If you watched the final overs of England’s feat of escapology against South Africa, you already know why Test cricket can never die.
We’ve said it before and we’ll happily say it again. Test cricket can offer something that no other sport can. It offers more than any other form of cricket offers too. You can’t have a tense hour in a Twenty20 match because it’s more than a third of the match. You’ve barely set the scene.
In Test cricket, everyone’s got more vested in it. The players have been working their arses off for nearly five days and they want all that effort and all those emotions to come to something.
If you saw Dale Steyn’s celebration when he dismissed Kevin Pietersen on day four, that was quite something; that was a fast bowler on the verge of combustion, so full of adrenaline-fuelled power that he could have towed the continents back into place to reform Pangaea.
Miraculously, that wasn’t the most emotional wicket celebration in this match. Morne Morkel went one better when he dismissed Ian Bell. His wasn’t a celebration borne of a surfeit of bowling hostility, like Steyn’s. It was joy. Joy and maybe quite a bit of relief as well.
The effect was magnified by Morkel’s swarming team mates. This was emotion that you literally cannot buy. This wasn’t about winning a prize, because it was only the ninth wicket. It was about 11 men putting everything into a five-day cricket match and finally getting something to show for it.
A little later, Graham Onions survived the final ball of the match and 11 different men had something to show for putting everything into a five-day cricket match.
This is why we watch cricket. We watch it so that we can see two groups of people, who really give a shit, going at it with all their might.