Have You Ever Watched A Test All The Way Through?

A hypothetical: Let’s say you’re either unemployed or wealthy enough that you don’t have to work. And then, let’s say there’s a Test match between reasonably interesting teams (like India and Australia). Assume there are no competing demands on your time. Would you really sit through all 30 hours of cricket?

I’m thinking about this because Gavaskar and Bhogle were talking recently about how scintillating the Chennai Test was — more than 1,200 runs scored, some 30-odd wickets, and an innings (from Dhoni) that will likely go down in the history books. And yet, even during that supposedly amazing Test, there were long stretches of nothing happening. Take, for example, the very end, when Sachin Tendulkar hit two consecutive sixes and then decided to play a maiden over with only one run left to win. As I watched, I thought about the absurdity of the situation: India, with eight wickets and all of time available, keeping everyone waiting.

The cricket fan’s standard defense against the “nothing ever happens in Test cricket” critique is to say, “Well, are you really sure nothing’s happening?” On Day 2 of the the second Test, Pujara and Vijay batted an entire session and scored a handful of runs — something like less than two runs an over. To the untrained eye, this was cricket at its worst — two very capable batsmen tiring out mildly competent bowling. But a cricket fan would say the pair was in reality setting up the rest of the day, particularly the post-Tea session, when they plundered their way to five runs an over.

Perhaps, but confess, all ye fans: Did you watch the morning session through without getting bored? Or did you do as I do — put the cricket in the background, browse the Internet, and occasionally check in with the game?



13 thoughts on “Have You Ever Watched A Test All The Way Through?

  1. awbraae says:

    I was once on ACC (a temporary injury benefit in New Zealand) during a test between India and New Zealand. Saw almost all of that game, but watched might be an overstatement, given I was in a codeine induced haze.

  2. Gareth says:

    Are you talking about live at the ground or on TV? I think there’s a significant difference. I’ve watched multiple tests at the ground, but on tv I often multitask with my phone or laptop.

  3. Did it quite a lot in my teens, when I didn’t have a laptop of smartphone to distract me. The last time I remember doing it is India’s previous home series vs Aus – hooked up the laptop to a monitor so I could watch the match while browsing the net. But I was there for every ball.

  4. tulipnandu says:

    I guess though I cannot sit all the way through the test match partly due to the time difference but its still the most exciting form of cricket and only a avid cricket fan would understand the first hour with miserly runs scored can understand. Test cricket is not for the masses its for the classes….

  5. tracer007 says:

    During the recent Chepauk Test, I was at the stadium and watched every single ball of the first two days. Despite it being my first experience of watching a Test in a stadium, I never felt bored or distracted, compared to watching on TV or following it online. Too many distractions in the latter experience.

  6. Samir Chopra says:

    I watched four days of the Kingston 1997 test at the ground. As a kid, on holidays I watched many Tests for days on end.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      I think if I could get myself to a ground — though not one in India, mind you — I’d enjoy the scene thoroughly. To me, though, the best shots of cricket grounds are the ones that have open fields next to the oval — lie back on a blanket, read a little, watch a little…I’m trying to wonder if cricket is unique in that it encourages mind-wandering and day-dreaming. (Of course, this may just be my personal way of watching cricket, but unless something truly absorbing is going on, I like just putting cricket in the background.)

      • Samir Chopra says:

        Rohan: You might like sitting behind the bowler’s arm at a good ground. It’s fantastic. Nothing quite like it. At the SCG, all day long, little groups of spectators would stand next to the sight-screen, beers in hand, and watch the game from there.I did it every time I went there. My next blog post at the Cordon will be on this.

  7. Chris Smith says:

    Living in Japan 20+ years ago, an English friend and I chuckled over the strange practice of buying tickets by the hour for the traditional and lengthy Japanese musical theatre ‘noh’. The analogy to Test cricket then struck us – buying a ticket for just part of the performance, perhaps even for a day when the match had already finished. Which is odder: watching a match all the way through, or paying to see part of the match, but not its outcome?

  8. live score says:

    Well I have seen a number of test matches all the way through.But I think that the popularity of the test cricket has atrophied over the last decade mainly because of the introduction of the T20 cricket and the more attention of ICC towards limited formats of the game as compared to Test cricket so the atmosphere is not that once it used to be in the test matches.

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