Amid the cries of Test cricket’s death, Shamar Joseph brings hope from a remote corner

From the moment internet reached his home town five years ago, the West Indian quick has been on a dream-like journey that continues in Brisbane today

Only the most cloth-eared cricket fan will have failed to hear the ominous cacophony surrounding Test cricket over the past month. First up, the clanging chimes of Jason Holder: “If we continue in this manner, Test cricket will die.” The former West Indies captain lamented last week from the sidelines of the ILT20 in the UAE at the very same time some of his fellow countrymen are duking it out against Australia in the current two-Test series.

Players aren’t the only ones sounding the alarm. The Marylebone Cricket Club has announced its plans for a cricket symposium to discuss the myriad challenges facing the global game. For some, the sound of the guillotine being raised above Test cricket’s head is drowned out only by the hollow clack-clacking of the ICC’s empty knitting needles at the side of the blade.

Shamar Joseph rues a dropped catch in West Indies’ 10-wicket loss to Australia in the first Test at Adelaide Oval.

But there are also hushed notes of hope. The game, somehow, finds a way. After all, it found Shamar Joseph. Just after tea on day one at a sun-soaked Adelaide Oval the 24-year-old fast bowling debutant became only the 23rd player in Test history to take a wicket with his first ball. It was one of those moments that transcends. The sight of the bowler gliding in to land the ball on that handkerchief-sized spot outside off-stump with enough pace to draw the gimlet-eyed Steve Smith into a stroke, and with just enough movement to see the edge taken before Smith could retract his blade in time, was one to savour. The catch safely snaffled by fellow debutant Justin Greaves at third slip, Joseph then really let loose in celebration, limbs thrusting like pistons as he traversed the outfield, his teammates sprinting and scrabbling to catch up with him.

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