Test cricket

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A Test match between South Africa and England in January 2005. The two men wearing black trousers are the umpires. Test cricket is played in traditional white clothes and usually with a red ball - a pink ball in full day/night Tests. England vs South Africa.jpg
A Test match between South Africa and England in January 2005. The two men wearing black trousers are the umpires. Test cricket is played in traditional white clothes and usually with a red ball – a pink ball in full day/night Tests.

Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest match duration, and is considered the game's highest standard. [1] [2] Test matches are played between national representative teams that have been granted "Test status", as determined and conferred by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The term Test stems from the fact that the long, gruelling matches are mentally and physically testing. [3] Two teams of 11 players each play a four-innings match, which may last up to five days (or longer in some historical cases). It is generally considered the most complete examination of a team's endurance and ability. [4] [5] [6]

Cricket Team sport played with bats and balls

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.

International Cricket Council governing body for the sport of cricket

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the global governing body of cricket. It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England and South Africa. It was renamed as the International Cricket Conference in 1965, and took up its current name in 1989.

An innings is one of the divisions of a cricket match during which one team takes its turn to bat. Innings also means the period in which an individual player bats. Innings, in cricket, and rounders, is both singular and plural; this contrasts with baseball and softball in which the singular is "inning".

Contents

The first officially recognised Test match took place between 15 and 19 March 1877 and was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where Australia won by 45 runs. [7] A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne between 12 and 17 March 1977, in which Australia beat England by 45 runs—the same margin as that first Test. [8] In October 2012, the ICC recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches. [9] The first day/night game took place between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, on 27 November – 1 December 2015. [10]

Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known simply as "The G", is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Victoria. Home to the Melbourne Cricket Club, it is the 10th largest stadium in the world, the largest in Australia, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, the largest cricket ground by capacity, and has the tallest light towers of any sporting venue. The MCG is within walking distance of the city centre and is served by Richmond and Jolimont stations, as well as the route 70 tram and the route 246 bus. It is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct.

Day/night cricket

Day/night cricket, also known as Floodlit cricket is a cricket match that is played either totally, or more usually partially, under floodlights in the evening. The first regular cricket to be played under floodlights occurred during World Series Cricket, unsanctioned by the International Cricket Council, attracting large crowds to see some of the world's best players compete in Australia and the West Indies. In 1979, when the ICC and World Series Cricket came to an understanding, the first floodlit One Day International was played, also in Australia. Floodlit cricket has since been played around the world, although England was slow to take it up due to their climate.

The New Zealand cricket team toured Australia from 23 October to 1 December 2015 to play three Test matches and four tour matches. The third match of the series at the Adelaide Oval was the first ever day-night Test. Michael Hussey captained the Prime Minister's XI side for the tour match, and in preparation for the day-night Test, a pink ball was used in this game.

Women's Test cricket is played over four days, with slight differences in format from men's Tests.

Womens Test cricket

Women's Test cricket is the longest format of women's cricket and is the female equivalent to men's Test cricket. Matches comprise four-innings and are held over a maximum of four days between two of the leading cricketing nations. The rules governing the format differ little from those for the men's game, with differences generally being technicalities surrounding umpiring and field size. Far fewer women's Test matches are played each year than women's One Day Internationals, with the international calendar revolving around the shorter format of the game. The first women's Test match was played by England women and Australia women in December 1934, a three-day contest held in Brisbane which England won by nine wickets.

Early history

Sides designated as "England" began to play in the late 18th century, but these teams were not truly representative. Early international cricket was disrupted by the French Revolution and the American Civil War. The earliest international cricket match was between USA and Canada, on 24 and 25 September 1844. [11] This has never been officially considered a "Test match". Tours of national English sides abroad took place, particularly to the US, Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Aborigines team became the first organised overseas cricketers to tour England in 1868.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Australian Aboriginal cricket team in England in 1868

In 1868, a cricket team composed of Aboriginal Australians toured England between May and October of that year, thus becoming the first organised group of Australian sportspeople to travel overseas. It would be another ten years before an Australian cricket team classed as representative would leave the country.

