The Test series review: The SportsRush present before you the full review of the recently released web-series titled ‘The Test’.
“Every thing you hear about JL [Justin Langer], that’s true,” Australia limited-overs captain Aaron Finch (the then opening batsman) says about coach Justin Langer in the second episode of Prime Video’s recent web-series titled ‘The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team’.
A live cricket match might hint at the sport not being a coach’s game and it is this myth which The Test continually breaks during the eight-episode series.
Based on the Australian cricket team’s decline post the Cape Town Test of 2018 when the then captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft received suspensions for their involvement in the infamous ball tampering scandal, The Test portrays Langer as a fulcrum figure who should be credited the most for Australian cricket team’s greatest resurgence story.
The void created by Smith and Warner’s absence had affected the whole team in more ways than one. The episode had seen Australia losing respect in front of their own people, leave aside the global cricketing fraternity.
From a change in the batting order to a change in leadership across formats, Australia dealt with the aftermaths of the scandal with one person guiding them through and through, i.e., Justin Langer.
With Langer given the maximum screen space, you can’t help but observe his gestures. The Australian coach covers his face with both his hands in disappointing situations. With him frequently doing the same in the first two episodes, you sense how things were passing for Australia during the England and UAE tours which followed the Cape Town Test.
The pinnacle of the series lies in unseen footage from Australia’s dressing room, practice sessions, coaches meetings and team meetings. In the form of behind-the-scenes ploys and in-depth analysis before a match, The Test presents nothing less than a privilege to its viewers.
Another high point of the series is Finch finding back ways to score runs. Having scored a half-century on Test debut against Pakistan in Dubai, the senior batsman went on to register a series of low scores before eventually getting dropped from the Test side.
On the brink of getting dropped as a limited-overs Australian captain ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Finch stands tall on Langer’s suggestion of “Just be Finchy” and finds form in white-ball cricket at the right time.
Jofra Archer v Steve Smith
A legendary Ashes battle 🔥
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) March 12, 2020
From the last Test of the South Africa tour to the Ashes last year, Australia batsman Usman Khawaja was their second-highest run-scorer across formats with 1,806 runs at an average of 43 including four centuries and 11 half-centuries.
A brief sequence during India’s tour of Australia 2018-19 where Khawaja pours his heart out in front of the team regarding how he and other players feel about Langer was a thing of beauty. An exemplary dialogue between two matured professionals in front of all the players encompassed plentiful organisational behaviour lessons.
Talking about India’s tour, it frequently reminds one of The Test being tedious and stretched. Led by Adam Wright, the editing team in Andy Hall, Jane Usher, director Adrian Brown, Jamie Meredino and Dani Raulli could have done much better in reducing the length of the third and the fourth episode.
It seems as if Australia’s below par performance during the India tour reflected on The Test as well for it was the weakest point in the series.
Having started and finished with The Ashes, the makers hit the right notes at the beginning and the end. The last two episodes, which see the Australian cricket team gain its self-respect back on the back of retaining the Ashes for the first time in 18 years in England, were superlative in nature and should make you weep multiple times.
The same also throws light on how important Ashes are for Australia and England. The intriguing five-match Test series surpassing the sixth episode comprising of the World Cup (where Australia finished as the semi-finalists) also speaks highly about how Test cricket’s anecdotes have it in them to overdo other formats.
One expects cricket fans around the world to have watched the Ashes last year. For those who haven’t, watching Steve Smith do his thing amidst immense drama and details in The Ashes is nothing short of a blockbuster deal.
All in all, The Test unequivocally has it in it to keep you intrigued especially in these days of social distancing. If you can stand the series testing your patience briefly, you will surely be rewarded by what it has in store for you.