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Test Cricket Is Its Own Worst Enemy. Here's How To Fix It

It needs to meet the modern world halfway.

05/01/2017 2:51 PM AEDT | Updated 05/01/2017 3:41 PM AEDT
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It's stoppe draining. Shall we pull these off? Naah, let's just have some sandwiches.

There's farce, there are Monty Python sketches, there's Centrelink accounting and customer service, and then there's what happened at the SCG on day three of the Australia vs Pakistan Test.

What happened was this. Nothing.

But this was no ordinary nothing. It was an exquisitely ironic portion of diddly squat, served al fresco after a morning of precisely zilch.

No play was possible on Thursday morning due to rain. That happens. Weather has a way of happening. But it's what happened next that was so annoying. Or rather, what didn't happen next.

A lunch break was scheduled for 12.30 pm. One more time, after two hours of nothing where there should have been cricket, a lunch break was scheduled.

Now, I honestly can't tell you who makes these decisions. I don't know if it's Cricket Australia, or the SCG trust, or John Cleese, or the guy in Bay 36 Row P Seat 17 with the pink sombrero and a hole in the left armpit of his t-shirt.

But let's be clear, someone has decided that after two hours of absolutely nothing, a meal break was required.

Never mind that players and spectators had had ALL MORNING to eat lunch. Most people ate two lunches during that period because there was nothing else to do.

Never mind that the rain had actually stopped, and that conditions had become perfect for the bowling and hitting and fielding of balls. You couldn't interrupt the scheduled lunch break because...ummm, because, ummm... well I don't know, but I guess because TEST CRICKET HAS ALWAYS DONE THIS WAY.

During the lunch break, of course, it started to rain again.

Out came the the little green truck with the bulldozer attachment at the front carrying the main pitch covering. Out came the big tractor piled with extra thick covers for the pitch square. Out came the hotted-up golf buggies which corral the water with a giant rope.

And once again, the Test became a test of patience.

People say nothing should change with Test cricket. They say who the hell are any of us to challenge 140 years of tradition?

The thing is with tradition is that eventually -- like underpants -- it needs changing.

This writer is a fan of Test cricket. Wouldn't be here otherwise. How good was the unloseable Melbourne Test which Pakistan lost? How good was the unwinnable Brisbane test which Pakistan almost won?

But this game needs to change. How about playing when the sun's out and stopping when it rains, and bugger the schedule?

How about playing on into the evening under lights and changing to a pink ball if needs be?

How about coming to the ground three hours early and playing a nine-hour day to make up for lost time the day before?

How about doing everything possible to make this fantastic game survive? Because let's be honest, Test cricket is an historical anachronism in a time-poor age. It needs to meet the modern world halfway.

Anyway you'll never guess what happened. Play just started. Assuming no more rain, in a couple of hours they're going to stop for a tea break. You'd think nobody would need a caffeinated beverage interval because EVERYBODY HAS BEEN SITTING ROUND DRINKING BLOODY COFFEE ALL DAY FOR WANT OF SOMETHING BETTER TO DO, but there you have it.

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