Reports of its death, based on the Test cricket of the past three weeks, have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, based on the Test cricket since the mid 1990's, Test cricket is unlikely to die. If one man can be held responsible, look in Mark Taylor's direction. His mantra of playing matches for a result was based on the belief that the approach produced better cricket for spectators and players. When administrators legislated West Indian tactics from the game, the deceit of slowing play down so that four fast bowlers could cripple a day's play was removed and the opportunity for a Shane Warne or a Murali was opened.
Test cricket has produced more results in the last fifteen years than at any time in its history post timeless Tests and uncovered pitches. When the cycle of dominance of one team is broken, it also produces oddities - unexpected twists and turns as players lift from being brow beaten and into self belief.
At Mumbai in the last week, 1153 runs were scored in four days of cricket on a pitch imported from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Twenty two unlucky fellows lost their jobs at a bowler abattoir, usually because they tired of the slaughter.
On the last day, runs were still scored by wickets tumbled aplenty, as India and the West Indies played out the closest draw that 2019 Test matches have yet thrown up. None can ever be closer, with India needing one run, the West Indies one wicket and the last wicket of the day falling after its final ball, as Ashwin was run out trying to return from a deadlock holiday. This was a match that was dead and predictable after the West Indies made a million in their first innings and India replied making a million less 108. At stumps, West Indies were batting comfortably toward an extended net session.
Someone forgot to tell the Cricket Gods and didn't they strike with punitive vengeance on Day 5.
|Samuels stumped for 0|
The tail surrendered meekly - Ashwin taking nine for the match to go with his lower order century and India's improbable victory which may have been in Dhoni's dreams when he woke, loomed as easily possible.
|Kohil made 63 in the chase|
Five days of cricket came down to one ball, a bowler, a batsman and the skills of the fieldsman.
As for those that want to write of death, the dirty dancing they intend for Test cricket's wake will have to be wall flowered for the time being. If you can't wait, pop back down that worm hole. Ken Barrington and Bob Simpson are waiting for you there.