Thursday, September 8


In about 6 hours, the most anticipated test in recent history shall commence. Well, at least the most anticipated Test since Lord’s in July, or Edgbaston or Old Trafford…
Its been that sort of series, hasn’t it.

At the start, most of us would have, at best, hoped wildly that the series would come down to the last test. How many actually believed that The Oval would host a decider is quite another thing. Expectations ranged, not so widely, from England wining nothing to winning a dead test to winning a solitary live one. Everything else was in the realm of hope, be it for an Englishman or a neutral. And everything else was in the realm of the unreal, even nightmarish, for everyone down under.

Yet, 43 days and four tests later this is no nightmare. Not even the most ardent Australian fan can fault the series. It is more than anyone could have asked or hoped for, more than the most gifted of scriptwriters could have created- anticipation has, inexplicably and wonderfully, risen from test to test.

Today we are left talking about how much Jones and McGrath will affect this decider, whether some players who till recently were atop a hill are over it, whether the lions will be left licking their wounds, or will they claw their way back, if weather will, eventually, play a part in this series, or if it could boil down to the toss of a coin.

Truth be told, none of it really matters. This series has already transcended such trivialities- leaving them as mere points of discussion. We would be better off contemplating the riveting charm of this game, yet it can be hardly articulated, so we settle for the normalcy of such discussions. Its just that sometimes, they seem almost incidental in the bigger picture.

After every test I have tried to consciously lower my expectations, not wanting to be disappointed, not believeing such exhilarating cricket could sustain itself. Every time, I have been proved wrong. Every time, I have been left happily shaking my head. Whatever happens at the Oval, I will still be here, marvelling at this game.
Its been that sort of series, hasn't it.

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