Winning overseas: The latest buzz in Test cricket

Sreenath Navaneethan

New Zealand v Pakistan - 3rd Test: Day Five

There has been staunch criticism about teams struggling to win abroad. Leave alone India, most teams carry the tagline "tigers at home, lambs abroad".

However, over the past two months, touring teams have answered the critics wisely with a string of victories in away conditions. Be it New Zealand in UAE, England in Sri Lanka or India winning the first Test against Australia, touring teams have fought fire with fire.

A common feature among the victories has been the amount of practice that has gone into emerging victorious.

People could argue that the current Sri Lankan team is not at it's prime, but England have a history of succumbing to the spinners on sub-continental tracks. New Zealand showed why they are the most underrated team in the world by winning in conditions that are completely alien to them.

Be it Joe Root or Kane Williamson, the captains have led from the front. However, both the victories have come through contributions on all fronts. India gave a strong reply to the Aussies by boasting a bowling attack as powerful and merciless as theirs'.

All teams have laid more emphasis on giving their batters enough match practice before game time. The common factor that has resulted in wins for touring sides has been the number of practice matches each touring team has played. It has been instrumental in getting accustomed to the conditions be it batting or bowling.

When India went to South Africa, they didn't play any practice matches and succumbed to Philander, Morkel, Rabada and Ngidi. One may argue that New Zealand, England and India are well-oiled units and have a lot more depth in all three departments as compared to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. But, every team irrespective of their composition and strengths remain tigers at home.

We have already witnessed plenty of nail-biting contests in India, South Africa, UAE and Australia. Batting in alien conditions is not a cake walk and teams have decided to grind every bit of their time into achieving a fruitful result. Batsmen are willing to spend valuable time at the crease and bowlers are not afraid to pitch the ball up.

The Adelaide Test match took us back to the golden days of Test cricket where both the teams played to the merit of the ball and tested their character in an epic battle. Test cricket is at its' best when touring teams give a good account of themselves and the manner in which Test cricket has shaped up over the past 3-4 months, there is no way Test cricket is dying.

Test cricket is alive and running.