Thursday, January 7, 2010

England and the last wicket rescue

And my yesterday's prediction turned out to be absolutely correct. England's last pair managed to help them scrape through with a draw. And this has become a frequent happening for England in recent times. Just check the following match links
Cardiff, July 2009, vs Australia, 1st Ashes Test
Centurion, December 2009, vs South Africa, 1st Test
Cape Town, January 2010, vs South Africa, 3rd Test
In fact West Indies also managed to scrape through with the last pair at the crease against England in the Wisden Trophy earlier in 2009.
All matches England were on the mat, they fought back, then a dramatic collapse and then the last pair resolutely defends everything thrown at them. Anderson-Panesar in Cardiff, Collingwood-Onions at Centurion and now Swann-Onions at Newlands.
The coincidence is simply too great.
Still it was a fabulous test match to watch. Century by Graeme Smith; great resistance by Paul Collingwood and the much maligned Ian Bell; fantastic spell of fast bowling by Dale Steyn; the late drama. The final day was tense. There weren't many runs scored and in fact no one bothered keeping track of them. Survival was the only issue at hand. And it was really gripping stuff (I totally ignored the India-Bangladesh ODI going on in parallel)
And for all the doubters, test cricket is very much alive and kicking (This is the last time I am going to say it). With England to add dramatic twists nearly every time they play, there can't be any other way.
So the Basil D'Oliviera Trophy goes into the fourth and final test with South Africa having totally outplayed England in two of the three matches but still finding themselves 1-0 down in the series due to one afternoon of poor batting.
No sport can beat Test cricket.

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