Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Match That Saved Test Cricket

Before this match concludes - before the joy of victory or the misery of defeat can color my judgement - I offer some thoughts on what this Test means for the future of the long-form game.

Women's Test cricket is in a bad way. In the past 5 years, just 4 Tests have been played, all of them between England and Australia; and you have to go all the way back to 2007 to find the last Test involving any of the other nations*.

And it wasn't just the quantity that was at issue, it was the quality too. As the game at Wormsley last summer petered-out into a bore-draw I found myself privately questioning whether the format had any future at all.

But now... oh boy! The past three days has been the most joyous sporting spectacle I've witnessed in many-a-year.

Yes, we've seen four (count 'em!) insane batting collapses, but they've been driven by quality bowling from the likes of Perry and Cross; and what's more, on three occasions so far, we've then seen the game subsequently wrestled back into balance, with bravery and fortitude from Brindle, Perry and Edwards.

By this time tomorrow, someone will have won and someone will have lost. Eleven women and their fans will be in heaven, while eleven other women and their fans will be somewhere else entirely! 

One thing is for sure though - we may never see another Test that doesn't involve England and Australia... but this game has guaranteed that Ashes Tests are here to stay!

(Though possibly with slightly fewer points attached! Somewhat counter-intuitively, the very closeness of this game makes it even less likely that the losing side can come back to win the series, due to the devastation they will inevitably feel in the wake of their defeat.)

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* South Africa v The Netherlands in July 2007.

3 comments:

  1. As you say, a simply fantastic Test match.

    The points debate will rumble on for months. Everyone will have an opinion. Perversely under the former system England would have won The Ashes now so at least this system offers Australia a way back.

    Personally I'd leave it at 6 points (or have 2 Tests with 3 points at stake in each) but someone could get a Phd analysing all the possible systems.

    Can we play Australia every summer and every winter please !

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  2. I was asking on Twitter if anyone was still prepared to defend the 6 points - most of the officials now seem to be disowning it!

    The original argument (for the benefit of anyone wandering into this conversation) was that Ashes cricket was TEST cricket, and that if we were going to add ODIs and T20s, the 6 points at least preserved the tradition that the Test was of overriding, primary importance.

    I understand the argument, but... in the interests of a competitive series, I think 4 would be better.

    (Assuming 2 Tests isn't going to happen... which it isn't - the Tests run at a substantial loss.)

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    1. 400 Test overs of effort = 6 points, 300 ODI overs of effort = 6 points and 120 T20 overs of effort = 6 points. Um, tends to suggest the T20 series is rather over 'pointed' rather than the Test being over 'pointed'.

      Its a real shame there cannot be two Tests (okay say 4 points for each). At least that removes the cliff edge of a 6 point lump. I'm sure you are correct about the financial issue.

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