Making sense of Test victories and defeats

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The Test world is a baffling place right now. There’s more uncertainty than when the cat finds himself equidistant from some food and an open door.

Australia are worse at home than they used to be, but India are worse away than they have been in recent times, so what does an Australian win mean?

India’s batsmen collapsed. Are they old? Are Australia’s young bowlers really good? Or did the pitch deteriorate? After all, Australia collapsed too. Then again, they often do at the minute, most notably against South Africa – although that’s hardly surprising because the Saffers have such a strong pace attack.

Or do they? Pitches there have been greener than a seasick parrot in recent times, but the bowlers haven’t outdone their opposite numbers. South Africa drew 1-1 with Australia and are currently 1-1 with Sri Lanka as well. Maybe it’s the batting that’s letting them down. Maybe it isn’t.

Sri Lanka themselves were comfortably beaten by Pakistan. Most people concluded that Sri Lanka were struggling, but maybe Pakistan are amazing.

The good news is that Sri Lanka play another Test in South Africa, while India will play three more Tests in Australia, which should help clarify some of this.

That bloody two-Test series between South Africa and Australia is where all this uncertainty came from. It raised questions and answered none. In cat terms, it added a comfy bed to the food-and-open-door situation, leaving us in a pain-faced, miaowing, triangular limbo.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. The scheduling geniuses are due to inflict similar uncertainty on England in March, when we play a two test “series” against Sri Lanka.

    I put the word “series” in inverted commas.

    Two tests is not a series in my book. A brace of tests, granted, but not a series.

    Two test thingies, conceptually, stink. Even if the individual tests within the thingy are mint.

    1. Two and three test series might be rubbish, in theory, but England play Pakistan, SL, WI and SA in the next nine months or so, because of them. By the end of it, we’ll definitely know whether England deserve the number one mantle or not. Who needs a test championship when you pit nearly all the main sides against the number one team in such a way? I can’t wait. The only regret is not to be in SL for the Galle test. Pure heaven.

  2. When I saw the words “uncertainty” and “cat” in the opening paragraph, I was steeling myself for another Schrodinger joke. Good on you for resisting it.

    1. Surely we all can get behind animals being conspicuously indifferent to existence and/or cricket.

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