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The lack of interest in Sri Lanka’s epic fight back among cricket fans and pundits is quite saddening…….

There you go, from nowhere, Sri Lanka managed to draw the first Test at Basin Reserve quite astonishingly. But, frankly speaking, even their ardent supporters won’t put their money in favour of Sri Lanka – surely, you don’t want to prove yourself a fool by investing faith in a team, which is displaying poor quality cricket at home and away and whose house is pretty chaotic at present.

But you know what, cricket – especially Test cricket – is such a format, where you cannot write off anyone easily. No one understood this better than Aizaz Patel, the hero at Abu Dhabi, who stated, if you think test cricket is, the easier it will come back and bite you on the, well, you know.

“You always have to expect the other team will play well. Nothing is expected in cricket. We know it’s a funny game and it can bite you in the arse if you expect too many things,” Patel said after the final day of first Test was washed off by rain. Patel said such in a rather sad manner as because, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis displayed the best of grits and determinations on Day 4, when all seemed lost at 13 for 3.

Their defiant resistance on Day 4 paid rich dividends on the final day, where the skies above the Basin Reserve opened up to honour their courage as it did the same 11 years ago in Lord’s, when a lad named MS Dhoni’s determination delayed England’s victory and later on, the Lond skies opened up to draw the match to the utter astonishment of England captain Michael Vaughan.

Indeed, fortune favours the brave!

It was not that New Zealand bowled badly on Day 4 since the Mathews and Mendis came together in the middle. As Patel said, “I haven’t played a lot of test cricket, but a lot of the boys said that was the first time they had seen a day of test cricket without a wicket. But that’s not to say we played poorly. I think we bowled well”.

“We applied ourselves and bowled in good areas for long periods, they just adapted really well and they have two guys sitting on 100 not out so we can’t beat ourselves up too much about that”.

Also read: Kusal Mendis is the saviour once again

Indeed, Mathews and Mendis adapted very well and their focus was to spend as much time as possible on the wicket. The habit of playing false strokes was cut off, the threatening ones were left sensibly rather than poking and playing with a straight bat was the order of the day. A collapse was arrested and Sri Lanka managed to stitch a match-saving partnership, which is expected to boost the morale of this Lankan unit.

Undoubtedly, Mathews is not finished yet and still, a fit Mathews has a lot to offer for Sri Lanka. Still, I think, Mathews should lead this side if he can maintain his fitness.

But what staggered me most, is the silence of the so-called cricket fans and pundits regarding Sri Lanka’s epic fight back. Rather, the buzz of an auction garnered more attention. Sadly, this is the modern day cricket, where the tamasha dominates more than quality. This is the era, where great efforts in Test matches get poor attention for the sake of an auction, which is not even a cricket match.

And if the teams are not heavyweights, none even bother to notice.

Even though, things were different before tamasha burst into the scene. One can’t deny, how much interest the first Test between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe generated in 2005. Both the teams were regarded as minnows in that time, but still, none of the cricket fans could ignore the thrill and chill of a Test match.

Time has changed. Cricket has changed a lot. The interest of cricket fans has changed as well.

But whether this change in interest good or bad, I have asked this question to myself many times. Is preferring a tamasha over the high-quality content in Basin Reserve better? For me, it is not. I would always prefer the high-quality content in Basin Reserve. As I believe, for the betterment of cricket’s future, it is very important to follow the best format and the new generation of cricket bosses, pundits and fans should believe the same.

But, the story is different. They do say, Test cricket needs to be branded in the best possible way, but here, the action does not speak louder than words. And for which, all is quiet on an epic fight back at Basin Reserve!

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