What an incredible weekend of Test Match Cricket. The two test matches at Edgbaston and Galle were a fitting reply to all those who keep on saying that T20 is going to kill test match cricket. The skill, emotions and quality of cricket displayed at Galle and Edgbaston can never ever be replicated in T20. That is why Test cricket is the most amazing and ultimate form of the game and it will remain so.
There is so much to write that I do not where to start from. Which was the better innings – Sehwag’s 201 or Smith’s 155? For sheer audacity and brilliance Sehwag’s 201 will stand out. Second ball, after a two hour rain interruption, from Chamida Vaas, was smashed over the midwicket boundary for a huge six. I can’t think of any player in world cricket who would have done that. But in terms of sheer determination and perseverance, Smith’s must be one of the greatest test innings. Most teams would have folded after being 94/4 chasing 280. But South Africa looked up to their captain who was battling Monty from the rough, Freddie and his invincible delivery. For six hours on Saturday, Smith was in the zone and he played an unforgettable innings.
And what about Paul Collingwood’s innings? He was apparently one innings away from being sidelined back to county cricket. He responded with an innings of character and determination and watching the Edgbaston crowd stand up to him (after booing him the previous evening) was a pretty special.
An apology is due to Harbhajan Singh. I had questioned his credentials in my last post but he bowled beautifully in the Galle Test to silence his critics. And the Indian team also silenced their critics. (Where is Arjuna Ranatunga?) Fellow blogger VM has asked all folks who doubted the Indian team to eat crows. It a sentiment shared by most Indian fans who had faith in their team even after the first test defeat.
There was some riveting cricket played though. The third evening when Rahul Dravid came out to Bat, witnessed test match cricket at its very best. The great batsman was obviously short of confidence after having failed in his previous three innings. He started cautiously, scratched around a bit but slowly, with time spent at the crease, his confidence started growing. He played some lovely shots and just as one felt he was getting back in form he was out. Cricket can be a cruel game sometimes.
Galle 2008 is a good a victory as team India has ever achieved overseas- right up there along with Headingly 2002, Adelaide 2003, Perth 2008 and Johannesburg 2006. If India does manage to win this series, surely, it will be one of the greatest comebacks witnessed in modern cricket.
But for the moment let’s forget winning and losing and lets savor the cricket witnessed by us. Cricket, Lovely Cricket.