Last night, and I went to bed around 11:30pm central time. Ed Cowan had been run out, and Michael Clarke was still under 200, but it had still been a marvelous, marvelous day for the Australians. They had saved the match.
Going to bed with two plus hours left in the day was actually quite comforting. I am going to sounds a bit over-dramatic, but there was something soothing knowing that on the other side of the world, in brilliant mid-afternoon Brisbane sunshine, the cricket was still going on.
There is a line in Flaming Lips song that I have always enjoyed:
“You realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ‘round.”
Of course, I am not an idiot, I have always intellectually understood that the entire world is not on central time, but there is something soothing in seeing the forest for the trees, in realizing that the sun really does not go down. Ever.
And even when it is not the middle of the night, there is something to be said for having a Test match going on in the background as you go about your day. This, of course, is more true for those that live in Test nations, for the majority of the match days are, unfortunately work days. There are meetings, and kids to pick up from school, and gas to get, and dinners to cook. You might get lucky and be able to watch big chunks of the play on the weekends, but for the most part, except for the most fervent fans, most cricket fans are forced to follow the action via their phones during the day, and then if they are lucky, catch a highlights program at night.
And that in a roundabout way brings me to this thought: if Test cricket wants to attract more casual fans, they need to institute day/night tests, and they need to do it now.
Start the matches at around 15:00, take lunch at 17:00…etc. Then sell discounted tickets for post-lunch only, so more casual fans could head to the ground after work and still catch the majority of the final two sessions.
As much as I love the traditional test times, yesterday the ground at Brisbane was beyond empty. There were maybe 2,000 people there. And that’s a problem. Not a new one, of course, but one that I think could be easily solved by instituting day-night Tests. You allow current, more casual, fans to take in the play either at the ground or live on TV, and you introduce new people to the game at the same time.
Time to make it happen.
As much as I will miss prime time cricket during the Australian summer, this is what has to happen.
Back on the pitch and it is looking more and more like a draw. Currently the hosts sit at 487/4 with 6.5 hours to come on the 5th day – or about 105 minimum overs – leading by only 37 runs. Let’s say Australia continues on at their current run rate (four an over) and declares at lunch: they would sit at 637, a lead of 187. Which means South Africa would need to chase 187, get a decent lead, and bowl out the hosts…all in just the 60ish or so overs left in the day. For that reason, Clarke, despite being a bullish captain, might as well stay out there until tea, and let match end in a quiet draw, because it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.
But I have been wrong before.
Either way, Captain Clarke stood up when his team needed him, and dragged them over the line. Put the team on his back and carried them. Sure, Cowan’s effort was impressive, but he does not get his first Test century with anyone else batting alongside him, I don’t think.
I have a work event tonight, and my wife is playing a show, so I will miss the day’s play. I will check my phone for updates, and will watch the highlights later. Just like those that live in a Test nation, which is truly shameful, when you think about it.
This post was updated at 13:24 CT, 13 November 2012.
Finally: GOD DAMN RAIN COST US ANOTHER BELTER OF A TEST.