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Test cricket turns 144 years old; England-Australia square off first time today in 1877

Test cricket turned 144 years old on Monday as March 15, 1877 marks the day when the game was played officially for the first time in Melbourne.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: March 15, 2021 13:36 IST
ashes urn
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

File photo of former England captain Andrew Flintoff (left) and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting with the Ashes Urn.

The favourite cricket format for the purists, Test cricket turned 144 years old on Monday as March 15, 1877 marks the day when the game was played officially for the first time. The historic event saw the beginning of the oldest rivalry in Test cricket between host Australia and England. The two Ashes rivals squared off for the first time in an official Test match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The match, played over four days — excluding an off day on Sunday —, ended on March 19 when Dave Gregory-led Australia defeated James Lillywhiter Jr.'s England by 45 runs to record their maiden win at the first attempt.

Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Aussies managed to put 245 runs on the board with opener Charles Bannerman becoming the first-ever batsman to score a century. He scored the team's majority of the runs with a 165, laced with 18 boundaries, and was retired hurt after spending 285 minutes on the pitch.

England's Alfred Shaw became the first-ever bowler to bowl a delivery while scalping three wickets in the first innings. It was Allen Hill (42/1), however, who became the first bowler to pick an international wicket in Aussie opener Nat Thomson (1 run).

In response to the total, the English team could only put a 196 on the board with Billy Midwinter becoming the first bowler to take a fifer in Test while finishing with a bowling figure of 78/5. England opener Harry Jupp, meanwhile, became the first English batsman to score a fifty with an innings of 63.

Out to put on a total to chase, Aussies could only manage 108 runs in the second innings with first innings star Bannerman getting out cheaply at 4. Shaw, who already registered his name in the record books earlier, became the first English bowler to claim a five-for while retaining a figure of 38/5.

England batting woes continued in the second innings as well with the entire side getting bundled out for 108 while chasing 154. Aussie bowler Tom Kendall did the star turn this time and became the first bowler to pick seven wickets in the innings with a figure of 7/55.

The two teams faced off for another Test match, which England won. Before the first official Test, the rivals squared off four times earlier but matches were not granted official status.

On the Test match's 100th anniversary, both the teams faced off again at the same venue, and what could be term as a striking coincidence, Aussies took the Test match by an exact margin of 45 runs.

While the Australia-England match was the first-ever Test match, it wasn't the first international game. The first-ever international match was an ODI played between the USA and Canada. The first-ever ODI took place on September 24, 1844, in New York. Canada won the match by 23 runs.

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