Great draw – in no other sport does that make much sense

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.

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11 Appeals

  1. Hey ho. I mean, finishing with the scores level happens in loads of sports, like:

    Football (0-0)
    Rugby Union (3-3)
    Rugby League (26-26)

    and of course, cricket (724-724).

    And if you are one of the 99.9999999% of the population that thinks that sport comprises playing football and watching football, you might assume that all of these are exactly the same. Just draws, nothing to see here. So if that is you, please feel free to continue to be disappointed by your version of the world.

  2. Only caught the end, but it was thrilling stuff. Still, how do you score almost 600 and be within balls of losing?

  3. And nearly 100,000 saw this play out at the ground over 5 days, according to reports. In India. Where they say tests are dead. They’ve clearly been reading this website. A triumph!

  4. Those damn curators! Rolled out the pitch just enough so Sachin comes close to a century, while Ashwin gets it. And then sprinkled just the right amount of water so the test ends in a tie. Bastards.

  5. Credit to the crap batting from both sides which made this game so memorable.. A lot of my fellow Indians abusing Ashwin for the last 2 balls forgetting what he did during the first 4 and a half days.. Great test match.. Loved it..

  6. Firstly, I’ve got no idea what the “fellow Indians” are on about. There was no way he would have made it back. The most he could have done was go hard for the second and hope for a fumble somewhere (as pointed out by other people elsewhere), and I suppose it would have been odd not to have done so had the series been at stake, but in these circumstances it’s hardly something to get worked up about.

    But (as far as the match goes), let’s not kid ourselves, the first four days were pretty dull and a good fifth day doesn’t mean the entire test was genius.

    • To a country that last had a clean sweep more than 20 years ago, this is a big deal.

    • He wouldn’t have made it back, big deal or not.

    • Very rarely are close finish matches genius for all four or five days. Edgbaston 2005 a rare exception to that rule.

      Even the great reversal matches (Headingley 1981, Eden Gardens 2001) looked like relatively dull one-sided matches until the reversal started to unfold.

      And as for the “we bloomin’ murdered ’em” test match that ended similarly in Zimbabwe, who remembers anything about it other than Bumble’s “lego-shriek-equivalent” outburst?

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