We previewed the Boxing Day Tests. We may as well take a look at what happened in them.
Australia v South Africa
Signs of an upturn for South Africa, who finally passed 200 for the first time in many attempts. Their second innings 204 all out was enough to secure defeat by an innings and 182 runs.
Top scorer for the Aussies was David Warner, who made his first hundred in almost three years and then made another one in the very same innings. He then squeezed in both a retired hurt and a dismissal without adding any further runs.
Speaking afterwards, Warner added to the rich tradition of batters talking up the bowling on days when they’ve made a ton by describing an Anrich Nortje spell as the fastest he’s ever faced.
To be fair to Warner, there were some stats about saying it was somewhere up there, so it wasn’t a total self-aggrandising fiction. He also said a few more specifically nice things about Nortje and the effort he always seems to put in. Even so, it’s funny how bowlers always seem to be at their most incredible when they don’t actually get the batter out. “You won’t believe how incredible that bowling that wasn’t good enough to dismiss me was,” is the message.
The third and final Test starts next week. Suffering South Africa fans might like to ponder the nature of an Ashes tour where there would still be three Tests’ worth of unravelling still to come. Three Tests may seem tough, but there’s only really time for mild fraying.
Pakistan v New Zealand
New Zealand’s first Test back in Pakistan moved rather more conventionally than England’s, even if the weight of scoring was similar.
Responding to Pakistan’s 438, the tourists made 612-9. It did however take them 163 overs to reach 500 where England reached that mark in 75.
That comparison is not to do New Zealand down in the slightest. This match was at a different ground for a start. It’s just an attempt to contextualise the rather bonkers thing that Ben Stokes’ men did a few weeks ago.
Bangladesh v India
We included this when previewing the Boxing Day Tests but it didn’t actually make it that far in the end. It was however the best match of the three, India staggering their way to a target of 145 for the loss of seven wickets.
They only got there thanks to an unbeaten 71-run partnership between Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin.
Of course Ashwin was there. Just of course. Immune to the pressure again. As we keep saying, R Ashwin is not like other people.
A few days after the match finished, Rishabh Pant apparently fell asleep at the wheel and totalled his car which then burst into flames. He had been travelling at “a lot of speed” according to the bus driver who helped drag him out. Pant has a few injuries but thankfully seems broadly okay.
Don’t drive tired, kids. Don’t drive quickly, kids. In fact don’t drive at all kids – wait until you’re adults and then take lessons and pass your test and all that.
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