A fine fight-back in the third innings by Bangladesh and a fair chunk of rain ensured anoother draw, and honours even in this series. Tamin Iqbal finally returned to scoring runs with 95 and 70, though he remains on track to match Ashraful for frustration, Miminul Haque continued to impress with 47 and 126* and Shakib took another 5 wicket haul. New Zealand will be plased by Corey Anderson's 116, Watling's 70*, Wagner's 5/64 and the number of starts. But in truth, with the fifth day washed out with the match intriguingly placed for either side to make a push, the result is a little unsatisfactory. Bangladesh will feel they can beat New Zealand at home, and New Zealand that they can continue to boss at least two sides beneath them. But we'll have to wait a while - and many mismatched series - to see whether that is the case.
Regression to the mean, and some way beyond for both sides. The series rating puts them near enough to their expected performance, such was the turnaround. A rather odd scorecard, with Steyn setting the tone with an early wicket and Imran Tahir taking 5/32 to keep Pakistan to only 99. South Africa's response was patchy, with only two scores over 26; they just happened to be 164 for AB de Villiers and 234 for the master of ugly runs, Graeme Smith. Saeed Ajmal took 6/151, but couldn't keep the first innings margin within anything other than inevitable loss.
Misbah-ul-Haq (97) and Asad Shafiq (130) provided a 197 runs of resistance, but otherwise the proceedings were only enlivened by Faf du Plessis breaking the record for ball tampering with the largest first innings margin - the previous, and perhaps only instance being 331. In any case, Duminy and Tahir took the bulk of the wickets and the game was won by an innings plus with over a day to spare.
As usual, much was written about the unsatisfactory nature of two-test series; but the reality is that ten test teams can only play so many matches and some series must be shorter. Whether the best series are being short-changed is debatable; for the most part, the better (and conveniently), richer teams play the longest series. If test cricket was moved to a structure that scheduled according to competitive context then that aim becomes possible. But current complaints ring mostly with hypocrisy: that their series was not longer, not a plan for action.
It seems hard to fathom that anyoneactually cares about the result of this series, though the players will undoubtedly try, if they can avoid the surrounding nonsense. Sachin began his career with India rated 1063.8, and it is rather odd to note that they've trod a relatively consistent path since; unlike a bowler, the marginal value of a batsman is limited. India are coming off their most fruitful series in many years, having annihilated Australia on their last outing, and they may well do again with the new core of Dhawan, Pujara and Kohli looking as good as those they are to replace. Nor should this surprise, the most marked change in Indian cricket since Tendulkar's debut (apart from the money) is the growth of the sport in India, and the growth of players from poorer areas. Unlike VVS, Dravid and Ganguly, the next crop of Indian batsmen are much closer to the best talents of the entire nation. Being the star around which an entire industry is built is an interesting place to finish a career though. His records will stand testament to his ability; the nonsense around his retirement to his mythical standing; but his true legacy won't be known for another decade. Indian cricket has two last tests on their foundation player before we find out what lies beneath.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Cricket - Ratings - Test 5th November, 2013 17:35:21 [#]
Nonsensical Tendulkar Ode\