Well, its an argument I’ve had many times with many people. Does a draw in a test match constitute something that we go “Argghhh!!!” about and is a result the ultimate requirement to define a good test match.
For that hypothesis to be true, there should be two conditions:
1. Results ensure there was a good test match.
2. Draws happen only when both the teams are not intent on winning.
Hypothesis 1: There are quite a few matches that come to mind. How many people sit and watch and drool over a classic Australia vs Bangladesh test match? Or for that matter the India vs Zimbabwe series where Ganguly scored a century of 262 balls before being famously axed from the team. How many people watched every ball of Hayden thrashing hapless Zimbabwe bowlers en-route to a “world record” 380? Such encounters guarantee a result but do not necessarily ensure good entertaining test cricket.
Hypothesis 2: Matches that spring to my mind: India vs Australia, Adelaide 2008 as Sehwag showed with a 150 that he had the temperament to play by the situation. Lords 2007, where Dhoni held on with the tail as India sneaked out a last wicket draw, eventually winning the series 1-0. Sydney 2004, Steven Waugh’s swansong innings as he held on, with a fired up Kumble posing questions, to force a draw on the last day of the match with a fighting 80 and save the series. Ashes 2005, third test, Old Trafford, where Shane Warne, Brett Lee and McGrath hung on taking their time at the crease to ensure a tight and close draw. Its tempting to add India vs Aus, Bangalore 2008 to the list. Two teams, one weakened by the loss of great players who redefined cricket over the turn of the century and the other with similar greats on the verge of retirement with questions being asked over their presence in the team. No one expected that both the teams would fight without giving an inch to the other team. The match was a draw not because no one wanted to lose, but simply because both wanted to win equally badly and refused to lose when their chances ran out.
Matches like these are amazing advertisements for test cricket and will ensure for long that test cricket remains the ultimate test for any cricketer.
Just can’t wait for the next match to start at Mohali.