Draw? You must be joking
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"Rather go down going for a win than a draw. As in life, no point going down wondering."
— Herschelle Gibbs, December 22.
A dozen years back, another number one Test side in the world — arguably the strongest of all number one sides in Test history — would've made Gibbs proud. Steve Waugh's Australia weren't going to die wondering.
Quite like Johannesburg, the Brisbane Test against New Zealand in November 2001 was the first of a short Test series. This was an Australian side that hadn't drawn a match in their last 23 Tests (20 wins, 3 losses). And when incessant rain nearly washed away days two and three at the Gabba, it looked like Waugh would have to settle for one.
Only not. To remain the best, Australia were going to make things happen. To win, Waugh was going to take on the rain gods. Australia declared the first innings, the only innings played so far half way through the Test, on 486. Stephen Fleming, the Kiwi skipper, replied in kind by declaring on the follow-on mark — 287 — early on the last day. Australia opened with Adam Gilchrist, batted for a total of 57 minutes and scored 84 runs. NZ now needed 284 from two sessions.
When the Kiwis went into the last over with 10 runs to get with four wickets in hand, the cricket world applauded. For a match marred by the weather to finish with all four results possible until the very end had earned the contest a favourable title — 'the greatest draw'.
Until a match that did not deserve a draw snatched that title away on Sunday. Forget 'greatest draw' (as the Jo'burg Test is popularly called now); Wanderers could have hosted the 'greatest Test of all time'. It sure did have all the ingredients for one.
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