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Is test cricket genuine?

We are told that "to err is human, to forgive divine". I will never forgive the person who called that particular brand of social media "Twitter".

The associated verb is "to Tweet" which is bad enough but now the instruction to send a tweet this way has been shortened to "Tweet me".

Adults saying this in all seriousness sound like half-wits. So do the trendoids who pronounce the awful word with an American accent. Have you heard "Twitter" now delivered as "Twidder"? I will never forgive them.

I will also never forgive Hansie Cronje, Salim Malik, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and the countless others who got away with cricket match and spot fixing.

They have been punished but they have put a question mark on all things wonderfully unpredictable in the game and thus they have reduced the magic.

Almost anything special and unusual and outrageous is accompanied by that little voice questioning whether it is genuine. This week was a classic example.

The first two days of the Ashes Test were on a par with anything the history of the series has thrown up. The tricky, two paced wicket takes time out of a Test and thus leads to more excitement with a low scoring game. The scene was set.

We had Siddle proving that honest endeavour can be rewarded, Trott showing us the folly of not fast-tracking him into the Proteas and the England tail looking fallible.

Then we had the Aussies decimated by Jimmy Anderson and, let's be honest, the game all over bar the shouting at 117/9.

Then a 19-year-old rookie, who had failed to excite as a spinner, strode to the wicket. The rest is history. Ashton Agar and Phillip Hughes smashed every last pair record in the book and did it with panache, style and a refreshing sense of enjoyment.

Just imagine how Alastair Cook was feeling: For the whole of the record 10th wicket partnership he had to keep his cool, plan his attack, motivate players and also start to mentally prepare to open the English second innings, which could happen 10 minutes after anytime.

This was Test match action that morphed into Test match legend and should be a sporting highlight for anyone who was lucky enough to watch it. I did.

Except that there were a couple of naggingly worrying incidents. In single figures Agar was beaten all ends up by the spin of Swann and stumped. He was out finish and klaar.

However Marais Erasmus, the third umpire, gave him in. It was against the evidence of his own eyes. Then Jonathan Trott was given not-out by Aleem Dar and the Hot Spot thermal was missing in action.

Despite the clear evidence that the ball was hit first, Erasmus gave Trott out.

England have since received apologies from the ICC and the founder of Hot Spot. The next incident was even more bizarre.

As the players ran onto the field for the third day umpire Dar threw the ball to the Aussie players. At least that is how it appeared. In fact, he threw the ball hard and it missed them all by miles. In fact, it almost hit Cook and Pietersen as they emerged from the pavilion.

Everyone laughed and Dar looked suitably embarrassed. However it reminded me, vividly, of the very first over of the World Cup in the West Indies when that serial cheat, Danish Kanaria, committed a ludicrous overthrow of his own keeper that resulted in four runs to the West Indies.

Again, everyone laughed. He has since been banned for life for spot fixing. It was a bet. No doubt.

I do not know if some bookie gave odds on an umpire over throwing. I do not know if Agar and Trott had odds of a certain spread heavily backed. I am not for a second suggesting that there was anything untoward in the Test and that the umpires were in it up to their uxters. I am not saying any of that.

All I do know is that there is a little man, maybe the Devil, sitting on my shoulder casting doubts, and that spoils it for me. I love the game of Test cricket with a passion undying and I will never forgive or forget.

This column appeared in The Saturday Star.

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