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140 years of Test cricket: All-time team records

From the lowest innings total to the most number of wins, all the numbers you need to know.

England cricket team
The English cricket team before they travelled to Australia for the first Test. (Photo credit: MCC)

15th March 1877 – a significant day in history. It saw the birth of the game’s premier format – Test cricket as Australia hosted England at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground for the first-ever Test.

Having won the toss, the hosts opted to bat and scored a solid 245 runs in 169 overs (an over had 4 balls at that stage). With both teams struggling in the next two innings, the visitors were set a target of 154 for victory. A special spell by Tom Kendell, with him picking up 7 wickets ensured that Australia won the first Test match in history by 45 runs.

Extra cover: Google’s doodle is the perfect tribute for the first ever Test

Australia and England would go on have a number of incredible battles over the years, but so would West Indies, India, Pakistan, South Africa and a host of other nations.

140 years after the first Test, the format still lives large, as the absolute pinnacle of the sport. It survives as the ultimate test of mind, body and soul while exemplifying everything that embodies the sport of cricket. 

In this article, we look at the teams have fared over the years listing down some of the most important records.


Most matches played

England cricket team
England have played the most Tests in history
TeamSpanMatches
England1877-2016983
Australia1877-2017799
West Indies1928-2016520
India1932-2017510
New Zealand1930-2017420
South Africa1889-2017409
Pakistan1952-2017407
Sri Lanka1982-2017258
Zimbabwe1992-2016101
Bangladesh2000-2017100

It comes as no surprise whatsoever that England have played the most number of matches in history. It is the traditional home for the game and they enjoy the longest home season of any teams. Australia are a close second having started playing the format at the same time.

West Indies, who dominated the game from the 70s to the 90s have played the third most Tests, while India, who played her first match in 1932, comes in fourth with 510 matches.

Despite having played their first Test in 1889, South Africa have only played a total of 409 Tests due to their ban from international cricket during the years of apartheid. 

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