Two rival English tours of Australia were proposed in the early months of 1877, with James Lillywhite campaigning for a professional tour and Fred Grace for an amateur one. Grace's tour fell through and it was Lillywhite's team that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1876–77. Two matches against a combined Australian XI were later classified as the first official Test matches. The first match was won by Australia, by 45 runs, and the second by England. After reciprocal tours established a pattern of international cricket, The Ashes was established as an ongoing competition during the Australian tour of England in 1882. Surprisingly beaten, a mock obituary of English cricket was published in the Sporting Times the following day: the phrase "The body shall be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia" prompted the subsequent creation of the Ashes urn. The series of 1884–85 was the first to be held over five matches: Shaw, writing in 1901, considered the side to be "the best ever to have left England".

James Lillywhite Cricket player of England.

James Lillywhite was an English Test cricketer and an umpire. He was the first ever captain of the English cricket team in a Test match, captaining two Tests against Australia in 1876–77, losing the first, but winning the second.

Fred Grace Cricket player of England.

George Frederick Grace was an English first-class cricketer active from 1866 to 1880 who played for Gloucestershire and the United South of England Eleven (USEE). He played in one retrospectively recognised Test match for England. He was born in Downend, near Bristol and died in Basingstoke, Hampshire. A right-handed batsman who bowled right arm fast roundarm, he appeared in 195 matches that are generally rated first-class for statistical purposes. In these matches, Grace scored 6,906 runs with a highest score of 189*. An outstanding fielder and occasional wicket-keeper, he held 170 catches and completed three stumpings. He took 329 wickets with a best performance of eight for 43.

The Ashes Test cricket series played between England and Australia

The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. The Ashes are regarded as being held by the team that most recently won the Test series. If the test series is drawn, the team that currently holds the Ashes retains the trophy. The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia's 1882 victory at The Oval, its first Test win on English soil. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882–83 series played in Australia, before which the English captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to "regain those ashes". The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.

South Africa became the third team to play Test cricket in 1888–89, when they hosted a tour by an under-strength England side.

Test status

Test matches are the highest level of cricket, although, statistically, their data form part of first-class cricket. Matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council. As of June 2017, twelve national teams have Test status, the most recently promoted being Afghanistan and Ireland on 22 June 2017. [12] Zimbabwe's Test status was voluntarily suspended, because of poor performances between 2006 and 2011; it returned to competition in August 2011. [13]

First-class cricket is an official classification of the highest-standard international or domestic matches in the sport of cricket. A first-class match is of three or more days' scheduled duration between two sides of eleven players each and is officially adjudged to be worthy of the status by virtue of the standard of the competing teams. Matches must allow for the teams to play two innings each although, in practice, a team might play only one innings or none at all.

In January 2014, during an ICC meeting in Dubai, the pathway for new potential Test nations was laid out with the winners of the next round of the ICC Intercontinental Cup playing a 5-day match against the bottom ranked Test nation. If the Associate team defeats the Test nation, then they could be added as the new Test country and granted full membership. [14]

A list of matches, defined as "Tests", was first drawn up by Australian Clarence Moody in the mid-1890s. Representative matches played by simultaneous England touring sides of 1891–92 (in Australia and South Africa) and 1929–30 (in the West Indies and New Zealand) are deemed to have "Test status".

In 1970, a series of five "Test matches" was played in England between England and a Rest of the World XI. These matches, originally scheduled between England and South Africa, were amended after South Africa was suspended from international cricket because of their government's policy of apartheid. Although initially given Test status (and included as Test matches in some record books, including Wisden Cricketers' Almanack ), this was later withdrawn and a principle was established that official Test matches can only be between nations (although the geographically and demographically small countries of the West Indies have since 1928 been permitted to field a coalition side). Despite this, in 2005, the ICC ruled that the six-day Super Series match that took place in October 2005, between Australia and a World XI, was an official Test match. Some cricket writers and statisticians, including Bill Frindall, ignored the ICC's ruling and excluded the 2005 match from their records. The series of "Test matches" played in Australia between Australia and a World XI in 1971–72 do not have Test status. The commercial "Supertests" organised by Kerry Packer as part of his World Series Cricket enterprise and played between "WSC Australia", "WSC World XI" and "WSC West Indies" from 1977 to 1979 have never been regarded as official Test matches.

