations seeing such a total as freakishly abnormal.
This pitch is certainly doing a lot, but without wishing to unnecessarily retread ground, let’s wait and see how the match develops before drawing conclusions on its quality.
We will ask one question, however. Which online scorecard most commands your attention – the one where you’re waiting to see whether someone’s made their double hundred yet, or the one where a bunch of wickets is liable to have fallen?
We could write about Mitchell Johnson’s Test retirement. We could write about some actual cricket. Or we could publish some tweets in which Sourav Ganguly looks frighteningly sickly.
Hey Sourav, do an impression of a zombie.
Now do an impression of a ghost.
Note Murali’s T-shirt as well. Murali loves cricket so bloody much, he’s actually gone and got the T-shirt.
Murali’s the best.
(We’ll do something on Johnson tomorrow.)
Pics taken from Virender Sehwag’s Twitter account.
In our book, all pitches are acceptable unless they result in boring cricket. For what it’s worth, our book is entitled The Book of Unarguable Facts.
Some dude in Mohali has curated a cracker (curators curate, yes?) for the first Test between India and South Africa. Flat on a seamer’s length and scuffed to buggery on a spinner’s length it delivers exactly what a Test pitch should – a tough challenge for the touring side.
Dean Elgar wasn’t happy with it, even though he took four wickets on the first day. “I don’t think it’s a very good cricket wicket,” he said. “It is my personal opinion. It is a result wicket.”
Interesting that Elgar equates result wickets with not-very-good wickets – for what are cricket matches about if not attaining a result? It seems the myth of the ‘good’ cricket pitch still persists.
There’s a common belief that green pitches are fair because they subsequently flatten out, while turning pitches are unfair because they deteriorate further. But is this the case? We need only review a week’s worth of Test history to find at least two examples where it hasn’t really worked out like that.
The first, second and third innings of the third Test between Pakistan and England featured escalating scores, while India are now 125-2 in their second innings, which hardly implies a making-a-mockery-of-our-noble-sport minefield.
Play on turning pitches, play on greentops, play on pock-marked concrete if you want – but only judge the quality of the pitch at the match’s conclusion.
Virender Sehwag retired from a fairly broad range of formats today. It’s about as close as you ever get to a proper retirement in this day and age when the Ghosts of Legends Past can regularly be seen haunting cricket grounds throughout the world.
We have pretty much no time to write about this at length, which is a shame, because considering he was only a batsman, Sehwag was really rather fun. Few players have possessed his ability to transform bowlers into smeared-panted long-hop machines and that ability warrants comment.
Sehwag liked to try and hit every ball for four. That was pretty much his gameplan and the fact that he succeeded for so long with such a pig-headedly flawed approach speaks loudly of his talent.
To finish off, here’s a fairly random selection of Sehwag articles, several of which will reappear in the list of related articles generated immediately beneath.
They even managed to lose three wickets to Albie Morkel, who apparently still exists. Confusingly, with age he’s starting to look like Morne Morkel’s younger, chubbier brother. Guess the fat pushes out the wrinkles. There could also be some sort of Dorian Gray style arrangement which sees team-mate Chris Morris taking on the role of the painting because the seamer looks a good 15 years older than he really is.
When we switched on, all of the players were sitting around doing nothing during what should have been South Africa’s run-chase. This was because the crowd were busying themselves peppering the outfield with bottles. With the boundaries being so far in, there was zero chance of them hitting any of the players, but they stopped the game anyway.
Presumably the fans were doing this in the hope that it would somehow reverse time and give the home team a second chance to set a decent score. Or maybe they were doing it as a favour to the broadcasters, allowing them to squeeze in the requisite number of ad breaks in what looked like being a rather short match.
Either way, time continued conventionally – albeit perhaps a little slower – and 92 remained the target. When South Africa reached 70-3, another bottle shower saw the players walk off.
Imagine caring that much about a Twenty20 match. Maybe they were just irritated that they couldn’t make beer snakes because the bottles didn’t tesselate.