Adelaide Test, Australia v India – Day Five: In Praise of Test Cricket

If association football is the beautiful game, Test Match cricket is the glorious game. It is the brilliant game. It is the enduring game. It is the game that is unlike any other.

It is the game I fell in love with as a boy, and continue to love. It is the game which has ebbed and flowed for 137 years; it is the constant and reassuring backdrop to our summers. Many a time the game has been pronounced dead, and last rites solemnly performed. But still the game lives on. Enthralling us no end.

The pyjama game is not yet middle-aged but showing serious signs of wear and tear, and who knows whether or not the T-20 infant will grow into adulthood? Meanwhile, Test cricket lives and breathes, forever inviting us to come along and be a part of the journey.

What other game could have provided us with the tension and thrills of India’s pursuit of an initially unlikely target of 364 runs? History said the target was impossible, and as the wicket began to spin ever more on Day 4 it seemed that history would most likely repeat on the final day. Whilst their imperious skipper remained at the crease, I believed that India would show us that history was indeed bunk. And at 6-304, with Virat Kohli lording over all the bowlers, victory was still within India’s grasp.

But Nathan Lyon – as every armchair pundit had promised, hoped, wished, and prayed for throughout the match – would have the final say. He bowled superbly, deservedly taking the Player of the Match award for his 12-wicket performance. And to snatch that award in a match full of wonderful performances was a feat in itself.

I was hoping the Indians would chase down the runs. For, had they done so, a platform for a much more enthralling series would have been constructed, particularly with attention now turning next to Australia’s Gabba fortress.

The Australian team has a couple of cracks which victory will momentarily paper over. Chris Rogers is perpetually batting for his place in the line-up, Brad Haddin may never re-discover his batting form, Peter Siddle’s lack of pace is now a major concern. And then of course there is the question of Michael Clarke who, post-match, was candidly confronting his cricket mortality.  India is still finding its way following the end of the golden era of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman – but the future is looking extremely bright.

I envy those who were at Adelaide Oval to witness this absorbing final day’s play. I longed to be there with them, watching this game, our game, the magnificent game, the glorious game of Test Match cricket.


Australia 7(dec)/517 & 5(dec)/290 defeated India 444 & 315 by 48 runs.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi smokie for tension, drama, story, suspense and skill this is the best one I remember. Well captured . Yvette

  2. Spot on Smokie. these two teams have had some great clashes in Adelaide; this amongst them. 77-78, 81-82, 91-92 and the current one have lall gone down to the wire. In the last session in all these encounters, any of the four possible results were options.
    Great cricket by both teams, with a fitting result for Nathan Lyon being Man of the Match. RIP Phil Hughes.


  3. Michael Oflynn says

    Spot on smokie. Nothing beats test match cricket. The ultimate test of how good a cricketer really is. Watson generally fails this test.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    There’s no comparison to a dramatic Test match finish. At its best, Test cricket is the best sport. Hands down. Adelaide was a great tribute to the sport.

    India took the gas.

  5. And long live the glorious game, Smokie.

  6. Dave Chettle says

    Hear hear, Test match Cricket can’t be beaten, it’s sport at its truest.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Spot on , Smokie test cricket is the ultimate test , geez I wish , Clarke had given 1 day cricket away

  8. It was a brilliant finish Smoke. Got me in completely. The Indian bowling might be a concern at the GABBA (for them), but their young batsmen (the top 6 anyway) look as good as any other test team in the world.

  9. This was a game for the ages. the complete test. 1566 runs scored, 5 gripping days, win at all costs cricket from both teams throughout.

    And Virat Kohli – what a gem. I think India have the leadership qualities in him they haven’t had since Kapil Dev. The image of him head down, just unbelieving of his own poor judgement when the finish line was in sight, when Mitch Marsh completed what will be the technically worst, clumsiest, successful catch of the summer, said everything there is to say about the game – and why it is called ‘test’ cricket in the first place.

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    The sun was directly in Mitch Marshs eyes technically it was a very good catch , Neil

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Just finished watching my recording of day 5 as I was playing myself as it happened. Wow. That last session was amazing. No other form of the game can replicate the drama of Test cricket. Great to watch. Well done N.Lyon.

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