Leading article: One to savour

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The Independent Online

Test cricket is, on the face of it, a little like the handwritten letter, or loose tea. One of the quainter aspects of life whose survival into the modern era defies logic. How can a form of the game that lasts a full five days, during which there is a high risk of very little happening, possibly compete with the thrills and spills and instant gratification of the limited-overs formats that now predominate?

But compete it continues to do, and the nail-biting closing moments of yesterday's third Test in Cape Town showed why. The last English pair at the crease, 17 balls of the match remained. Every blocked delivery an act of heroism that had thousands in the ground, and millions more beyond it, cheering their support. And at the end of it all, what did we have? A draw. Just a draw. All that excitement over a mere sharing of the spoils.

Only Test cricket can do this. Only Test cricket can aspire to the status of the epic poem. Twenty20? Light verse, nothing more.