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    June 09, 2006

    The thrill of a draw

    Sometimes the words 'Match Drawn' on a scorecard do absolutely no justice to the way the game panned out. Antigua was one such example. The other test which comes to mind is the England-Australia draw at Old Trafford during last year's Ashes series.

    I watched replays of Sreesanth's last over to Collymore and I'm now convinced that it rivalled Harmison's last over at Old Trafford in terms of how poorly directed the bowling was. The only reason I'd categorize Harmison's over as being worse is because I feared expected a much better over from him, given his ability, experience and reputation.

    To a lesser extent, the Sydney test of 2004, Steve Waugh's final bow, was also quite thrilling, despite it not going right down to the final ball.

    I recall watching Fidel Edwards and Ridley Jacobs bat out nearly an hour at Harare in 2003 to help save West Indies from near certain defeat against Zimbabwe.

    I also watched with bated breath the last hour of the Brisbane test in 2001 between Australia and New Zealand. Weather had affected the game significantly and there were three declarations to try and get a result out of nowhere. New Zealand were chasing 284 to win. Cairns and McMillan blasted the bowling all around the place. Sixes were being hit off McGrath and Warne! Then when Cairns got out, New Zealand still had to get 20-odd runs with just one more over of play possible. Eventually, they fell ten runs short and the game was drawn.

    By all accounts, England v Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in 1996 ought to have been quite thrilling, what with the match ending in a draw with both sides level on runs and England still having four wickets in hand! India v England drew at The Oval in 1979 when India, chasing 438, ended up just 9 runs short. Now that'd have been one cracker of a game!

    Lastly, there was this game which wasn't a draw ... and neither side won. Australia set India 348 to get at Madras in 1986. I didn't watch the game live. I probably didn't watch it on TV as well. What I do recall is a group of friends feverishly talking at around 4 pm on the last day about how the game would end up.

    I declared that it'd be a tie, having only come across that term a few weeks earlier while reading a book about the 1960 tie at Brisbane. I mean, I obviously wanted India to win. But I reckoned it'd be even more fascinating if it was a tie. Even now, whenever I see polls on the results of test matches, I try to go for the 'tie' option. I get disappointed when commentators say 'All three results are possible', when there're actually four possible results - Team X wins, Team Y wins, drawn game and a tie! Like I chronicled at this lovely thread on CoU, that tied match basically got me hooked to cricket.

    These close tests are the reason why test cricket retains its own allure. Two teams slug it out over five (or more?) days, and no one wins?! How do you explain that to someone who hates test cricket because its boring? Boring? Antigua was boring? Old Trafford was boring? Yes. A lot of drawn games can be boring. But let's talk about the exceptions!

    I've obviously missed out on several other close, nail-biting draws. Have you watched any such tests?
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 3:46 PM |
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    3 sledge(s):

    You missed the Australia-South africa 1997-1998 series in Australia. Adelaide Oval, I think it was. Mark Waugh played what I consider to be one of the best innings of his life, to help Australia draw. (The same game with the hit-wicket controversy)

    By Blogger Tugga (09-Jun-2006, 9:48:00 PM)  

    Ind-SA game in Johannesburg in 96-97. when India came so close to victory, Cullinan & Donald were in the middle, when bad light stopped play. I reckon thats a great draw.

    By Blogger Sesh (11-Jun-2006, 11:30:00 AM)  

    tugga: I've heard about that game. From whatever I've read about it, it was a superb draw! Wasn't that the game where a spear mysteriously appeared on a dressing room door or something?

    sesh: Yeah, really close to victory. IIRC huge controversy over the ground staff taking ages to mop up the water logged areas after rain hit proceedings.

    By Blogger Jagadish (13-Jun-2006, 8:28:00 PM)  

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