Daniel Gregory’s weekly column: Australia’s defeat of India highlights the plight of Test Match cricket

ONE SIDED AFFAIR ... India skipper MS Dhoni talks to Aussie captain Michael Clarke
ONE SIDED AFFAIR ... India skipper MS Dhoni talks to Aussie captain Michael Clarke

WATCHING Australia dismantle an India side who were ranked as the world’s best Test playing nation only months ago got me thinking about the current state of the five-day game.

So much emphasis has been placed on the shortened, more box-office friendly versions of the sport that it appears standards are slipping in the purest form of the game.

T20 and One Day Internationals have started to take over the sport, with more interest from supporters in the stands and from the big television companies, and this seems to have shifted the focus of the big cricket playing nations towards the more exciting, money-spinning fixtures.

In my opinion, the Test Match is something unique in sport. A five-day contest that often ebbs and flows, with both sides having little windows of opportunities to eek out a win or battle for a draw on the last day.

Many people find Test cricket rather boring though, and this has led the regulative bodies of the main cricket playing nations to try and engage a new set of supporters with big-hitting, shortened versions of the game.

This is all well and good as it keeps the coffers as full as possible, but it seems the Test Match is being slowly confined to the history books. A very sad state of affairs.

Take Australia for example. A side who England made look amateur on their own soil when winning the Ashes last year.

They have totally and utterly anihilated India, the former number one ranked side in the world, who boast the likes of the little master Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Now, put a coloured kit on the above batsmen and they seem to hit the ball to all parts, especially if they’re playing at home.

India’s batsmen looked like rabbits in the headlights when they toured England recently, but when the sides met for the One Day Series back on the sub-continent, they looked a totally different proposition.

The Australian pace attack of Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle all played in the Ashes series against England, and all were given a hard time.

But they seemed to be too good for an Indian batting line-up that seems either unable to play away from home, or have simply gone off the five-day game.

And when the Australians were actually made to bat, they scored runs with relative ease.

Even skipper Michael Clarke, pictured above, made a massive 329 not out. He didn’t look capable of making a contribution during the Ashes.

Still, it all benefits England. Not much competition for that top spot in the Test rankings at the moment.