Pakistan's wonderful fightback in the first Test at Brisbane was just the kind of advertisement that Test cricket needs. That match showed fortunes fluctuating wildly especially over the last two days as the Pakistanis didn't give up and almost pulled off what would have been Test cricket's most incredible win. Of course since England was not involved in that match it wouldn't have been called the 'greatest test match of all' since for anything to be called 'the greatest' something English has to be there. Be that as it may, what that match has done is to show test cricket in all its multi-colours and why it is the only format that tells you how good a cricketer really is. It is the only format where bowlers are actually trying to get twenty wickets unlike limited overs and T20 cricket where they are content to stop the flow of the runs in the quota of overs they have to bowl. If they get wickets then it is a bonus but the priority in limited overs and T20 cricket for the bowlers is simply not to give away runs. If Mitchell Starc had not bowled that fearsome bouncer that got the well set centurion Asad Shafiq fending a catch to gully, Pakistan could well have got to the target set for them. Shafiqs century was his 9th at the number 6 batting slot which is the most by any batsman batting in that position and with the evergreen Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan still going strong at numbers 4 and 5, Asad will have to wait a bit longer for his promotion up the batting order.
In Chennai England's collapse though not totally unexpected still came as a shock to England cricket supporters since at tea time they appeared to be in safe waters with Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes batting well and putting up a 50 plus partnership as well. As happens in cricket it needs just a lapse in concentration for a wicket to fall and the doors are open for the opposition to ram through. That is exactly what happened as Moeen Ali went for an unnecessary in the circumstances shot and Ashwin timed his jump to perfection to pull off a remarkable catch. Ravindra Jadeja spun the batsmen away to get his best figures in test cricket. He had before that given us one of the greatest catches seen in test cricket when he turned and ran back full tilt and then stretched his arms out full length to grasp the ball. He had also batted with responsibility as he shepherded Karun Nair towards a triple century. Nair has been scoring heavily in Ranji trophy and first class cricket over the last few seasons and all that experience stood him in good stead as he marched towards a triple hundred and in the process joined Bob Simpson and Garry Sobers as the third batsman to get a triple century as the first three figure mark in test cricket.
India's 4-0 win will give them a sense of satisfaction for their loss in a five test series in England in 2014 but at least they won a test match there which England did not manage to do in this series.
Karun Nair for his triple ton is the CEAT international cricketer of the week.