Test cricket is the traditional format of the game of cricket. It is also the longest format which is played over five days. Test cricket is considered to test cricketers’ skills and endurance in every sense of the word. To be recognized as a high quality cricketer, one has to go through the grind and demands of the format and eventually succeed.
The first official Test match was played on March 15, 1887 between arch rivals England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The result went in favor of the Aussies as they won the content by 45 runs. Incidentally, a Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held at the same venue and the result too was identical. Test cricket also gave birth to one of the biggest battles in the game – The Ashes. For records, more than 2000 Tests have been concluded till date. In the early days of cricket, timeless Test matches were played, and then six day Tests too were introduced with a rest day (Sunday) in between.
Present and Future
Today, the format is back to five days and there are 10 teams playing Test cricket under the banner of the International Cricket Council. The format has already witnessed a triangular competition between England, Australia and South Africa hosted by England in 1912 and the Asian Test Championship in 1998-99 and 2001-02. The governing body has often discussed the idea of introducing the ICC Test Championship. If it materializes, then it will be quite a spectacle. Besides, there have been discussions on using pink balls and playing day-night Test cricket, all in an attempt to boost its popularity even further.
Blast from the Past
Over the years, Test cricket has witnessed some close finishes, matches that have gone down to the very last hour of the match. Who can forget the first ever tied Test match between Australia and West Indies in 1960/61 at the Gabba? And what followed was a wonderful reception by the Australian crowd for the tourists.
Another epic Test was played at the Edgbaston in 2005. This match again featured the Aussies. After tough five days of cricket, it all came down to the final moments. In the end, the England team sneaked home by mere two runs.