After looking at the style of how Test cricket is played today, we realized witnessing the third stage of this format. So far, we have distinctively seen three different phases of Test cricket. The differences have majorly occurred based on the approach of playing the game and the mindset of players.
Let's categorize these three different phases of this format into Era's and see how they differ from each other-
First Era: Before 1985 (the starting of Test Cricket)- During this time period, the mindset of the players was to play conventional cricket. The strike rate was extremely slow as this was the only dominant format of the game and the strength of the players was majorly displayed based on their patience level. This was a phase when scoring 150 odd runs with five wickets down was considered domination over the opponent. The average score in an inning was around 250 runs and most of the matches were close. We also witnessed such matches where a team needing 200 runs to win on the last day ending up drawing the match rather than winning.
Second Era: Around 1996 to 2010 (the middle stage)- This was a period when ODI was becoming fairly popular and the cricket teams were efficient enough to score around 250 to 280 in 50 overs. The practice of ODI games helped the teams to put a score of 400 to 500+ runs on a scoreboard easily in a test inning. The teams were capable enough to play for five consecutive days without getting tired. The teams which had to bat second in test cricket were equally efficient in scoring more runs than the team who played the first innings and putting up a lead. And it never ended up there. Even in the third inning, most teams were capable to score big runs like 400. This depicts how mentally strong were the test players. They were the true examples of carrying the never give up attitude. During this era, we even witnessed a TIED test match between West Indies and Australia when more than 400 runs were scored in the fourth inning.
Third Era: 2011 to Present (Current stage)- This is the time period when Twenty20 format has taken control over the whole cricketing world. Playing the T20 format very frequently has drastically reduced the mental strength of the teams and they have majorly become inconsistent. In other words, we can say that they have become more fearful and it's clearly visible in their test cricket performance. If a team batting first puts up a total of 400 to 500 runs on the scoreboard, the opponent teams automatically lose its morals. They start believing that they lost half of the test match already and their mental hardness is reflected by their low scores. Almost all the teams had surrendered themselves when their opposition scored big in their first innings.
- Written by Harshit Aggarwal