‘The Test’ Season 3 docu-series review: Short, engaging peek into cricketing drama

IPL 2024 is over, but here’s a chance for you to watch how the Australian cricket team went about tackling the WTC final against India and The Ashes against England

Updated - May 27, 2024 01:21 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2024 01:16 pm IST

A still from ‘The Test’

A still from ‘The Test’

Around halfway of the second episode of the latest season of The Test, drama erupts.

English batter Jonny Bairstow ducks a bouncer, the ball goes to the keeper and the batter walks out of the crease. Pretty much a normal thing that happens during a Test match, you’d think. But there’s tense music in the background, almost like you know something is going to happen.

And then it does. Bairstow walks out of the crease thinking the over was done, and wicketkeeper Carey has thrown at the stumps and is claiming a dismissal.

“Sort of within one ball yeah, it happened,” Alex Carey recalls in the docuseries.

The crowd at Lord’s Cricket Ground would go on to chant, “Same old Aussies, always cheating,” even as a disappointed Bairstow exits.

It’s the equivalent of an action-packed interval block in the movies, the kind that leaves you on a high as you make your way through to the bathroom, probably grinning all the way at how good it is.

The Test: Season 3 (English)
Directors: Adrian Brown, Sheldon Wynne
Episodes: 3
Run-time: 56-58 minutes
Storyline: How the Australian team conquered the WTC final and went about the Ashes series

The current season of The Test, a sports docuseries that follows the Australian men’s cricket team, throws up such excellent moments. Following the Bairstow runout, Alex Carey is made villain in the eyes of the English public, something that affects him mentally, which his teammate Steve Smith reveals in the documentary.

The Test almost resembles a movie made on war, because of the format’s nature to be over five days. Every day, every session has some sort of an event that makes it special, and that, at times, seeps into the next day as well, as a new battle ensues. Like the one revolving around the Aussie bowling and the English openers in Old Trafford that highlights what essentially Bazball is. For the uninitiated, Bazball refers to aggressive, ultra-positive way of playing Test cricket. It makes this format far more exciting that you’d think.

A still from ‘The Test’

A still from ‘The Test’ | Photo Credit: Prime Video

Flashbacks are seldom interesting in films, but in such sports documentaries, it provides context and adds to the drama. Like that of Travis Head, who doesn’t touch a bat for weeks due to his wedding and shows up big time at the World Test Championship against India. Or Nathan Lyon, off tour due to a calf injury – the events of him walking out to bat under such circumstances were dramatic – and watching the rest of the series with his wife in his drawing room back in Australia, while his teammates slog it out in England.

Directed by Sheldon Wynne and Adrian Brown, The Test also cleverly brings in the highs and lows of the game; case in point being how the Aussies, after being in the game in the last Ashes Test at the Oval, veered off course. Such sports documentaries can be made or broken by editing, and the fantastic editing team ensures that The Test is a good watch. It also has some neat quotes (Marnus Labuchange says, “Cricket is a game of small margins. You can feel like you’re on top and it can flip in a second”).

While Season 3 might not have the appeal of the first season of The Test, which focused on the image rebuilding exercise of the team after the ball-tampering scandal, it does have quite a few highs. One wishes that a video crew was sent to the Australian ODI World Cup campaign too, so that cricket fans got a peek into the journey of Pat Cummins’ winning team, which silenced Indian crowds in the final.

Nevertheless, this season of The Test makes for an engaging, thrilling watch, with a few lessons that could appeal to even non-cricket lovers.

The Test Season 3 is currently streaming on Prime Video

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