James Lawton: Test intrigue a sour reminder of Sky deal

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The Independent Online

This column, it has to be admitted, is not a monument to punctuality - even - but there is, maybe, a workable excuse.

This column, it has to be admitted, is not a monument to punctuality - even - but there is, maybe, a workable excuse.

Quite a bit of yesterday was spent watching the riveting action from Port Elizabeth, from where we were reminded that Test cricket at its best is one of the ultimately intriguing offerings of live television.

The confections and contrivances of one-day cricket melt away. The reality is a game of absorbing balance and shifting advantage. Nothing was better yesterday than the resurrection of pace bowler Simon Jones and the continued excellence of Andrew Strauss, a young England batsman of poise and nerve who has been miraculously saved from the fate of so much untested talent that went before him.

The hours fly by in such circumstances - at the same rate as that conviction that the exclusive sell-out to Sky television by the England and Wales Cricket Board is indeed a national scandal. This was sport to gladden the nation - not to turn a cheap, quick profit.

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