After the heartbreaking sight of seeing half-empty stadiums during the thoroughly exciting India_Aus test series in India, 2008, it is great to see the support in England for the ashes. T20 has its place for the instant-fun factor, but test cricket is the real deal. Facing multiple spells of hostile bowling from 'freddie' Flintoff at speeds up to 95mph, with the crowd against you, is quite a test, and a thrilling spectacle for everybody else. Test cricket at its best is a series of bone jarring, uncompromising gladiatorial contests involving brute strength as well as subtle guile, waged within a chess-series-like intellectual campaign at the higher level, all of which is encoded using myriad gentlemanly rules of engagement, spread over five days. After all the hard work, you may not get a decisive result at the end of it.
The whites of the uniforms and the greens of outfield dominate the view, but at its core, cricket is bloody red. More than any sport (golf comes close), the injuries to the psyche of a test cricketer are hardest to recover from, as Greg Chappel said. If you get out, you are out of the test match for a couple of days before a second shot at redemption, if at all there is one. Indeed, test cricket is the most realistic reality show the world has invented. And yes, you can tool for hours watching it. Lets hope for many more riveting contest during the ashes and may Test cricket prosper.