Run chases are exciting. Why?
Some people think that run chases are exciting because there are fours and sixes, a target and an eventual victor. These people brought us one-day cricket in all its forms. These people just don’t get it.
Run chases are exciting because we care what happens.
Test cricket provides a plot
Twenty20 and 50-over cricket are basically ways of engineering a run chase without all that mucking about in the first innings. A run chase is guaranteed.
Unfortunately, there are no short cuts. It’s like a fight scene or a car chase in a bad action film. Shorn of context, it’s just stuff happening. Who gives a shit?
In a good film, the characters are introduced and a plot unfolds. You know why people want to achieve what they want to achieve and if done correctly, you should care whether they succeed or not.
Test cricket isn’t exactly like this, but there are similarities. The players are characters and over the long sessions, we get to know them. By having two innings a side, we also get to develop a narrative. It’s not scripted, but it’s all the more exciting for that.
Today, India chased down 216 and reached their target with one wicket to spare after 58.4 overs. Why was that better than chasing down the same total in a Twenty20 match for the loss of the same number of wickets?
There are about a million and one reasons. The main one is context.