Any doubts that Test cricket is in trouble were firmly rebutted yesterday. The evidence in the second match of the series at Mohali was incontrovertible.
It seemed to have it all. All, that is, except a crowd. India, the most cricket-crazy nation on earth, were playing Australia, the world champions, and gradually exerting control. On the first day, national hero Sachin Tendulkar became the leading Test run-scorer of all time. Yesterday, former captain Sourav Ganguly constructed a calmly authoritative century and the new icon, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, blazed a wonderful trail.
With a total of 469, India then made swift inroads into Australia with highly skilful fast bowling and barely less smart spin. It was gripping stuff, not only for those who have waited years for Australia to begin to come back to the chasing pack.
But it was being played in front of virtually empty stands. The ground, close to Chandigarh, is not easily reached, but a few months ago it was playing to packed houses in the Indian Premier League. It seemed faintly improper that the ICC should use the occasion to announce a World Twenty20 in 2010, just 11 months after the previous version.
There was nothing wrong with the product, however. India are in front, and when the debutant leg-spinner Amit Mishra deceived Michael Clarke to break a stubborn fourth-wicket partnership in the day's last over they were in control.Reuse content