The first time I saw hours of test cricket was back in 1993. The strong England team was touring India and ended up losing 3-0. Anil Kumble ran through the English side every time they came into bat.
The hours of watching the game as a young kid, made me appreciate the longer format of the game a lot more.
“The Test” docu-series is a treat for cricket fans. It starts in the immediate aftermath of the Australian ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
While I am not a big fan of the past Australian sides; especially their penchant for on-field chatter. The Aussie great Steve Waugh called it mental disintegration. I think it was basically being playground bullies.
The documentary series follows Justin Langer who is appointed the new coach and is trying to usher in a new culture. A new culture for Australian cricket apparently.
The new culture of respect and other virtue-signaling apart, the docu-series travels with the team for over two years.
The personal stories, their feelings and failing are laid bare for everyone to see. Often you see them as frail human beings instead of the impressive athletes they are to be playing at this level.
Stories within a story
One of my favourite episodes were 3 and 4. It involved the Indian cricket team visiting Australia. The respect they have for Virat Kohli and India as a team comes through.
There is a dialogue of Justin Langer about the Sri Lankan tour after the Indian one. He exclaims “No more Bumrah to face in the morning!”
I think every Indian cricket fan will have a wide smile about an Indian fast bowling attack being regarded so highly by the opposition.
The focus then shifts to Australia’s tour to England to play in the World Cup and the Ashes. The team sees the return of Steve Smith and David Warner from their ban. The duo endures a lot of booing through the series for their actions.
The big setting is, of course, the Ashes series in mid-2019. This is a series I watched a bit on and off, and the contests between Jofra Archer and Australia batsman and the unreal batting form of Ben Stoke were truly riveting.
The series takes us behind the scenes; and in the dressing rooms while these things are happening. The famous 3rd test loss for Australia and then the rebound is all told through the eyes of the coaching staff and mostly Justin Langer.
The series is a must-watch if you love watching cricket. It has a lot for non-Aussie fans too. Australia retained the Ashes but the series was tied 2-2.
The documentary to its credit plays out a lot like a lively test match; it sways from episode to episode – with ups and downs, with individual battles and more.
It’s not so much about engineering wins – or practicing one or two things. It explores the ideas of stoic like patience and artistry that make the long form of cricket so enchanting.
Watch the series trailer👇🏼 and catch it on Amazon Prime here.