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Thanks to Waugh, Fleming - long live Test cricket

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Monday, November 12, 2001, 18:40 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: Oh! What a last day it turned out to be! About 10 hours lost due to rain, even the first innings remained unfinished with just the last day to go and New Zealand almost pulled the rug from under Australia's feet.

And what better positive cricket can a cricket buff expect. Both, Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming and Australian captain Steve Waugh threw the gauntlet at each other's throat as the other cricketers played a great supporting act on the Test arena.

A good spell of bowling from five-wicket taking Brett Lee, cameo knocks from the Australia batsmen, quick fire blitzes from the Kiwi batting guns and one brilliant over (just one run conceded) at the death - like in a One-dayer though this was a Test - summed up the day's action at the Gabba with spectators and viewers glued to their seats.

The razor edge action more often swinging the New Zealand way made quiet a few heart beats skip. The outstanding message as the Kiwis finished 10 short of a historic triumph was the difference with which the Australians and New Zealanders play their cricket.

While "positive cricket" has become a mere rhetoric in the repertoire of many players and captains, Fleming and Waugh underlined the true meaning of the phrase as they resurrected a game that was deemed to be a draw.

The fellow players - New Zealanders and Australians - rallied superbly around their captains as the game came alive and remained ignited till the very end. Just as it appeared that the Australian ego might once again be hurt (the Australians had similarly lost to England during the Ashes with Gilchrist deputising for an injured Steve Waugh bravely declaring the Aussie innings), McGrath bowled a tight over - in terms of runs conceded - to swing the pendulum towards the draw.

The draw, however, conveyed the message loud and clear that Test cricket was there to stay as long as Flemings and Waughs existed in the game. Can cricketers from the other Test playing nations learn from this glorious draw?

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