Origins of the First Test Cricket Match Ever Played

This article delves into the history of the First Test Cricket Match and provides information on the inaugural match. The match between Australia and England took place nearly 145 years ago, in March 1877, and set a slew of records, some of which have yet to be broken.

Origin of the Expression ‘Test Match

The March 1877 Test match was not the first international match. More than three decades earlier, in September 1844, the United States and Canada played a cricket match, but the match was not designated as a “test.” A tour of Australian aborigines to England in 1868 was not considered a test tour because the tourists did not make up a “full” Australian eleven. Prior to the 1877 Test match, several English sides were known to tour Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, though no match on such tours was granted Test status.

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The Events in cricket That Led to the First Test Match

In 1976, two cricket teams from England planned to tour Australia: an amateur team led by Fred Grace and a professional team led by Bill Lillywhite. The amateur tour was forced to be canceled, and Lillywhite proceeded with his professional squad, which lacked any of the great amateur talents of the time, including WG Grace. Because the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the main stadium, was to host Fred Grace’s team, the first official Test match was originally scheduled to be held at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground. However, after the amateur tour was canceled, the organizers decided to move the match to the MCG, which could accommodate more spectators and thus be more profitable.

The first test begins at the MCG.

Melbourne hosted the first Test match in cricket history between Australia and England between March 15 and 19, 1877. Australia, led by Dave Gregory, won the toss and chose to bat. England fast bowler Alfred Shaw delivered the first-ever delivery in Test cricket to opener Charles Bannerman. England didn’t have to wait long for their first wicket, Nat Thomson, who was bowled by Hill for one run, with the scoreboard reading 2 for 1.

Australia receives a score of 245;

Regular wickets did not help Australia’s cause, and they were quickly reduced to 42 for 3. The hosts, on the other hand, staged a strong comeback with a 77-run fourth-wicket stand. A flurry of wickets saw Australia score 6 for 143 in a see-saw battle. Under the circumstances, the home team performed admirably, finishing with 245 points.

 Charles Bannerman batted steadily throughout the innings, but he was forced to retire hurt after scoring the first-ever Test tonne—165 in 285 minutes at the crease with 18 fours. Only four other batsmen reached double figures, with Tom Garrett (unbeaten on 18) posting the next-best score. With figures of 3/51, Alfred Shaw was England’s most successful bowler. Allen Hill and James Lillywhite shared a wicket each, while James Southerton took 3-61.

England was defeated by 196 points.

Harry Jupp and John Selby, the English openers, put on 23 runs before Selby was caught by Cooper off Hodges for 7. Jupp and Charlwood went on to form a 56-year partnership. However, after Charlwood left for a well-made 36, England lost regular wickets, including Jupp, who made 63. The visitors were reduced to 145 for 8 before a late comeback led by Allen Hill (35 not out) propelled them to a score of 196, giving Australia a useful first-innings lead of 49. Billy Midwinter took the first wicket in a test for Australia, taking 5/78.

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Australia wins by 45 runs.

Australia was bowled out for 104 in their second over. England collapsed to be all out for 108 after needing 154 to win by 45 runs.

First Test Match Trivia

  • The first Test was supposed to be a ‘timeless’ match, but it lasted only five days.
  • The ‘Australian’ team was made up of players from Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Tom Armitage dropped Australia opener Charles Bannerman at mid-off before he had scored ten runs.
  • After dropping Bannerman, Armitage bet with Lillywhite that he would score a fifty – he was dismissed for 9 runs and lost the bet.
  • In the first Test match, each over was only four deliveries long.
  • Harry Jupp, England’s first-innings top-scorer, trod on his wicket before he had opened his account and was given not out by a perplexed umpire.
  • Bannerman was injured in the first inning after a George Ulyett ball split his middle finger.
  • English-born Tom Kendall took 7/55 to wreck England in the second innings.
  • The Victoria Cricket Association presented each Australian player with a gold watch following the match.

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