Reliving the history of Test cricketLast updated on Nov 02, 2019, 12:06 pm
Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.
While the white-ball cricket has now become the fan-favorite format of the sport, for purists it all boils down to the ultimate format of the game, Test cricket, which paved way for other formats.
With the ICC looking to revolutionize the longest format, we take a trip down the memory lane and relive its history.
The early history of Test cricket
The concept of Test cricket came from First-Class matches, which were played in the 18th century.
In the 19th century, it was James Lillywhite, who led England to tour Australia for a two-match series. The first official Test was played from March 15 in 1877.
While Australia won the game by 45 runs in Melbourne, England won the second, as Test cricket was born.
The first-ever Test
Australia show their power as they win the first Test
As for the first-ever Test, it was the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which witnessed history.
On March 15, 1877, Australian skipper Dave Gregory elected to bat first, as they were bundled for 245, while England succumbed to 196, thanks to Billy Midwinter's 5/78.
In the second innings, Australia were bowled for 104, while England fell short by 45 runs, courtesy Tom Kendall's 7/55.
Some trivia from the first-ever Test
The first-ever Test was played with four balls per over.
While it was a timeless match, it got over within four days.
Alfred Shaw bowled the opening delivery of the match to Charles Bannerman, who was the first centurion.
England's James Southerton was the oldest player (49 years, 119 days) and still remains.
The maximum attendance was around 10,000 on the third day.
Change in format
The first notable change in the format came in 1889 when the over was increased to a five-ball, followed by the regular six-ball over in 1900.
While the first 100 Tests were played as timeless matches, it was since 1950 when four-day and five-day Tests were introduced.
The Test Rankings was introduced in 2003, while 2019 saw the introduction of the World Test Championship.
Type of ball
Types of ball used for Tests
Traditionally, Test cricket has been played using the red ball, as it is easier to spot during the day.
However, there are three types of red balls used.
England and Windies use the Dukes-manufactured balls, which are hand-stitched.
In India, Tests are played with SG-manufactured balls, which are machine-stitched, while the rest of the countries use the Kookaburra balls, which are again machine-stitched.
Introduction of Day-Night Tests, using pink ball
The most revolutionary change in Test cricket has been the introduction of Day-Night Tests.
Since 2015, a total of 11 such Tests have been played, which three more scheduled.
The specialty of these Tests is that they can be played under light and the pink ball is used instead of red, since the former is more visible under the night sky.
World Test Championship
ICC World Test Championship brings in an intense felling
The latest revolutionary introduction has been the ICC World Test Championship.
It was introduced to give Test cricket a similar identity like ODIs and T20Is, which have World Cups of their own.
The tournament would be played over two years, involving top teams.
The tournament would also include Day-Night Tests, while the player jerseys have their names printed on the back, unlike previously.
What is the future of Test cricket?
As of now, it looks like Day-Night Tests are likely to be the future of the format, as it would help in bringing back the viewership, which is dwindling in today's busy life.
Also, the World Test Championship would make players fight for something in the format.
As for the next change, curtailing the game to four days is still in works.