Bangalore: You're a cricket fan. If you're reading this, I assume that you are. And if you're one of those with the inclination and patience to watch Test cricket, which match would you rather watch? The first ended on the fifth morning, and saw 1169 runs scored for the loss of 39 wickets. The second, played four years later, went the full five days, and as many as 1598 runs were scored while the bowlers toiled for just 21 wickets. Over the final three days, when subcontinent pitches traditionally deteriorate, only eight wickets fell.
The ICC match referee reported the first pitch as substandard, though it produced an engrossing contest and a result. The second, where a result might not have been possible over seven days, escaped unscathed. Apart from any fans that died of boredom, no one paid a price for a surface that made a mockery of the idea that cricket is a contest between bat and ball.
Both those matches were played at the Motera Stadium, against Sri Lanka. It's easy to criticise the curators and the ground staff, but when higher powers send clear signals that they prefer a match going the duration to a result, then why make the man on the ground the fall guy?