Test cricket is wonderful. Test cricket has texture and dimensions and a richness few other sports can offer. But Test cricket is also weird. For evidence, look at the third Test of the Australia versus West Indies series which ended meekly at 4:50pm on Thursday afternoon in bright sunshine.
That's right, in bright sunshine. After four days during which it rained cats, dogs and an entire petting zoo or two, everyone was frustrated at no play being possible. So what happened when the sun finally came out and Davy Warner was in full swing and everyone was having a bloody good time?
They ended the match. Dare we say it again -- in bright sunshine.
No result was possible but this is not the point. The players should have played until 6pm so the crowd could enjoy a little cricket. Players still receive their full wage for a rain-affected Test which ends early. Even on a day when Cricket Australia wisely invited the public to attend for free, shouldn't they have played the extra scheduled hour?
Davy Warner certainly seemed to sense the crowd's enthusiasm. He hit two big sixes in the direction of the main throng in the Churchill stand, as if to say "here you go, guys. Appreciate you showing up". He celebrated his century with a slightly OTT dance given the occasion, but again, it seemed to be for the benefit of those who had bothered to stay and watch.
They would have liked to watch more. But the match ended. In bright sunshine.
Anyway this is a match report, not a rant, so here's what happened. Play started at 11:45 with a lunch break scheduled shortly thereafter. Why they'd schedule a lunch break at all after so much play has been lost is just dumb. Is this not the age of power bars? Surely Test cricket's 40 minute break could be done away with under such circumstances.
Oops, rant mode again. Apologies. So in the cricket that was played before everyone went home in the BRIGHT SUNSHINE, the West Indies fought well enough to be all out for 330. Steven O'Keefe was probably the pick of the Aussie bowlers, the left arm off-spinner rewarded with figures of 3 for 63.
When Australia batted, David Warner did what David Warner does, which is to make scoring a century off 82 balls look like an everyday occurrence in this form of the game.
Joe Burns fell for 26 and Mitchell Marsh fell for 21, or in other words, exactly the sort of score which drives everyone nuts -- enough to inspire hope but not enough to deliver on it. Marsh's number 6 position in the Australian batting line-up is the major selection worry ahead of the Tests against New Zealand in February.
Next on the agenda for the Australian team are five One Dayers against India. So it's off with the white clothes for now -- an hour too early for this reporter's liking because of all this BRIGHT SUNSHINE -- and on with the pyjamas.
Oh, and man of the series was Adam Voges for scoring approximately 23 million runs at an average of infinity. Voges actually scored 375 runs in two innings but wasn't dismissed in either, meaning he has no average in this series.
Voges' overall average against the West Indies is 542, which makes him half good enough to play on the same team as that Indian school kid.
And that's it from the SCG. Walking to the station now. IN BRIGHT SUNSHINE.