Ashes 2019 – An advert for Test Cricket3 min read
The third Ashes test between England and Australia at Leeds saw quite a spectacle. England chased down 359, after being bowled out for a paltry 67 in the first innings. Ben Stokes played one of the best test knocks in recent times, rescuing the series for England.
The above match, saw test cricket at its finest. Ben Stokes came in when England was in a precarious situation, and needed a miracle to salvage the Ashes. Stokes scored three runs of his first 72 balls. He stood his ground, stitching his historic innings with grit, patience and concentration, showing immense character.
England was nearly written off, but Stokes remained persistent. The ninth wicket fell with England still needing 73 runs. Ben Stokes quickly changed gears scoring 72 runs in 42 balls, eventually finishing the match triumphantly, with a four.
Despite these heroics in the third test, England lost the fourth test. This saw Australia retaining the Ashes for the first time since 2001, with a 2-1 lead, with one test match currently in progress.
Former English batsman Kevin Pietersen, considered one of the best to don the English whites, put up a poll on Twitter asking what the English fans would prefer; an Ashes win or the World Cup win. Fifty-three percent voted for an Ashes win, along with Pietersen himself. A minority said they would prefer a World Cup win, despite the fact that England won their first World Cup, less than three months ago.
Ashes 2019, has been a series where there has been a plethora of epic battles. Besides Stokes, Former Aussie skipper Steve Smith has had a superb series – scoring one double hundred and two hundreds in the series, despite coming out of a 12-month long suspension.
The Headingley Cricket Ground saw huge crowds turning up to cheer the English team. Crowd involvement of this kind was seen after a long time in the test cricket circuit. The crowd was extremely pumped, and was seen cheering Jack Leach each time he defended the ball safely. Such instances where you have unconditional crown support even for a number 11 batsman, brings out the true essence of test cricket.
In general, the battle between bowlers and batsmen highly intensifies and is visibly significant in test cricket. The limited overs game, is termed as a batsmen’s paradise and many greats have said that the role of a bowler in limited overs cricket is to reduce the damage a batsman may cause. Test cricket is different; to win a match a team needs to take 20 wickets over the course of two innings and five days and no matter how many runs the batsmen make, it always comes down to the bowlers.
In an attempt to revive the excitement and popularity of test matches, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to overrule the team ranking system and introduce a World Test Championship (WTC). “We are trying to see whether (the) Test Championship can generate interest, because test cricket is actually dying, to be honest,” said International Cricket Council chairperson Shashank Manohar.
Three continents witnessed test cricket simultaneously as part of the World Test Championship. The English shores hosted the Ashes, in the Americas we had the West Indies host India and in Asia we had Sri Lanka take on World Cup runners-up New Zealand. The immense quality all these series have shown, proves how important the WTC is, and how competitive the road to the WTC 2020 Lord’s final is going to be.
Cricket is a marvellous sport – with tests at its heart. 22 players giving it their all for five days, completely aware of the fact that the match could end up being a draw at the end of five tiring days, thus upholding the spirit of the game. Recent events prove that this spirit still exists, and is here to stay.
Featured Image Courtesy: Twitter: Mayank Sharma (@MayankShharma)
Edited by: Tarush Dhume