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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Very, Very Special Test

By on 7:18 PM

It was a very, very special Test. The pitch, which on Day 1 looked too much like it would turn out to be one of those flat, monster-run-score pitches that are bane on Test cricket everywhere, was anything but. It had plenty of purchase for both batsmen and bowlers, just like the Mohali cricket curator claimed it would have. He was right, of course: 39 wickets in 4½ days. I shall never doubt a curator again.

It was a Test that deserved ... nay, demanded a result and we got one. India won thanks to a very, very special innings by a very, very special batsman: VVS Laxman — stiff as an oak trunk, cool as cucumber, and with wrists as swivelly as a belly dancer's hips — again delivered a match-winning innings for India. When Richie Bennaud was commenting more regularly, he used to burst out in lyrical rhapsodies of admiration over VVS Laxman's wrists. No wonder: they deliver some of the most amazing placement of cricket shots one is ever likely to see.

Traditionally, the great rivalry in cricket has been between England and Australia. After this Test, I think we will have to say that the rivalry between India and Australia is close to overtaking it, if it has not already.

I know my Australian XI lost and of course I would rather they had not, but seeing such a tightly contested Test, which held pretty much all one can ask of a Test — five wicket hauls; batting centuries; dropped catches; phenomenal catches; mix-ups; run-outs; pleasures; heartaches; Pain(e)s; and suspense until the very end —I dare say that in a way we were all winners: it was a great victory for Test cricket. It was glorious. It was a very, very special Test.


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