Teams with Test status

There are currently twelve Test-playing men's teams. The teams all represent individual, independent nations, except for England, the West Indies and Ireland. Test status is conferred upon a country or group of countries by the ICC. Teams that do not have Test status can play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, specifically designed to allow non-Test teams to play under conditions similar to Tests. The teams are listed below with the date of each team's Test debut:

  1. Flag of England.svg  England (15 March 1877)
  2. Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia (15 March 1877)
  3. Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa (12 March 1889)
  4. WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies (23 June 1928)
  5. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand (10 January 1930)
  6. Flag of India.svg  India (25 June 1932)
  7. Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan (16 October 1952)
  8. Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka (17 February 1982)
  9. Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe (18 October 1992)
  10. Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh (10 November 2000)
  11. Cricket Ireland flag.svg  Ireland (11 May 2018)
  12. Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan (14 June 2018)

In the mid 2010s, the ICC evaluated proposals for dividing Test cricket into two tiers, with promotion and relegation between Tier-1 and Tier-2. These proposals were supported by some national cricket governing bodies, [15] [16] but opposed by others. [17] [18] These proposals were ultimately not implemented. [19] [20] [21]

Conduct of the game

Playing time

A standard day of Test cricket consists of three sessions of two hours each, the breaks between sessions being 40 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for tea. However, the times of sessions and intervals may be altered in certain circumstances: if bad weather or a change of innings occurs close to a scheduled break, the break may be taken immediately; if there has been a loss of playing time, for example because of bad weather, the session times may be adjusted to make up the lost time; if the batting side is nine wickets down at the scheduled tea break, then the interval may be delayed until either 30 minutes has elapsed or the team is all out; [22] the final session may be extended by up to 30 minutes if 90 or more overs have not been bowled in that day's play (subject to any reduction for adverse weather); [23] the final session may be extended by 30 minutes (except on the 5th day) if the umpires believe the result can be decided within that time. [24]

Today, Test matches are scheduled to be played across five consecutive days. However, in the early days of Test cricket, matches were played for three or four days. Four-day Test matches were last played in 1973, between New Zealand and Pakistan. [25] Until the 1980s, it was usual to include a 'rest day,' often a Sunday. There have also been 'Timeless Tests', which did not end after a predetermined maximum time. In 2005, Australia played a match scheduled for six days against a World XI, which the ICC sanctioned as an official Test match, though the match reached a conclusion on the fourth day. In October 2017, the ICC approved a request for a four-day Test match, between South Africa and Zimbabwe, which started on 26 December 2017 and ended on the second day, 27 December. [26] The ICC will trial the four-day Test format until the 2019 Cricket World Cup. [27]

There have been attempts by the ICC, the sport's governing body, to introduce day-night Test matches. [28] In 2012, The International Cricket Council passed playing conditions that allowed for the staging of day-night Test matches. [9] The first day-night Test took place during New Zealand's tour to Australia in November 2015. [10]

Play

Test cricket is played in innings (the word denotes both the singular and the plural). In each innings, one team bats and the other bowls (or fields). Ordinarily four innings are played in a Test match, and each team bats twice and bowls twice. Before the start of play on the first day, the two team captains and the match referee toss a coin; the captain who wins the toss decides whether his team will bat or bowl first.

In the following scenarios, the team that bats first is referred to as Team A and their opponents as Team B.

Usually the teams will alternate at the completion of each innings. Thus, Team A will bat (and Team B will bowl) until its innings ends, and then Team B will bat and Team A will bowl. When Team B's innings ends, Team A begin their second innings, and this is followed by Team B's second innings. The winning team is the one that scores more runs in their two innings.

A team's innings ends in one of the following ways: [29]

If, at the completion of its first innings, Team B's first innings total is 200 or more fewer than Team A's, the captain of Team A may (but is not required to) order Team B to have their second innings next. This is called enforcing the follow on. [30] In this case, the usual order of the third and fourth innings is reversed: Team A will bat in the fourth innings. It is rare for a team forced to follow on to win the match. In Test cricket it has only happened three times, although over 285 follow-ons have been enforced: Australia was the losing team on each occasion, twice to England, in 1894 and in 1981, and once to India in 2001. [31]

If the whole of the first day's play of a Test match has been lost because of bad weather or other reasons like bad light, then Team A may enforce the follow on if Team B's first innings total is 150 or more fewer than Team A's. During the 2nd Test between England and New Zealand at Headingley in 2013, England batted first after the first day was lost because of rain. [32] New Zealand, batting second, scored 180 runs fewer than England, meaning England could have enforced the follow on, though chose not to. This is similar to four-day first-class cricket, where the follow on can be enforced if the difference is 150 runs or fewer. If the Test is 2 days or fewer then the "follow-on" value is 100 runs.

