A Dystopian Future: Day Five At Ahmedabad
Updated: May 17
The year is 2021, the venue is India, specifically Ahmedabad but this is not the match report from the game that was; this is what the world would have looked like if the third Test between India and England had gone to a fifth day…
As we know in our timeline, both sides batting collapsed dramatically with spin being the ultimate weapon in those two days with England’s batting imploding slightly worse than that of India’s. This result was panned by many outside of India barring the input of other spin bowlers who wished they could have had a slice of the action on that wicket.
If some pundits are to be believed this pitch was one of the worst disasters in cricket to have ever happened. In which case thank god we got off of it inside two days.
I mean imagine what day five would have looked like…
28th February 2021
The wind rolls crisply through the late afternoon sun baked pitch whipping up more dust which swirls into the air making it yet more hazy.
The relative stillness is broken by a tall man in his mid-thirties with blood red eyes.
He seeks prey.
With two hundred wickets to his name since Wednesday, he still searches for more.
Looking round the ground he sees a weakling trying to drag himself onto the field. The prey looks worn by the amount of times he has lost his wicket in the last 120 hours (once every two hours) and simply wants the humiliation to end. The unforgiving sun beats down on his pale freckled skin before he is shrouded by the shadow of the tall figure as he reaches the middle. Ravichandran Ashwin stands over him, almost teasing him before his inevitable fate. The batsman feebly asks the umpire for a guard and scratches a small mark, it makes no difference as the wind quickly covers the small mark in yet more dust.
From a distance and hidden behind former advertising hoardings which have now been constructed into a crude fort the rest of the England batsmen watch from within as Jonny Bairstow faces up and is bowled first ball trying to optimistically reverse sweep Ashwin down to third man.
By this stage in proceedings batsmen are too afraid to take to the field. Only Axar Patel and the aforementioned Ashwin are out in the open as they systematically roll through England batsmen over and over again. English batsmen live in a constant state of fear and purgatory.
Ollie Pope perished in the sun late on day three, Jofra Archer slowly went mad from all the dropped catches off his bowling, Dom Sibley ate Ben Foakes in the hope that he would be able to consume some of his knowledge on how to play spin and Jack Leach lives like a feral cat somewhere in the ground only to emerge to take a minimum of eight wickets an innings before scuttling back into the stands.
Joe Root cuts a disconsolate figure in the makeshift fort but continues to try to jee up his batsmen as they trail by 842 after their 31st innings. The players take some heart and manage to drag themselves out in front of the baying crowds like a slave thrown into the colosseum against a lion armed only with a toothbrush.
Finally, Anderson chips one back to Axar for his 29th duck of the game and the horror is over for another hour.
Ben Stokes then turns to his captain to see what gems of advice he has for his wallowing men but as he turns, Root's eye begins to twitch and foam starts the form at the corners of his mouth.
This no longer Joe Root - England’s captain and star batsman - this is the Savage of Sheffield... He has transformed into a bowler who can bat a bit.