The World of Cricket celebrates 2000th Test today

They have donned the 'colours' for now but make no mistake, they are up for Test cricket

They have donned the ‘colours’ for now but make no mistake, they are up for Test cricket

Test cricket has been under the scanner for the past few years. Talk about the little tweaks and modifications applied to the game off and on including the decision review system or the ongoing rumours and discussions about how it has aged enough to die out sometime soon, it has all been on for quite some time. In essence, Test cricket has seen a fair share of success and has also been under scrutiny, lately. Moreover, the growing trend of One-day internationals and more specifically, the T20 cricket seemed to worsen the case for test cricket even more. Truth is, test cricket overcame all the odds and has managed to not only survive but in fact, it still delivers a complete cricketing package that a genuine cricket fanatic yearns for (pardon if I sound too old fashioned for your liking). This is exactly why the 2000th cricket test match between England and India is in progress as we speak, which itself is the 100th match between the two sides. (fetch that!)

Times when cricket was only Test cricket

We would like to seize the opportunity to take you back in time when it all started-1877 in the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia where  England and Australia faced one another in  what was later recognised as the first Test at the MCG. The Aussies emerged triumphant in a well fought contest and sealed victory with 45 runs. Test cricket took off from this very contest and never seemed to look back as it ascended all the way. The likes of Bradman, Border, Sobers, Trueman, Hanif, Fazal, Gavaskar, Haddlee and many more that followed just kept elevating the level of cricket that was played on the face of this earth. With that said, it would not be wrong to believe that the impetus that these gentlemen provided to this great “gentlemen’s” game really kept it afloat and it is this stimulus that still keeps it alive and kicking.(howzzat!)

Players heading back to the middle after a flying visit to the dressing room in the lunch interval

The following timeline sheds light on a few important developments that happened in this great game of test cricket as time wore on:
1877: Australia and England play what is later recognised as the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Charles Bannerman scores the first Test hundred in a match Australia win by 45 runs.

1920/21: Australia, led by Warwick Armstrong, thrash England 5-0 in to win the Ashes- the first whitewash in a five-match test series.

1928: Don Bradman makes his Test debut but is powerless to prevent a colossal 675-run defeat by England in Brisbane and is dropped.

1930: Bradman rewrites the record books by scoring 974 runs – still a record – in a five-Test series as Australia win 2-1 in England.

1932/33: The most controversial series of all time sees England captain Douglas Jardine instruct fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce to bowl short to the Australians on and outside leg stump, with a packed legside field.

‘Bodyline’ helps England win the Ashes but leads to a diplomatic row.

1938: England’s Len Hutton scores a record-breaking 364 out of a total of 903 as Australia are hammered by an innings and 579 runs, still a record margin.

1948: Bradman leads Australia on a 4-0 unbeaten Ashes tour of England.

Bradman, needing four in his last Test innings for an average of 100, is bowled for nought and has to settle for 99.94.

1955: New Zealand bowled out for 26, the lowest Test total, by England in Auckland.

1956: England off-spinner Jim Laker becomes the first bowler to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings, against Australia at Old Trafford.

1958: West Indies all-rounder Garry Sobers breaks Hutton’s record with 365 against Pakistan in Jamaica.

1960: Australia and West Indies produce the first tie in Test history, in Brisbane.

1964: England fast bowler Fred Trueman become the first bowler to take 300 Test wickets, against Australia at The Oval.

1970: South Africa begin their apartheid-enforced Test exile.

1977: Australia beat England by 45 runs in the Centenary Test in Melbourne — exactly the same result as the very first Test.

1977: World Series Cricket sees the game’s top players signed up by Australian businessman Kerry Packer.

Test cricket threatened but WSC ends after two years when Packer gets the television contract to show Australia home matches.

1984: 1000th Test match played in Niaz stadium, Hyderabad (Pakistan) between Pakistan and New Zealand where Javed Miandad shines with a stand-out performance featuring centuries in both innings, that easily contributed to Pakistan’s win.

1986: India and Australia play out the second tied Test, in Madras, when Maninder Singh is lbw in the last over to off-spinner Greg Matthews.

1990: New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee becomes the first bowler to take 400 Test wickets.

1992: South Africa return to Test cricket, losing to the West Indies.

1994: Brian Lara breaks Sobers’s record with 375 against England in Antigua.

1995: After 15 years and 29 series, West Indies’ unbeaten series run ends with a 2-1 loss at home to Australia.

1997: Sri Lanka pile up 952 for six against India in Colombo — the highest Test total of all-time.

2004: Lara makes the first quadruple century in Tests, against England in Antigua, to regain the world record he’d lost to Australia’s Matthew Hayden.

2006: Pakistan become the first side in history to forfeit a Test when, after being penalised five runs for alleged ball-tampering by Australian umpire Darrell Hair, they refuse to take the field against England after tea on the fourth day at The Oval.

2010: Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan becomes the first bowler to take 800 Test wickets when he takes a wicket off his final ball in Tests, against India.

2010: A tabloid sting operation indicates Pakistan captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif are all prepared to deliberately bowl no-balls in a Test against England at Lord’s as part of a spot-fixing scam. The trio are all eventually banned by the ICC.

2010: India’s Sachin Tendulkar scores a record 50th Test century, against South Africa in Centurion.

2011: Test match cricket reaches another milestone on completion of a total of 2000 tests as England and India face off in a 4-test match series.(*applause*)

Sir Viv Richards had the potential to transform a Test match into a baseball game any day

Judging by all those stats, it is quite a bit of a surprise how the world has started to lose interest in the purest form of cricket , that is test matches, and switched to the shorter formats of the game.  Nevermind, the dancing and singing and music, this is quiet yet exhilarating-that really is the beauty of it all. At least for a cricket enthusiast like me, test cricket still lives and it will rule till the game of cricket manages to exist in this world. Long live Test Cricket, Enough said.
Stumped? Let us know your take on how test cricket has shaped up and what your views are on the longer format of cricket against the shorter “wham bam and thank you ma’am” modes.

Contests like the Ashes will contribute a great deal in promoting Test Cricket

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