After 80 overs, the captain of the bowling side may take a new ball, although this is not required. [33] The captain will usually take the new ball: being harder and smoother than an old ball, a new ball generally favours faster bowlers who can make it bounce more variably. The roughened, softer surface of an old ball can be more conducive to spin bowlers, or those using reverse swing. The captain may delay the decision to take the new ball if he wishes to continue with his spinners (because the pitch favours spin). After a new ball has been taken, should an innings last a further 80 overs, then the captain will have the option to take another new ball.

A Test match may end in one of six results:

Competitions

Tours

Test cricket is almost always played as a series of matches between two countries, with all matches in the series taking place in the same country (the host). Often there is a perpetual trophy that is awarded to the winner, the most famous of which is the Ashes contested between England and Australia. There have been two exceptions to the bilateral nature of Test cricket: the 1912 Triangular Tournament, a three-way competition between England, Australia and South Africa (hosted by England), and the Asian Test Championship, an event held in 1998–99 and 2001–02.

The number of matches in Test series has varied from one to seven. [40] Up until the early 1990s, [41] Test series between international teams were organised between the two national cricket organisations with umpires provided by the home team. With the entry of more countries into Test cricket, and a wish by the ICC to maintain public interest in Tests in the face of the popularity of one-day cricket, a rotation system was introduced that sees all ten Test teams playing each other over a six-year cycle, and an official ranking system (with a trophy held by the highest-ranked team). In this system, umpires are provided by the ICC. An elite panel of eleven umpires has been established, and the panel is supplemented by an additional International Panel that includes three umpires named by each Test-playing country. The elite umpires officiate almost all Test matches, usually not Tests involving their home country.

Perpetual trophies

Several pairs of Test teams have established perpetual trophies which are competed for whenever teams play each other in Test series.

Name of trophyTeam 1Team 2First contestedLatest contested
The Ashes Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1882–83 2017-18
Anthony De Mello Trophy [A] Flag of India.svg  India Flag of England.svg  England 1951 [42] 2016
Frank Worrell Trophy WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1960–61 2015
Wisden Trophy WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies Flag of England.svg  England 1963 2018-19
Trans-Tasman Trophy Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1985–86 2015-16
Border–Gavaskar Trophy Flag of India.svg  India Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1996–97 2018-19
Southern Cross Trophy Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe 1999–2000 [43] 2003
Sir Vivian Richards Trophy WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 2000–01 [44] 2016
Clive Lloyd Trophy WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe 2001 [45] 2017
Basil D'Oliveira Trophy Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Flag of England.svg  England 2004–05 2017
Pataudi Trophy [A] Flag of India.svg  India Flag of England.svg  England 2007 2018
Warne–Muralitharan Trophy Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2007–08 2016
Freedom Trophy Flag of India.svg  India Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 2015–16 2017-18
Sobers–Tissera Trophy WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka 2015–16 2018
Ganguly–Durjoy Trophy Flag of India.svg  India Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 2017 [46] 2017, same
A The Anthony De Mello Trophy is awarded for India–England test series played in India, whilst the Pataudi Trophy is for series played in England.

International Test rankings

The twelve Test-playing nations are currently ranked as follows:

ICC Test Championship
RankTeamMatchesPointsRating
1Flag of India.svg  India 323,631113
2Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 232,547111
3Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 272,917108
4Flag of England.svg  England 353,663105
5Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 272,64098
6Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka 373,46294
7Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 272,26384
8WestIndiesCricketFlagPre1999.svg  West Indies 292,38182
9Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 251,89865
10Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe 914016
Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan*25025
Cricket Ireland flag.svg  Ireland*2
*Countries that have not played enough matches to gain an official ranking
Reference: Cricinfo rankings page, ICC Rankings, 3 May 2019
"Matches" is no. matches + no. series played in the 12–24 months since the May before last, plus half the number in the 24 months before that.

World Test Championship

There has been no World Cup for Test cricket conducted thus far. However, a league competition for Test cricket will begin in 2019–21. The schedule for this Championship is a set of typical bilateral series in various countries, where one team is the host and other team is the visitor. The length of each series will vary between 2 matches and 5 matches.

See also

Notes and references

Notes

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