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England lose by 340 runs: is the Test Match draw in decline?

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2017 by kmflett

England lose by 340 runs: is the Test Match draw in decline?

England’s performance against South Africa in the 2nd Test at Trent Bridge which saw them lose by 340 runs before tea on the 4th day, may be a one-off. We’ll know more later in the summer.

If you were listening to Test Match Special (and if not why not), you’ll have heard Geoffrey Boycott and others ponder whether batsman these days have the mental capacity to ‘dig-in’ and play long innings.

Well they would, wouldn’t they but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a point on this occasion.

The amount of various kinds of limited over cricket at international level may be leading to a mindset amongst batsmen inparticular that if they are not scoring then they are losing. The idea of blocking balls, playing for a draw and so on may be fading.

Limited overs games of course may not produce a definitive outcome. The weather may dictate a no result or there may be a tie, but not a draw.

If the draw is on the way out at Test level so may be 5 day Test matches, since it’s not likely that a Test will be drawn in less than 5 days (unless of course weather intervenes).

However it doesn’t take too much research to grasp that the claim is a] not new and b] not entirely correct.

For example as recently as November 2016 the first Test between India and England was drawn over 5 days.

Moreover as a 2008 paper by Liam Lenten indicates the issue of the reducing number of draws in Test is not a new one:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227672327_Is_the_decline_in_the_frequency_of_draws_in_Test_match_cricket_detrimental_to_the_long_form_of_the_game

Lenten suggests that the numbers of draws are in decline, but they still exist in numbers.

The wider issue is whether a drawn Test over 5 days is somehow ‘boring’. Clearly it could be and I vaguely recall attending one or two over the years. That said a one-sided Test that finishes in 3 days without much of a real contest is hardly much of a spectacle either.

As often, it’s a matter of balance. The Test Match draw is not dead but it’s worth keeping the matter under review.

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One Response to “England lose by 340 runs: is the Test Match draw in decline?”

  1. Speaking as an ex Captain of local club 4th XI a draw is a very satisfying cricket result. For example, when the opposition some 12 places higher in the league post a winning target of 250 and 60 overs later my team of over 50s and under 16s have hung on at 60 for 9 I felt – well to win a cricket match you have to bowl us out. An example at Test level was Monty’s batting at Cardiff many years ago. If you draw, you’re not beaten. If you lose having gone for a draw you don’t look as pathetic as England today. The first test was won by the team who had the least bad collapse. The second was won by the the team that did not collapse.

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