Getting Used To The Rhythms Of Test Matches In India

I confess, I confess! Last night, I could have watched Day 1 of India v. New Zealand long past my bedtime (I’m a night owl), but, instead, I put on the latest episode of Fringe and read my bedside reading material before dozing off.

So here’s a tough question: are Test matches in India boring? The evidence isn’t completely in on one side or the other; the last game was relatively boring for four days until Chris Martin showed up. Few people will forget the Laxman/Ishant Sharma Test against the Australians, or even the earlier game against South Africa that almost saw Hashim Amla rise to the heavens and shed his mortal coil.

No, but Tests in India start really, really slowly. That’s because the team that bats first wants to put up a big score — say, close to 500, over two days, and then they hope the other side will crumble under pressure. Sometimes they do, which is at least more interesting, and sometimes they don’t (see: first test, India v. New Zealand). When things align, you get a classic Indian Test match: the team batting last has to either survive a day’s play on an absolutely crumbling pitch and/or chase a gettable target on, uh, an absolutely crumbling pitch.

But that means you’re basically saving up all your excitement for the last day’s play. And maybe that’s how things should work; Act 5 is when the mysteries are solved, and all the twists finally turned. This isn’t, however, the Western model, where teams tend to go neck-and-neck for a bit until one finally breaks free and conquers (or is this just a ridiculous generalization I’ve made?).

What do you think? Would you rather watch the Test rhythms of England/Australia, or in India? Do I have the distinctions right at all?

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One thought on “Getting Used To The Rhythms Of Test Matches In India

  1. DB, your observation is perfectly true. Test cricket’s fascination is the match being played out session by session and each team trying to dominate the other. Usually in India, you’re pretty much waiting for the final 2 sessions for something to happen.

    Primarily this is due to hapless preparation of pitches. I’ve read in a few articles that Indian curators are among the worst paid in pitch preparation compared to other countries. That could be one of the many reasons.

    Contrast this with the England/Pakistan or Australia/Pakistan series where every session counted. To watch a match for 5 days there needs to be see-saw effect.

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