5 thrilling draws in Test cricket
In an increasingly result-oriented world, the game of cricket is no different. Draws in Test cricket are seen as a poor advertisement of a format of the game that is alleged to be dying a slow death.
While Test matches still continue to be a much-followed affair as a televised sport, the prospect of them spread over five days and eventually meandering into meaningless draws is keeping the crowds away from stadiums across the world in an era that has made the ‘thrill-a-minute’ T20 games its staple diet.
However, even in the slow and ebbing flows of Test cricket has born many a thrilling drawn game with its fair share of twists and turns.
Here we look at five of those thrillers:
India vs West Indies, Nov 2011
After a dominant 2-0 lead by the hosts, the third and final Test of Windies’ tour of India in 2011 turned out to be a cliff-hanger with all four results including a tie possible when Fidel Edwards ran in for the final over of the match on Day 5.
Batting first, West Indies piled on the runs as all of its top six batsmen registered fifties and Darren Bravo topped with a solid knock of 166. Trailing a first innings score of 590, India scored 482 with fifties from Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Kohli and a ton from Ashwin lower down the order.
The track that had yielded more than 1000 runs in just the first couple of innings took a complete U-turn as the game progressed into its second half.
The Windies were bowled out for a mere 134 in their second stint, the spin duo of Pragyan Ojha(6/47) and Ashwin(4/34) sharing all the spoils, leaving a fourth innings target of 243. After scaling down half of it, India kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
When Dhoni departed at 189, India still required another 50 odd runs with only Ashwin and the tail to follow. Dogged efforts from Ashwin and Ishant stretched the game into the climactic final over of the match.
India still needed 3 runs with 2 wickets in hand. Debutant Varun Aaron could hand over the strike to Ashwin off only the fourth ball of the over.
Needing two off the last ball to win, a moment of indecision from Ashwin cost India as a late response to Aaron’s call for a second run ended up in him missing his crease by a fair distance, only the second time a Test had been drawn with scores level.
Despite a disappointing end, Ashwin’s first innings century and his 9 wicket-haul in the game won him the ‘Player of the Match’ honours, in addition to the ‘Player of the series’ in his debut Test series and India just fell short of a 3-0 clean sweep.