It was a glorious and gleefully shambolic finish to the third Test between India and West Indies. West Indies were one wicket away from a tie, India one run away from a win. R Ashwin was run out going for what would have been the winning run and the match ended in a draw – but the Windies had chances in those closing overs too.
Our initial thought was that it would be boring if we repeated ourself about how a close Test match is generally superior to a close one-day or Twenty20 match. But then we thought, no, to hell with you. We’re incredibly boring in real life and we repeat ourself constantly. It’s our website and if we want to be as repetitive as the snatch of music on a DVD title menu, that’s our decision.
The closing overs of a Test match that’s in the balance
As a child, we loved Lego. We would spend five hours making an elaborate Lego spaceship the like of which had never been seen before. Sometimes, in attempting to secure an awkward piece towards the end of the construction process, we would inadvertently explode the whole damn thing. When this happened, we would make a sound.
The sound started low and quiet, slowly rose in both pitch and volume and culminated in an angry shriek. It was pretty foul. Anyone who heard that sound would have instantly known the emotion behind it. It was borne of the profound frustration you can only feel when you’ve spent bloody ages on something and then made a balls of it at the end.
Where are you going with this?
If there was Lego crumblage in the first few minutes of construction, we didn’t make the sound. Quite simply, you have to have invested time and effort in something in order to feel that level of emotion.
It doesn’t have to be a negative emotion. You’ll generally feel more pride over something you’ve slaved over than something you knocked up in five minutes.
The point is that having made an investment, you care more about the outcome. That is why a close Test match finish feels so electrifying to those who have followed proceedings from day one.